Productive on Six Hours of Sleep? No You’re Not, You Liar

Do you regularly sleep for just six hours a night? And you think you’re more productive as a result?

You should sit your sleep-deprived butt down before you hear the news I have to share with you today. Not only does it make you less productive — but it ups your odds of heart attack, stroke, or cancer. And makes you less charismatic. At least, according to one expert.

The Expert Opinion

Matthew Walker, founder and director of the Center for Human Sleep Science at the University of California, Berkeley, and the author of “Why We Sleep: Unlocking the Power of Sleep and Dreams,” has a thing or two to tell you.

“Underslept employees tend to create fewer novel solutions to problems, they’re less productive in their work and they take on easier challenges at work,” Walker said.

So what’s the correct amount?

“The recommendation is seven to nine hours for all adults. The reason that there’s a range is that it’s a little bit like calories. Based on everyone’s unique physiology, that amount will vary from one person to the next,” Walker explained to the Chicago Tribune.


“And the same is true for sleep, although there are somewhat hard boundaries on the lower end. Once you get less than seven hours of sleep, you can measure marked impairments in both brain and body health. And those people who claim they can survive on six hours of sleep or less, unfortunately, are deluding themselves and their health.”

And that’s on top of the money you’re losing out on due to less sleep. Better start turning off your screens and revising your college applications now.

Change Starts With You

Look, the problem here is modern society. We all use an eight-hour work day — even though we work better in four-hour chunks — and it doesn’t leave us enough time to rest properly between all the other tiny chores we need to accomplish in our free time.

But sadly, society isn’t about to change by itself. You’ll need to start by deciding what you value most: fitting in with everyone else’s work cycles, or getting a full, productive night’s sleep all the time. But if you do decide to keep deluding yourself with that six-hour sleep schedule, do yourself a favor and never bring up that fact when Matthew Walker’s in the room.

Read more about being a healthy entrepreneur on TechCo

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Adam is a writer at and has worked as a tech writer, blogger and copy editor for more than a decade. He was a Forbes Contributor on the publishing industry, for which he was named a Digital Book World 2018 award finalist. His work has appeared in publications including Popular Mechanics and IDG Connect, and his art history book on 1970s sci-fi, 'Worlds Beyond Time,' is out from Abrams Books in July 2023. In the meantime, he's hunting down the latest news on VPNs, POS systems, and the future of tech.
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