Home // Men’s Health Tips // Sleep // Can I Really Survive On 6 Hours Of Sleep A Night?

Can I Really Survive On 6 Hours Of Sleep A Night?

by | Jul 14, 2015 | Sleep

When was the last time you woke up feeling refreshed, rejuvenated and ready to take on your day? If you’re like most Canadian men, chances are it wasn’t this morning. You’ve probably heard by now that most adults need between seven and nine hours of sleep a night, and that getting less (and funny enough, more) sleep can lead to a host of health risks like lower testosterone, poor concentration and even stroke. But what about guys who walk that knife’s edge between sleep deprivation and the bare minimum? Can some men really survive on six hours of sleep a night?

It turns out the amount of sleep you need depends on your age, genes and lifestyle. Earlier this year, the U.S.-based National Sleep Foundation brought together sleep specialists from every corner of the medical world and released a “Recommended Sleep” chart. For guys between ages 26 and 65, there are no surprises: you’re looking at 7 to 9 hours as your ideal sleeping window. But there are still some people who can sneak in just six hours of shuteye each night and still kick some ass. Another sub-group of (unlucky?) dudes needs a whopping 10 hours each night to function properly.

But what about you? Let’s start with what we know about sleep patterns. According to Statistics Canada, Canadian men report they sleep less than women on average. The reasons behind this phenomenon aren’t fully understood, but we do know things like young kids, work stress and a lack of exercise can eat away at length and quality of ZZZ’s.

We also know sleep deprivation lowers testosterone levels in men (you can thank Peterborough’s Brock University Sleep Research Laboratory for that recent discovery). If you’re still not getting it: lower testosterone = erectile dysfunction. Have we got your attention now?

The benefits of figuring out your individual sleep window are beginning to shape up. So how do you do it?

  1. Keep sleeping notes. Write down when you go to bed and when you wake up each morning. If you’re too lazy to monitor your slumber, there are awesome digital wristbands that track your sleeping pattern through apps (FitBit One and Jawbone Up are great). Once you’ve figured out your sleep time, take a minute to assess your mood when you first get up and a few times throughout the day. If you’re irritable or finding it hard to concentrate, try setting your bedtime back by half an hour for a week. Repeat as necessary.
  1. Cut back on caffeine. This will be a challenge, but if you can stop masking your fatigue with coffee, you’ll figure out pretty quickly if your minimum sleep time is on point.
  1. Know your strengths and weaknesses. If you’ve got young ones at home, you’re probably LOL’ing at the mere suggestion of a proper night’s sleep. For the rest of us, things like longer work days, a lack of exercise and even a crappy commute are taxing on sleep quality. Take the YouCheck health tool, courtesy of the Canadian Men’s Health Foundation, to give you a starting point for evaluating your overall health. If you’re lacking in the exercise department or feeling wired from your work stress, even a 20-minute walk around the block can make a big impact on your sleep pattern.

Some guys can function fine on six hours of sleep a night, but your ideal sleep window depends on genetics and lifestyle. For most guys, seven to nine hours is the sweet spot. Keep track of your sleep pattern (or have an app do it for you) and take note of your mood for a true, individualized read on your ideal sleep time. Taking control of your sleep doesn’t take much!

 

References:

1) Who gets any sleep these days? Sleep patterns of Canadians. Accessed July 11, 2015. http://www.statcan.gc.ca/pub/11-008-x/2008001/article/10553-eng.htm#2

2) Cote, K.A., McCormick, C.M., * Geniole, S.N., * Renn, R.P., * MacAulay, S.D. (2013). Sleep deprivation lowers aggression and testosterone in men. Biological Psychology, 92: 249-56.

3) Sleeping over eight hours a day associated with greater risk of stroke. Accessed July 11, 2015. http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/02/150225164004.htm

Are you trying to get more and better sleep? If so, we’ve got your back!

Download the free “How to Rule the Bedroom” ebook right now.

Don't Change Much
Don’t Change Much

Do You Like This Blog?

As a national charity, we depend on your donations to provide our services to Canadians. Every contribution counts.

Your Donations Make a Difference

Donate

Your contribution will further men’s health programming, tool development, and research.

Don’t Change Much is a movement inspiring men and their families to lead healthier lives. With reliable information and easy tips, we know every guy and their family can make small changes that will have a big impact on their health.

More From

Sleep

Lifestyle Changes that Help Give Mild Sleep Apnea The Slip

Sawing logs. Calling the hogs. Mowing hay. Rattling the shingles. We use plenty of funny expressions to describe snoring, what with one in three Canadian guys being a snorer. Snoring can be annoying, no doubt, but it can also be a sign of health concerns if it’s...

How to Sleep Like a King with These 13 Easy Tips

How to Sleep Like a King with These 13 Easy Tips

We all love a good night’s sleep. After all, we need it for our bodies to stay healthy and strong. Unfortunately, many guys suffer from disturbed or lack of sleep, which all-too-often leaves us feeling grumpy, foggy, and reaching for that double-double. You know,...

Top 5 Sleep Apps for Sleepless Guys

Top 5 Sleep Apps for Sleepless Guys

After a long day of sausage duels, these sleep apps can help you get the sleep you need. There are goofy apps for timing pee breaks during movies, tracking where you’ve pooped, and duelling with sausages (the food). So it’s no wonder dozens of sleep apps are designed...

Let’s Talk!

Did you enjoy this article? Let us know in the comments.

0 Comments

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Our comments are moderated and are made live after they’ve been reviewed. If you disagree with anything in the article or comments please do let us know, but be polite so we can have a constructive discussion where everyone has the opportunity to learn.

Pin It on Pinterest