OK, now that you’ve indulged your dreams of flying, turning invisible or having your own personal Tardis, check out this seemingly magic power: short sleep.
Short sleep is the ability to genuinely thrive on 4-6 hours a night of sleep. Short sleepers don’t just get by on less than seven hours a night like every parent I know; they genuinely don’t need any more sleep.
It’s a real-life superpower that one to three percent of the population is blessed with, giving them an extra couple of hours every day to do what they want with. Short sleepers go to bed after midnight and wake up with the early birds, fresh as daisies and ready to start the day all over again.
According to the Wall Street Journal, short sleepers have a collection of interesting traits in common. They tend to be high achievers, extroverts and extremely energetic. They’re also thinner than average, have a high pain tolerance and a suprisingly upbeat base mood.
I’m not making this up: some people are just naturally thin, happy, passionate and resilient on half the sleep normal humans need just to function.
Sadly, this isn’t a trait you can train yourself to. Short sleepers are born, not made. It appears to have something to do with genetics, though scientists are still figuring out exactly how the mechanism works.
That’s a bummer. If you could bottle this mojo, every mom I know would be in line for it. Imagine being able to sleep four hours a night and wake up feeling perky, day after day! What would you do with all that extra time? I’d probably spend mine writing and working out. That’s what I tend to short myself on sleep for these days.
But when I do sleep less than seven hours, I feel sleep deprived. Most people do. The Wall Street Journal cautions against declaring yourself a short sleeper. Thriving on so little sleep is actually quite rare. Most people who believe they don’t need sleep really do, and just walk around constantly sleep deprived. You may think you’re doing alright, but you’re at higher risk for obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure and other health issues. One third of American adults are chronically sleep deprived. Out of every hundred who believe they don’t need sleep, only a handful are really OK without it.
If you’re lucky enough to be a natural short sleeper, I envy you. The rest of us will just have to dream about your superpower while we’re sleeping seven to nine hours a night.
Photo: Ed Yourdon