I was listening to the JRE the other day, and Matthew Walker the sleep diplomat was on(I strongly recommend listening to the podcast). He’s a professor of neuroscience and psychology. The podcast was an eye opener. According to him six hours is not enough sleep for the vast majority people. People who can make it on 5 hours of sleep or less without any negative symptoms is only a fraction of a percent.

If you’re reading this and thinking you’re one of those exceptions well you’re probably wrong. Walker mentioned that people are horrendous at self diagnosing. You might think you’re okay but you’re actually not operating at 100% and you won’t even know it. Kind of like how some people say they can drink without getting drunk, they think their drunkness isn’t visible to others but everyone can see it except themselves. When you lack sleep the syptoms besides the obvious one of being less energetic you will be more easily irritated, you have a harder time learning, focusing and your cardio suffer. It’s especially important to get atleast 7 hours of sleep if you’re doing anything physically demanding or intellectually demanding. Apparently people short on sleep could suffer from a 30% lower performance on cardio activities.

Matthew also brought up what happens to people who go on long stretches of staying awake, hallucination starts to kick in. Something I’ve heard many people say when they haven’t sleeped for days.

So what is the ideal amount of sleep that is recommended? 7-9 hours of sleep(yes, there are individual differences). I recommend listening to the whole podcast but gist of it is, you’re probably not a person who can function on six hours or less.