T Nation

How To Get By On Less Sleep?


Hi guys/gals,

For a long time I have been the kind of person who seems to require about 8 hours of sleep to function correctly. It kind of pisses me off though because I read/hear about people here (and elsewhere) who can get by on just 4-5 hours per night.

I would realy like to do this. I have a feeling I could get so much more done with less sleep. I mean if I were to cut my sleeping down to 4hrs per night, that's 4 more hours a day that can be used productively.

I am 20 years old. I have tried sleeping less previously, but after a few days it always seems to catch up on me and I end up crashing and sleeping for 10 hrs. Is there anything I can do about this. Please don't tell me it is just genetic. I also live in the northern hemisphere, where days are generally shorter and winters are very dark. Could this have something to do with it?

I appreciate any help you folks can give me. Happy new year.


People that get by on less sleep have health problems. Get your sleep.


what are you doing thats so important you cant sleep? watching tv till 4am instead of midnight? Especially if you are serious into lifting, most people advise for propery recovery you need 8-10 hours of sleep.

Just sleep man, especially if your body is saying you need it.


Well I hate to tell you, it is genetic. Some people require more or less sleep. Get your 8 hrs.



And I bet some of those who claim to need only 4-5 hours are exaggerating and/or constantly sleep deprived. Those who need little sleep are genetic outliers.

Seriously, sleeping too little screws up your hormones, undermines your progress in the gym, slows down your thinking and reflexes, and affects you negatively at work/school.


Youre still young. Get the sleep your body wants. If you feel sluggish in the morning you may be oversleeping.

I needed about 10 hours of sleep when I was 16-17 years old. Now Im fine on 7-7.5. I usually get 6-6.5 and catch up a bit on the weekends.

You may find that you can function on less sleep as you get older. But dont force yourself to sleep less. Manage your time better during the day. Start by spending less time on forums, for one thing.

Lifting weights has a huge affect on how much sleep you need, IMO.




Crystal meth. Problem solved.


OP - there are plenty of folks out there who do just fine on less sleep than "average"

But if you have to ask about it, you're NOT one of them.

(and for what its worth, neither am I)


Do you dispute this? There is a shitload of info backing this.


Yes, I do. I have slept for three to four hours most of my life. I have never been sick, always been a top level athlete for my age, never broken a bone, blood levels always in optimal range. I also know a few people that have slept three hours a night for fifty or so years and died at 80 years old.

Being unhealthy leads to health problems, being able to function on a few hours of sleep doesn't cause health problems, but sleep depriving yourself may. However, I can point to personal friends and more well known people that do force themselves basically to be insomniacs and are healthy.



Sleep? Never heard of it.


Eat correctly and exercise regularly (which you should be doing right now, if you're on this site), and then sleep however long you need to. If you don't exercise and eat like crap, you'll sleep longer and still wake up feeling like crap. Optimizing your lifestyle is really the only thing you can do to sleep more efficiently. Drugs/deprivation will destroy you after so long.

Make sure your sleeping environment is ideal, also. Dark, quiet, naturally wake up (not by an alarm clock buzz), a comfortable temperature for AFTER you're asleep (so, a bit cool to your preferences when you're awake), etc.


I get almost not sleep. And it sucks. Between work and my young kids, I'm always dragging ass. I can't wait until they grow up enough I can sleep without watching them constantly.


You really want to go on hardly any sleep, take my recipe for non-sleep. Get married, have kids, and then start your own company. I assure you will never, ever, ever, sleep more then 5 hours.


nobody is really answering your question but if you are not genetically leaning towards this then your option is to learn to fall asleep well before 11 PM. several sleep studies have shown that when you fall asleep earlier then 11pm the sleep will be of higher quality and you need less.

TC even wrote about that. For a few years this was my situation due to being a single dad with my own company and I taught myself to fall asleep at 9pm (same time as my kids) and woke up, without an alarm, anywhere between 2:30 and 3 am, very well rested and ready to start my work day. this way I could get a good 3-4 hours of work done before the kids woke up. I would continue with my work day after I dropped them off at school (worked again from 9-3). I ended up with a 9-10 hour work day and made sure my kids never were the first kids at school and the last ones to be picked up. But:

Going to bed at the same time your grand pa does might not be the answer a young man is looking for though :slight_smile:


nap during the day, only way to sleep less than 8 hours and be cool


I usually get about 6 hours on work days. I don't do it on purpose, but it usually doesn't bother me too much. On my days off though, I always sleep more, around 10 hours or so. Although currently, my circadian rhythm is fucked, due to 5 days off in a row, and involuntary 2-3 hour naps beginning at 7pm.


I get off work at 1-2 AM, and my 11 week German Shepherd puppy wakes up about 6:30AM, which is about the time my wife leaves for work. If I don't take him for a walk/play with him/feed him he flips out. So, I only get about 4 hours straight sleep at night and then during the day when ever the puppy crashes I sneak in a nap. I'm just glad I don't have kids because they don't let you walk them a couple blocks, throw a tennis ball around, and then take a nap. Also, puppies are incredibly cheaper and cuter than real kids.

With the added naps I usually get 7 hours of sleep a day, but the less sleep I get the crappier my workouts become, more injuries, increased recovery time, worse mood, and my budget for Spike Shooters has to go way up.


I usually get about 6 hours on work days. I don't do it on purpose, but it usually doesn't bother me too much. On my days off though, I always sleep more, around 10 hours or so. Although currently, my circadian rhythm is fucked, due to 5 days off in a row, and involuntary 2-3 hour naps beginning at 7pm.