“How many hours of sleep you need” is a question I am asked ALL the time. And comes down to a few things – and of the most importance is your chronotype.
After writing my book Bear, Lion, Wolf, which focused on chronotypes, I am happy to share this insight with you – as I know it stumps many of us.
“How many hours of sleep you need”:
Lions – need the least sleep (7 hours)
Bears – need the most sleep (9 hours)
Wolves – need a medium amount of sleep (7-9)
“How many hours of sleep you need” – the why
This is largely due to our genes. Certain genes correlate with each sleep type, and also, correlate with sleep lengths.
This is so important to know, as many Bears think there is something wrong with them – because they need more sleep than others. Or perhaps they are experiencing insomnia symptoms after a ‘regular’ amount of sleep – e.g. 7-9 hours – and wondering why.
Similarly, Wolves, who typically struggle to sleep (because they don’t feel tired until 1-2am), often feel like there is something wrong with them too, because they are always tired. This is because you actually need seven to nine hours of sleep, but usually don’t get it. Lastly, Lions, although you technically need the least amount of sleep, if it’s not high quality, you’ll wake up after seven or so hours and still feel tired too.
Similarly, another factor at hand here is your genes overall. For example, a 2009 research paper found that a mutation of the DEC2 gene need less sleep, only 6.25 hours to feel rested, compared to 8.06 hours needed for those without the mutation to feel rested.
All in all, if you need less or more sleep than others, it’s okay!
There is nothing wrong with you – it’s just your biology – and because of such, you should aim to work with it, rather than against it.
Hence, in order to do so, make sure you know your chronotype.
If you would like to know more about your chronotype, take my chronotype quiz.
I am happy to answer any questions you may have!