One of my students was telling me about a magazine article she read on the topic of sleep. Apparently, a famous doctor claims that if you sleep on a hard floor, you only need two hours of sleep each night!
How much sleep do you get?
It seems most people agree on the need for 7-8 hours sleep. My typical sleeping hours are 3am-11am. Not ordinary, but that’s what happens when you’re an English conversation teacher in Japan. With a newborn baby in the house, those hours have been disrupted somewhat, but things are getting back to normal now.
When I ask my students how much sleep they get, the answer is usually just 5-7 hours. You might think it’s because Japanese people work so hard, but I’d argue it’s because it takes them so long to cook breakfast!
Who says you only need 2 hours sleep?
I couldn’t find anything on the web about the “famous” doctor, but I did find an excellent article by the very Jewish, Rabbi Noah Weinberg. In his 48 Ways to Wisdom series, Mr. Weinberg explains how to minimize sleep. First he questions the need for sleep:
Sleep can be a mirage. The proof is that when you’re full of excitement and energy, you simply can’t sleep. Did you ever wake up at 4 a.m. to climb a mountain before sunrise? You’re not sleepy. You’re awake and bubbling with excitement, freshness, zing!
Then he talks about how much sleep you really need, pointing out that Napolean only slept for four hours a night and..
The Vilna Gaon, the greatest rabbi of the last 500 years, would sleep only four 30-minute intervals each day — a total of two hours of sleep each 24-hour period.
He then goes on to discuss how to stay awake, such as doing push ups, putting your feet in cold water, or surprise, surprise, sleeping on a hard floor!
Would you sleep if you only had an hour to do so?
While looking for the original article my student told me about, I found a unique Japanese website called Kotonoha. The site is full of yes/no questions and readers vote and leave comments. Anyway, the question I found was “If you had only one hour left to get some sleep, would you sleep or stay awake? ” Looking at the results, twice as many Japanese would take that hour to get some shut eye.
I would definitely choose to sleep, but how about you?
How many hours do you sleep?If you like, you can find me on Twitter at @nick_ramsay. I'd love to hear from you!