How many hours should I sleep? Is 6 hours of sleep enough to build muscle? How much sleep do we really need? Opinions vary on this. Arnold Schwarzenegger says you only need 6 hours of sleep for building up muscle mass and recover at a decent rate. But he is probably quite different from the rest of us mere mortals, no? Plus it depends wildly on how much energy you need during the day (besides working out; example: going to school, studying, working, other activities).
Plenty of people from the military sleep 4 hours or less each night and they seem to be doing just fine. But, and this is a big but, they have trained their body to take it and be ok with it. They took the time to test it out and be constant about it so it doesn’t work over night. If you have the patience and stomach for it, you can try it.
So, is 6 hours of sleep enough to build muscle?
We think it could be. You should always test it out for yourself and see how it works out. You could be enjoying biphasic sleep (sleeping two times during 24 hours) or polyphasic sleep (sleeping multiple times) so you shouldn’t just focus on how much time you sleep but also on how many times you sleep. Maybe you need 8 hours of sleep if you sleep like most people and have a single chunk of time for sleep.
But what if you tried sleeping in 2 chunks could reduce that time to 6 hours per night? Try sleeping 4.5 hours at night and another 1.5 hours during the day. Why 4.5 and 1.5? Because, as studies show, a sleep cycle lasts around 90 minutes and it’s best to wake up after this cycle has ended (you’ll feel much more rested this way). So you would get 3 such sleep cycles on your first attempt and another one on your second.
Our opinion is that this is enough to build muscle and that even lifting on 6 hours of sleep is possible but you should take into account multiple factors and adjust accordingly so that you can get the most out of your 6 hours of sleep:
* Be careful what you eat. Eating junk food or/and too much food will lead to a restless sleep and you’ll feel tired and feel the need for more than 6 hours.
* When are you going to bed? This is extremely important. The earlier you go to sleep the less of it you will need. Try going to bed before 10PM or even earlier for the best results. Plus imagine how cool it would be to wake up at 4AM!
* How often do you workout? We recommend that you don’t workout for more than 3 times weekly in the beginning of your 6 hour sleep test. Take it slowly and see how it goes and then you can workout more often but for starters don’t go over 3 times weekly so your body has plenty of time to adjust to sleeping less and gets a chance to recover between workouts.
Those are the most important 3 factors you should pay close attention when decreasing your sleep time.
In conclusion, the question is not how many hours should you sleep but rather how many hours do you need to feel rested and have enough energy for the whole day?
PS: If you’re considering going for a 6 hour sleep it would be great to learn how to fall asleep fast so that you don’t waste much time falling asleep. Every minute counts.
Let us know what you experience was when trying to sleep 6 hours. How many days did you experiment for? How rested did you feel on day day 1? We would love to hear from you.