What is "8 hours of sleep?"

The obvious answer to the question is…8 hours. But now that I have a sleep tracking wearable I’m seeing that it’s much more picky about what counts as sleep. Somehow it knows when I’m lying in bed motionless trying to fall asleep for 30min. So “going to bed” at 10 and waking up at 6 nets me only 7.5 hours of sleep because of that time spent falling asleep. It also seems to subtract time if/when I get up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom and doesn’t really count any “snooze” time in the morning.

So that being said when you see all these recommendations about getting 8 hours of sleep, are they talking about putting your head on the pillow for 8 hours, or actually be asleep for 8 hours? Also, is there any physiological benefit with time snoozing in the morning or should you really just get up and start your day?

4 Likes

8 hours of sleep is 8 hours of sleep. So most people will probably need extra time in bed just to get settled and fall asleep.

I’m not 100% sure of the snoozing but the more continuous the better. If you just briefly wake up, see the clock, then turn over and fall back asleep for 30+min then it probably ‘counts’. But if your alarm is going off every 10 min and you roll over and press the snooze button each time then I doubt you’re getting much of the intended benefit.

4 Likes

I’ve always thought it was the actual time asleep, although I’m guilty of just being in bed for 8 hours, although my best results have come when I try to target 8.5-9hours in bed. This comes up in Google, I haven’t researched the author though The ‘8 Hours of Sleep’ Rule Is a Myth. Here’s What You Should Do Instead | Inc.com

1 Like

Well, I suppose I’ve had success getting up to 8-8.5 hours in bed. Perhaps it’s time to stretch that out a little more now :smiley: Thanks for the link and info.

(I’ve also noticed much less “snoozing” the longer I’ve slept)

If I get 6 hours in bed, I count myself as lucky :rofl:

10 Likes

To dream the impossible dream

I wish I could stay asleep that long. Hoping the somnox 2 comes to the US soon https://somnox.com/

Im a bad sleeper, so restful sleep for me is 10 hours - which might mean a good 8 hours, sometimes less. No need a whoop to tell me that.

3 Likes

“What is “8 hours of sleep?””

When you have kids, a myth.

40 Likes

100%. Got a 10 year old and a 7 year old. Always tired. Always time crunched. I always shoot for 7 hours in bed. I usually get 6.5. I’m blessed to be able to fall asleep within 2-3 minutes of laying my head down and usually don’t move for the entirety of my time in bed. So at least the time I spend in bed is usually high quality sleep time. ha…

1 Like

As I age, it just blows my mind that people regularly get 8 hours of sleep. I don’t drink alcohol. I try not to consume any liquids at all after 7pm. I drop the temp in the house. I have a bedtime routine to wind down. I try all the recommendations, but honestly, it’s nearly impossible.

14 Likes

I’m with you on this one. On Saturday I woke up at 6:30. My teenaged kid slept until 11:00. We both went to bed at the same time. This is not ideal.

4 Likes

Most weekends I would KILL to make it to 630!

2 Likes

Do your kids not sleep through?

I’m not convinced that we’re quite “there” yet in terms of the accuracy of wearables… don’t get me wrong, someday I hope we get there! FWIW, I wore a Whoop for about a year, and currently wear an Apple Watch.

I think Coach Chad was the one to originally suggest it, but Why We Sleep by Matthew Walker is an incredible resource that I highly recommend!

7 Likes

I’ve read it too, and was really disappointed. It reminded me of the Matt Fitzgerald books, in that there are just lots of stories about why we need more sleep, research that says we need more sleep, and then statements to say “you should really try to get more sleep”. I finished a Fitzgerald book and thought, “yep, I should eat cleaner, I didn’t need 300 pages to tell me that” and I kind of felt the same about “Why We Sleep”.

Having said that, I find myself wondering if I missed something big and enlightening because so many people recommend it. Would you (or anyone else who is willing to chime in) mind sharing what you got out of it? I’m not trying to argue, I just want to learn!

4 Likes

No of course they sleep through at this age. I just spend a lot of time with them during the day, so I usually need to stay up after they’re asleep to get any other house projects done.

2 Likes

Ah right lol, makes sense :joy:

Last year I listened to a programme on the BBC World Service about sleep. Apparently getting the 8 hours in one go is a relatively modern concept.

2 Likes

This is kind of interesting too. Especially this passage:

Due to availability, 2 different models of activity monitor—produced by a sole manufacturer—were used in this study (Actiwatch-64 and Actical Z-series; Philips Respironics, Bend, OR). The monitors were configured to sum and store data in 1-minute epochs based on activity counts from a piezoelectric accelerometer with a sensitivity of 0.05 g and a sampling rate of 32 Hz. Data from the sleep diary and activity monitor were used to determine when participants were awake and when they were asleep. Essentially, all time was scored as wake unless: (1) the sleep diary indicated that the athlete was lying down attempting to sleep and (2) the activity counts from the monitor were sufficiently low to indicate that the athlete was immobile.[20] When these 2 conditions were satisfied simultaneously, time was scored as sleep.

This seems to indicate that “sleep” for this study was pillow time. Not necessarily actually being “asleep” I’m also noting that while the study seems to indicate that 8.3 hours is how much sleep athletes need, these are all people in their early to mid-twenties. Do masters athletes have different needs?

I’m trying to skim stuff as I’m working so I could be missing some things, but it appears that sleep is kind of a fuzzy concept still.

1 Like

It seems like one should not over think this and use common sense. Do all the best practices in the book as best one can.

Then, for example, if you go to bed at ten and it’s a struggle to wake up at 6am by alarm (hitting snooze), then you didn’t go to bed early enough.

If you get in bed in bed at 9:30 and then it’s relatively easy to wake up at 6am then you know you’ve nailed it. One could even try getting in bed at 9pm and see how that works.

It’s just common sense not to stay up late playing stimulating video games when you know you have to get up early. If you drink alcohol or get high, it might short change your sleep. If you eat late at night, it might not help.

Just apply a lot of common sense.

3 Likes