If You Could Only Sleep for 1 Hour, Would You?

Sleeping on a hard floorOne 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!

10 thoughts on “If You Could Only Sleep for 1 Hour, Would You?

  1. Well, because I sleep during most of the days, I have a weird sleep schedule, and I have found a I program and code best when I’m tired. Strangely enough, I work fine when I haven’t had sleep in over 24 hours.

  2. Very interesting topic my young Jedi and one that is close to my heart!! My problem is at the other end of the scale and is simply put, not enough sleep!!!!!!
    I have insomnia and have had it for about 10 years now! At night watching TV I can’t even relax without twitching or some bloody nerve in my body not relaxing.
    When it is time to go to bed I’m usually quite tired and doze off for a few minutes but nearly always wake up and can then go for hours trying to get back to sleep. I rarely sleep for more than two hours straight and have tried everything from every type of medicine (Healthy and not so healthy types!!) to meditating and so on!!
    I do feel reasonably fine during the days with 4 hours sleep per night, but have often thought just how much more I could do with my life if I was able to get 7 to 8 hours of real decent sleep??????
    If anyone has any advice no matter how strange, it would be appreciated !! I have even tried counting “Nova bunnies” and that certainly did not work haa haa haa!!
    Cheers Keith

  3. I can easily sleep 8-10 hours but at times when I sleep 5-6 per night I need a power nap of at least 20 minutes every day around 3pm. When I was in America I used to wish I could use public transportation and sleep instead of driving through rush hour. I’ve heard about the 2 hour sleep thing before but it could result in insanity!

  4. I need my 8 hours and my Grandma used to say that the sleep before midnight, is more important than the sleep after midnight.. so in other words going to bed at 10:00 and sleeping till 6:00 is better than going to bed at 2:00 and sleeping till 10:00… I think she was totally right about that!

  5. I go to bed each night around 11:00 p.m. and have my alarm set at 2:45 a.m. to go to the gym each morning. I always wake up before my alarm. I jump out of bed and off I go. I do not drag during the day nor am I exhausted. On the weekends, I do try to sleep in as long a I can…It never fails I am up no later than 4:30 a.m. Amy I a nut case or what?

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