As a father of a 9 month old son, sleep is a luxury, that is not often experienced. I rarely exceed 5 hours of sleep in a 24 hour period. I can’t say that I recommend such a pattern, but I can say (without question) that the body can adapt to less than the traditional 8 or 9 hour recommendation.

According to many experts, I must be fatigued, weak, and constantly out of gas. The opposite is actually true however. I may not receive 8 hours of sleep, but I feel great, energized, and continue to make gains in the gym.

As I’ve said before, the body can adapt to much more than we realize. I am not suggesting that we all stop sleeping, but at the same time, don’t give up on yourself due to limited sleep (ex. a new parent).

In addition, make the most of a power nap if possible. I try to squeeze in a power nap once a day if time permits. Below are a few links that you may enjoy regarding this topic:



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  1. I agree with the Napping idea. My favorite radio station in Edmonton has a “Nap index” every day, lets you know what the napping conditions are like every day.

    Today is:

    Nap Index.


    Check out
    and look on the righ hand side about half way down.

    Cheers to all Nappers and Ross, thanks for the info, we are expecting our first on July 23rd.

    Boy Wunder

  2. Actually I’m sometimes better with less sleep in gym… May be body is trying to survive :o) with all its might.
    But in long term I would say lack of sleep is not healthy.
    Naps however are (could be in my case) very beneficial.

  3. As a father of a 20 month old, naps are essential in those first months. However in the long view 5 hour rest periods plus naps are start to catch up.

    Recently at the recommendation of Robb Wolf over at the Performance Menu I picked up the book “Lights Out: Sleep, Sugar, and Survival” by T.S. Wiley and Bent Formby. It was interesting and while some of the stuff stated in there is kind of out there it was still well worth the read and something I’m planning on rereading later this year.

    Thanks for all your articles btw, a great source of information

  4. I am a full-time student in college, and also work part-time, sometimes over 30 hours a week while attending school. I completely understand the 6 hour sleep schedule , but also clearly benefit from the brief 20 minute nap. On top of this schedule i find time for conditioning, homework, and a tiny bit of free time. The body doesn’t truly have any limits, only those we place on ourselves….

  5. You are completely right about the value of power naps. One thing to point out, however: it’s important to keep in mind that a “power nap” is any nap of 30 minutes’ duration, or less. The extremely “feel good” experience of a short power nap will be lost if you nap for longer than about 30 minutes. This is because, as Dr. Mednick points out, the brain drops into deeper sleep, and awaking from deeper sleep leaves one with a groggy feeling, and lacking the wonderful feeling of energy and refreshment that accompany the shorter 15-30 minute “power nap”. We learned a lot about power naps while creating the Power Nap Kit — it’s available now in Adult, College and High School editions.

  6. Personally, I have worked with 5 or 6 hours of sleep for YEARS. I’ve always functioned with less than 8 hours of sleep. I grew up in a busy home. I can remember my grandfather up at the crack of dawn EVERY morning. He did this for all 90+ years, and it never caught up.

    Ultimately, there is no one size formula. You must listen to your body. Unfortunately, many give up long before they begin to even approach their true potential.

    As a young fighter, I did my roadwork first thing in the morning. It wasn’t fun at first, but I sucked it up, and it just became part of the daily routine. I never looked back.

    When I’m six feet under, I’ll have plenty of time for sleep. For now, I will make the most of each day.


  7. As the Father of two young children I have found that 4.5 hours sleep a night is my minimum if I’m going to work the next day – I can’t function on less, I get shaky, tired in the afternoon. My best experience of little sleep was DJing at a party until 2.30am, sleep at 4am, up at 8am laying a large carpet & underlay – all 3 days before Christmas – & not feeling any fatigue.

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