A Straight Dope Classic from Cecil's Storehouse of Human Knowledge

Is there a way to sleep less?

September 24, 1982

Dear Cecil:

Is there any way you've heard of of sleeping less? I'm envious of people who need only four hours a day.

Cecil replies:

There is this thing called an alarm clock that you may want to look into, D. I can personally testify that it does for oversleeping what the guillotine does for dandruff. If that's not good enough for you, you might want to pick up a copy of Sleep Less, Live More by Everett Mattlin. He basically suggests trying to sleep more efficiently. The deepest, most restful sleep occurs in the first four hours or so; during the last half of your sack time you're doing a lot of what is thought to be nonessential dreaming, and often you're half-awake anyway. So if you exercise regularly, avoid unnecessary stress, develop regular sleeping habits, and so on, eventually you may get to the point where you can drop off immediately, sleep like a rock for six hours, and awaken refreshed. It's worth a try.

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