Are you a night owl and an early bird at the same time? Unlike most of us, short sleepers only routinely get six hours or less a night and function without being tired. This small group of people, only 1% to 3% percent of the population, draw both admiration and jealousy from the rest of us. And if you’re wondering how to become a member of the sleepless elite, you can’t. Being classified as part of the sleepless elite isn’t like joining a club or fraternity. You’re either born a short sleeper or not.
Less Sleep = More Time
One of the things that we probably all want more of is time. Just imagine how much more time you would have if you could shave off 3 hours from the standard 8-hour sleep cycle per day. Those three extra hours a day add up to 21 hours over seven days. That’s almost a full day of spare time over a week. Over a lifetime, it can add up to about 15-20 extra years. Famous sleepless elite members like Thomas Edison, Barack Obama, Martha Stewart, and Donald Trump have all used their spare time to excel in their professional lives. Being a short sleeper won’t increase your lifespan, but it will enable you to live a much fuller and more productive life.
Characteristics Of Short Sleepers
Short sleepers have a lot in common beyond their 24-hour circadian rhythms. What are some of the sleepless elite characteristics? They have very upbeat moods and optimistic personalities, thin physiques, high metabolisms, thrive at multitasking, and have an unusually high tolerance for both physical pain and stressful psychological situations.
Sleepless Elite Quiz
Even if you can survive and function with little sleep, it doesn’t mean that you are part of the sleepless elite. You might just be sleep deprived. So which is it? Are you just overtired or part of the sleepless elite? If you can answer “yes” to all of the questions in this short sleepless elite test, then you might have elite status. You can also take this formal Sleepless Elite quiz for a more detailed analysis.
Am I sleepless elite quiz:
- Do you usually wake up before 7 am without an alarm clock?
- Are you upbeat, optimistic, and outgoing?
- Are other members of your family natural short sleepers?
- Do you have a high tolerance for physical pain?
- Are you thin?
- Do you have a high metabolism?
- Do you ever feel like you need to catch up on sleep?
- Do you wake up early without an alarm clock, even on weekends or while on vacation?
NERD NOTE: One of the easiest ways to determine if you are a short sleeper is if you sleep late on vacation or weekends. Even if they have an opportunity to sleep more, true short sleepers won’t sleep late. If you sleep late whenever you can, then you are probably not part of the sleepless elite.
Maybe You’re Just Sleep Deprived
Some people will routinely only get about 5 hours of sleep per night, but not be part of the sleepless elite. They are merely sleep-deprived and suffering from a condition called “sleep machismo.” Denying your body the sleep it needs is dangerous and can lead to both mental and physical setbacks. Research has shown that bad sleep habits and regular sleep deprivation are linked with a variety of health risks including depression, obesity, and even death. So if your body needs some shut-eye, then go take a nap.
The Sleepless Elite Gene
In many cases, short sleeping appears to be an inherited trait that runs in families and may even begin during childhood. But is there a sleepless elite gene? In 2009, Dr. Ying-Hui Fu at the University of California, San Francisco, discovered a gene variation called hDEC2 in a mother-daughter pair of short sleepers. When they replicated the gene in mice, they slept less too. So in the future, a sleepless elite mutation may be possible for everyone, even if the hDEC2 gene isn’t already part of your DNA.