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20 Jan 2003

How much sleep should I aim to get
Hi Doc

I have read figures of between 7 and 8.5 hours of sleep per night is what one should aim for. Is there a "correct" amount of sleep that the "average" person should aim to get? And can you train yourself to do with (slightly) less? For example, I usually get 7.5 hours per night, but if I go for 7 I feel tired. Having recently read that 7 to 7.5 is what you should aim for, (I always thought it was more like 8) I wonder whether it is more a case of my mind convincing me I should feel tired that makes me yawn. I am one of those people that want to cram as much as I can into a day, but hate feeling exhausted, so if you could clarify this for me, I would be grateful.

Thanks
Scott
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Expert
CyberDoc
CyberDoc

01 Jan 0001

Scott, individual requirements vary widely, ranging from as little as 4 to as much as 9 hours out of each 24 in healthy people. The duration and satisfactions of sleep are influenced by a number of factors, including the current emotional state.
All kinds of experiments have been done to determine the amount of sleep a person needs, but it still looks like it’s more an individual variation than anything else. I suppose it’s possible to teach yourself to cope with less sleep if you set your mind to it. You need to pick a time to go to bed at and then stick to it. As soon as you manage to go to bed at the same time every night you can start setting your alarm for 5 minutes earlier. Stick to this new routine for at least ten days before you set the alarm for 5 minutes earlier again. You can keep on doing this until you’ve reached your goal. Good luck.
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