The Myths of Sleep
We spend between a quarter and a third of our lives asleep, but that doesn’t make us experts on how much is too much, how little is too little, or how many hours of rest the children need to be sharp at school.
Let’s tackle some popular myths:
You need eight hours of sleep a night
- That’s the cliche. Napoleon, for one, didn’t believe it. His prescription went something like this: ‘‘Six hours for a man, seven for a woman and eight for a fool.’’
- But Napoleon’s formula wasn’t right, either. The ideal amount of sleep is different for everyone and depends on many factors, including age and genetic make-up.
- In the past 10 years, my research team has surveyed sleep behaviour in more than 150,000 people.
- About 11 per cent slept six hours or less, while only 27 per cent clocked eight hours or more.
- The majority fell in between.
- Women tended to sleep longer than men, but only by an average 14 minutes…