Here’s Why 6 Hours of Sleep Is As Damaging As No Sleep at All
In today’s world, social media alerts and the constant buzzing of your iPhone are bound to make you lose sleep. And if you’re one of those people who can somehow tune out technology, chances are something else is keeping you awake — a raging party, worries about finances or your family. But study after study makes it clear that a lack of sleep can wreak havoc on your life (so be sure to at least sleep in on weekends). And by “lack,” researchers mean even six hours of sleep is bad. In fact, a study recently reported by Fast Company says six hours of sleep can be as bad as getting no sleep at all. The study isn’t exactly new, but since it’s National Sleep Awareness Week, it’s a great time to take stock of our sleep shortcomings.
The sleep study, published in the journal Sleep, examined the consequences of allowing subjects to only get six hours of sleep a night for two weeks straight. While you may think six hours a night is pretty good (Don’t most of us run on six hours of Z’s?), researchers found that these subjects functioned as poorly as people who were forced to stay awake for two days straight.
Researchers also examined the performance of people who were allowed to sleep four or eight hours a night for two weeks and found that, naturally, those who slept eight hours performed best. People who got only four hours of sleep a night performed worse each day, and the group that got six hours of sleep did OK until around day 10 of the study, Fast Company says. Toward the end of the two-week period, the six-hour sleepers started performing as badly as the people who didn’t sleep at all.
Here’s what’s really interesting: The six-hour sleepers were basically in denial about their level of fatigue and thought they were still doing pretty well, Fast Company says. It makes sense — six hours seems like a pretty decent amount of shut-eye. But apparently, it’s time to put down the latte, turn off the smartphone and call it an early night.
How many hours of sleep do you usually get? Let us know @BritandCo.
(h/t Fast Company, photos via Getty)