T Nation



I was reading about someone who's been doing karate for his whole life (only one of white race to have a 9. dan black belt), he's also a professor (has a PhD...).

He said, that when he was younger (he is around 60 years old right now), he managed to train himself to sleep only ~5 hours per day. I believe him, as his credentials speak for him.

But I was wondering, how would one manage to do that.

I was thinking about gradually decreasing the length of sleep (slowly, a minute perhaps per day), and in few months perhaps get there.

Any suggestions?


Have children. You will learn to get by on less sleep.


So I guess I will have to wait with this thing for a couple of years:-)


First of all whomever wrote that article is full of crap.

There are other 9th dans who are caucasion.

Since that's a lie then maybe the 5 hours of sleep per night is also a lie.

Keep getting your 8 anyway, it's healthy man.


why the hell would you wanna do that? sleep is great


Boy, aint that the truth.


While the amount of sleep individuals need can vary, one cannot change how much sleep he needs and still be at optimal health. Many older people will tell you that over the course of their life, they gradually slept less and less. This is not natural nor healthy. They simply have become accustomed to being perpetually short on sleep. Just because you seem to get through your day, that does not mean your health and performance at everything you do are not being affected.


My wife has this ridiculous idea. She says, "I don't feel good, I think I slept too much". "No", I say, "When you sleep enough, you wake up. What you've done is go too long without your caffeine fix".

Unless you have some sleep problem, your body knows what it's doing. You should sleep until you wake up without an alarm clock, as often as possible.


I remember reading an article from TC where he states that, generally speaking, high-T males require less sleep than their lower-T counterparts.

I seems that most of the "mens men" (loud, aggressive, impulsive, naturally stocky) that I personally know sleep less than the other guys that I know.

Special Forces personel get by on very low levels of sleep for extended periods of time. I think we can all agree that they're high-T guys.

We all have a grandpa or uncle that has huge forearms, square jaw, and an iron resolve who brags about how little sleep they need.

That's what I beleive, at least.


Interesting. I worked for a guy who used to say he didnt need that much sleep. He was a lot like you described. But he also drank a shit load of coffee so who knows if he was just playing the "i'm tough" role?

I personally must have the testosterone levels of a eunuch because I need at least 9 hours to feel right.


Yea dude, I need 8 to feel fully operational. I can get by on 6-7 for a few days just fine, but then I need a day or two of 9-10 to get back on track.

Don't beat yourself up over it though, it's just something that I've done minimal reading on, and have observed throughout my life. Who knows if it's true.

Also, keep in mind that we're not "normal" guys. We routinely and consistently beat ourselves up in the gym. That's gotta require an extra hour or two every night, right?!




Gradually decrease the amount of sleep you get each night, or just cut the # of hours you sleep to whatever # you want it to be at and you should be accustomed to it within a month.

Less time sleeping means more time awake accomplishing things. For those of us who have concerns in life besides our recovery and matters of the body, this is a valuable asset. Time is invaluable.

A lot of the world's most succesful people didn't sleep a lot, less sleep usually means more work. I'm all for sleep and I sleep 10 hours a day in the summer, but sleeping less usually leads to more productivity during the day assuming the quality of what you do does not go down.


I often feel the same way and I don't drink many caffeinated beverages. If I sleep over 9 hours I usually feel very tired in the morning, as if I had slept for less than 5. On another note, how you feel initially after waking up has a lot to do with what stage of sleep you were in and how rapidly you get up.

That is why waking up naturally feels so good (ideal phase of sleep and usually pretty slowly).


You may want to do a bit more research on that (only if you honestly give a shit though). I have heard of studies (I cannot reference them but someone else may be able to) that indicate that sleeping too much is as bad as not sleeping enough. I assume that it was talking about chronic over sleeping, and not just the odd 10 hour night here or there.


Indeed, on a longer timeline oversleeping can have the same negative effects on your sleep patterns that undersleeping can.


Yeah, I agree, it's great.

But like somebody else said, sleeping less means more time doing something else.


I kind of enjoy sleeping, ya know?


I have went long periods of time with no sleep. It sucks. You don't learn to get used to it anymore than you learn to get used to being cold or hungry. It always sucks. When things die down you start to drone, people fall asleep walking, and everyone generally becomes an ass.

That being said, you can go without sleep for quite a while and still acomplish task that you are well trained at.


Just take creatine, caffine and meth - you'll never need to sleep again.