Posted by: Energizer Bunny | 2009/01/12

Little sleep &  health

Hi Doc

On average I sleep about 4-5 hours a night. I go to the gym practically every day after work and over weekends for 1 hour at a time. The only times I feel tired is when I become bored (at work for instance) or often from about 10pm (especially if I' ve had an intense workout) and then I feel REALLY tired. Also, no matter at what time I go to bed, I ALWAYS wake up early (say between 5 and 6am, sometimes even earlier). A while ago I also woke up a couple of times during the night every few nights for about a month or so. That, fortunately, has passed.

I' ve done an extensive bit of reading on the subject of sleep but I must admit that I still haven' t come to a conclusion on whether or not I can continue sleeping as little as I do without it having some detrimental effect on my short term and/or long term health. It is said that the amout of sleep needed differs from individual to individual and that some people can function normally with 4 hours, whereas others need 8-9 hours a night. However, it is also said that lack of sleep increases the chances of developing heart disease, cancer, etc.

I am quite confused and would appreciate your opinion on the matter. Is something wrong with me, physically.. or psychologically...?

Thank you :-)

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageCyberDoc

Dear Energizer Bunny
Some people do need very little sleep. However, if this causes you to feel tired or impairs your concentration, or make you irritable and prone to anger outbursts, you may have a sleep disorder. You can have it tested at a sleep lab overnight - they do an EEG (something that measures the brainwaves) while you sleep to see if you have a normal sleep pattern and whether you get enough deep phase sleep (REM sleep) In general, you can monitor your cholesterol and blood pressure and do an ECG of the heart yearly.
Dr Bets

The information provided does not constitute a diagnosis of your condition. You should consult a medical practitioner or other appropriate health care professional for a physical exmanication, diagnosis and formal advice. Health24 and the expert accept no responsibility or liability for any damage or personal harm you may suffer resulting from making use of this content.

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