Do I need all my sleep in one go? Can we just nap and reduce the need for 8 hours?

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Yes and no.

Should you be sleeping more than once a day?  Yes. Research shows that we’re naturally wired to sleep twice a day.  A short afternoon nap and 7 – 8 hours of sleep at night.

You still need a full 7 – 8 hours at night.  Every hour of sleep is not equal. You go through stages during sleep and you will spend different parts of the night getting more or less of certain stages.

For example, during the last few hours of sleep you experience a deep sleep (stage 2 NREM) rich in memory improving brain activity.  Miss this and your learning of new motor-skills will be significantly limited.

So do you need all your sleep in one go?  I’d suggest yes – you need to get 7 – 8 hours of sleep in one go.  If not, you will be suffering from subclinical chronic sleep deprivation.  You’ll not notice but you’ll be a little slower and performing less than your best.

For more on biphasic sleep head to here.

Written by
Sam Billington

Sam is our sleep guru. I am fascinated by sleep and I've used my science training to research and learn about sleep. I have been providing sleep advice and personal sleep plans for years. My day job is Head of Workplace Culture in Defra, I live in London with my wife and have a PhD in Ecology and Biology.