Yes, it is possible to learn how to sleep less and have more energy, but I want to be very, very careful with this article. I don’t want to give you the impression I condone sleep deprivation. You can probably sleep less, but not less than you need. There is a delicate balance when it comes to sleeping less and having more energy. Trading more productivity for less sleep is a recipe for disaster. It is true, though, that many people sleep more than they need to; you’ll need to find out if this is true for you.
Here’s the bottom line: You must be smart and respectful of your body’s needs. Don’t try to get less sleep than you need because you are going to suffer in the long term. Be like Goldilocks from Goldilocks and the Three Bears and get the amount of sleep that is just right. You will likely find that your “just right” amount is less sleep than you are currently getting. I was pleasantly surprised to find that out when I started getting up early.
Know Thyself: Can You Realistically Sleep Less?
You can’t change your biological needs, nor should you even try. In fact, trying to do so is not wise and can cause all sorts of problems like cardiovascular and hormonal issues. Sleep is a requirement for every single person on this earth. It’s something to embrace rather than resent.
The amount of sleep you need is the amount you need – period. This amount is going to be different for each person. Take stock of what is true for you and respect it. Don’t push your luck or mess with your health.
In general, women tend to need a little bit more sleep than men. But again, that is a generality.
In general, you tend to need less sleep the older you get as well. Again, not always true because I know a couple of senior citizens who can rival my teenage son with the amount of sleep they get. For me personally, after I hit my 30s, I noticed a decrease in the amount of sleep I need to wake up refreshed.
I’ll get into how to figure out your ideal amount of sleep in the Experimentation is Key section below.
Experimentation is Key
Just like the fisherman in the image above, finding your ideal sleep time is a delicate balance that requires patience and skill. Too much sleep and you’re a groggy, unproductive time waster. Too little sleep and you’re functioning like an intoxicated, hormonal Type A workaholic. Extremes are never good – with anything. Everything in moderation…
You’re probably not going to get the number of hours your body needs to sleep right on the first try. It’s likely going to take weeks of experimentation and patience, but it’s definitely worth the effort.
My ideal is currently 7.5 hours per night. It took me 5 weeks to pinpoint that number because I never change my bedtime/wake-up time combo forward or backward more than 15 minutes per week. Gradual changes assured me that I allowed myself a fair chance to try out that number of hours and see if it was my ideal.
Here’s How I Pinpointed My Optimal 7.5 Hours
I started out assuming I needed 8 hours of sleep per night, which is what I recommend most people do. I tried out 8 hours for a week and it felt like slightly too much, so the next week I slept 7.75 hours per night and still felt that I could thrive on less sleep. The following week, I slept 7.5 hours and that felt awesome.
I was still in the experimentation stage, so the fourth week, I pushed it back to 7.25 hours per night and I felt fine, but not quite as energetic as when I slept 7.5 hours. I went back to 7.5 hours during the fifth week.
If I get only 7 hours, I’m usually okay-ish, but slightly on the tired side. I can function with 6 hours for a night or two in a row, but I definitely feel the sting afterward and have to get back to my normal 7.5. If I get 8 hours, I’m good, but I find that I’m even more energetic when I get 7.5 hours. Why sleep for an extra 30 minutes when I feel the same or better during the times I don’t?
Less sleep (7.5 hours versus my previous 8 to 8.5) and more energy work for me, but sleep deprivation certainly doesn’t.
That, my friend, is how to sleep less and have more energy! Experiment to find the minimum amount that gives you maximum energy and doesn’t exceed those hours – even when it’s tempting to do so on the weekend.
Keeping a consistent sleep schedule will continue to offer you more energy with less sleep, day in day out. As your body gets used to your bedtime and wake-up time, you will start to thrive with less sleep than you got back in the day when you had an erratic bedtime.
Too Little Sleep is an Accident Waiting to Happen
I know many people who consistently get 6 or fewer hours of sleep per night. A couple of them thrive on 6 hours, and that’s fine because that’s all they truly need. Most of them, however, know they aren’t getting enough sleep and want to sleep more, but get sucked into YouTube, Netflix, social media, texting, or talking late into the night almost every single night.
Every single one of them compensates with tons of coffee the next morning just so they can wake up and get to work on time or get the kids to
I know one person who had an almost fatal accident at work due to lack of sleep. Several have briefly nodded off at the wheel either to or from work, but luckily nothing disastrous has happened…yet.
As the years go by, this schedule starts to wear them down even if they haven’t experienced any close call situations. It’s a vicious cycle that only they can break themselves out of. They know what the problem is – they just need to take action to correct it.
Gradually over the years, their job performance, self-confidence, energy levels, and relationships with family and friends have suffered due to the typical behavior that comes with long-term sleep deprivation: impatience, overeating, exhaustion, adrenal fatigue, inability to focus, poor memory, and so much more. I believe getting just a little bit more sleep would fix everything for them. And for you, too, if you’re in the same boat.
Too Much Sleep Can Backfire, Too!
I know this one all too well. Getting too much sleep can be just as bad as getting too little.
Whenever I sleep 9 or 10 hours, I drag my feet more than if I slept only 6 or 7. There are times I remember sleeping 10+ hours and feeling even worse than if I had only slept 4 or 5 hours.
During my teenage years and early 20s when I frequently slept 9 or more hours per night, I remember having minor issues with my memory and frequently getting headaches.
Sometimes it felt like no amount of sleep was ever enough, and so I overdid it thinking more would help. What I really should have done was get out of bed and get moving. Anytime I just get up and go for a walk in the morning, I feel amazing – regardless of how much sleep I got.
Oversleeping is not all it’s cracked up to be. I avoid it these days.
Fruits, Fruits, Fruits!
One trick I’ve had up my sleeve for ages when I’ve been tired is to eat lots of fruit – especially citrus fruit like oranges, clementines, and grapefruit. Apples are great, too. Eating them straight from the refrigerator always makes them taste extra refreshing to me and seems to give me an extra boost of energy than if I just eat them at
I used to save the citrus trick for days I was sleep deprived or for whatever reason had a horrible quality of sleep, but since I started waking up early and sleeping fewer hours overall, I eat at least one piece of fruit every day. Sometimes 2 or 3 throughout the day as I start to feel exhaustion creeping up on me.
I always down an orange or apple just prior to work meetings so I can pay attention better and contribute more to the conversation. I work at a small company, so they’ll definitely notice if I’m nodding off! 🙂
Eliminate Dehydration from the Equation
Kill two birds with one stone. Take care of your hydration needs and throw some lemon or lime slices into your water. The citrus gives you an extra energy boost and makes the water taste extra refreshing while keeping you hydrated. I always add the lemon or lime slices at least once a day and it keeps my batteries charged like nothing else.
I still enjoy plain water, though. Regular, unflavored water is what I drink at my bedside first thing in the morning and I recommend the same to you. I just fill up my glass the night before and it’s there waiting for me when I wake up.
Is Your Energy Level All in Your Head?
Your mind is a very powerful tool that you can use for or against you. Make
What if I told you that some of the reason you are lacking energy is because you tell yourself you’re tired? What if it has little to do with how much or how little sleep you got last night? Would you tell me I’m crazy?
The Law of Attraction would back me up and tell me I’m 100% correct. The Law of Attraction is essentially the belief that thoughts become things. If you tell yourself you are tired, you will be tired. Why not use this to your benefit and tell yourself you are energized instead? This is your opportunity to control your life. Be what you want to be!
Backing up the positive thought with a supporting
When my son was an infant, the Law of Attraction was really all I had going for me in the sleep department. The reality was that for the first 3 or 4 months of his life, I was sleep deprived to the point of exhaustion. Appreciating the little miracle I brought into this world and assuring myself I could be the best mother ever while doing quick spurts of jumping jacks or jump squats helped me push through some very early mornings and late nights.
Obviously, you still need to get enough sleep, as I mentioned in the previous sections, but there’s more to it than that. There is something to be said about keeping it positive and affirming to yourself that you have plenty of energy to offer to the universe.
Based on my own personal experiences with depression, anxiety, energy levels, stress management, and sleep challenges (yes, I was a mess!), I can definitively say that keeping a positive mindset can carry you through anything life throws at you – even lack of sleep.
If you want to learn more about the Law of Attraction I recommend watching The Secret – a classic, must-see movie on this topic. If you have a Netflix subscription, The Secret is available to stream there last time I checked. It’s also a book written by Rhonda Byrne if you prefer to read – available here on Amazon. I first learned about the Law of Attraction from The Secret 12 years ago and my life has improved drastically because of it.
To be honest, I found the movie to be more powerful than the book because I loved listening to the interviews with teachers like Bob Proctor, Michael Beckwith, Jack Canfield (author of the Chicken Soup for the Soul series), Lisa Nichols, Neale Donald Walsch, Joe Vitale, Marie Diamond, and others.
More Energy, Less Sleep?
If you want more energy on less sleep, remember to respect your personal need for sleep and not push the amount of zzz’s you get too low. Getting too little sleep will affect your health and interpersonal relationships over time. Experiment to find the amount that is your sweet spot that balances minimum hours versus maximum energy and you’re golden.
Remember: It is not a badge of honor to sleep 5 or 6 hours per night. The most productive people sleep the full amount of time they need – usually somewhere between 6 to 8.5 hours.