Sleeping 10 hours much harder than expected

September 10, 2018 — by Michael Zhang

Reporter attempts to sleep ten hours per night for a week, and finds it to be a difficult task.

It seems like parents are always urging students to get the recommended 8-10 hours of sleep, and it seems like we teenagers never do. Usually, I get around seven hours of sleep on school nights, so eight hours seems reasonable, but 10 feels a bit excessive. So, in an attempt to test how beneficial this about of sleep is was, I tried to sleep for 10 hours every night for a week.

It turns out sleeping that long sounds easier than it is. On the first night, I went to bed at 9:50 p.m., hoping to get 10 hours of rest before school the next day. But my body wasn’t accustomed to sleeping this early. Although I’m not really sure how much time passed, I lay in bed for what felt like hours before finally being able to fall asleep.

The next day, I tried to sleep at a more typical time of 11:30 p.m., since my free first period allows sleep into tutorial. This time, the problem wasn’t falling asleep, but rather waking up too early — I naturally woke up at around 8:45 a.m., which put me at around nine hours of sleep.

Even toward the end of the week, I was still struggling to make my body stay asleep for 10 hours. But I did manage to get over nine hours of rest a night, compared to my usual seven or eight. And just this extra bit does, in fact, make a difference.

For me, the main benefit is being more awake in the mornings. With adequate rest, it was exponentially easier to will myself out of bed each day, even when it was cold outside my sheets.

Throughout the school day, however, I didn’t notice myself being more attentive or energetic. And while I usually begin to tire a few hours after dinner, I did not feel the same level of exhaustion at night after sleeping more the night before. So in a way, sleeping 10 hours one night actually made it harder to get as much sleep the next.

The biggest complaint I have about going to sleep early is the loss of time. When I went to bed before 10 o'clock, I felt like my day was significantly shorter. Compounded with other evening activities, getting 10 hours of sleep feels more like a hassle than a luxury. As a result, this forced me to rush parts of my homework since there was simply not as much time to complete it. On the other hand, it did teach me valuable time-management skills, since I had to stay on top of my homework and finish as much as possible on the days I didn’t have extracurriculars.

As for whether this amount of sleep could become a permanent habit, my answer is that even if I did not have a heavy load of work to do daily, I don’t think I would enjoy sleeping 10 hours a night. Nine? Maybe. But I definitely don’t need 10.