Of course, I couldn’t say for sure that it was the change in my sleep pattern that had caused my sudden recovery from exhaustion, so I tested it by going back to eight hours a night. My original plan was to experiment with eight hours for a couple of weeks, but after the third day I was already feeling drained and weary again, so I gave up and went back to six hours, a pattern which I have continued to follow to this day. I find it easy to get out of bed, and I almost never feel tired until late in the evening.
As it turns out, not everyone needs eight hours a night to feel rested. Some need more, some less. A bit of light research on the internet turned up quite a few studies and personal accounts of people who need only four hours per night, all the way up to ten or more. I was worried that I by only sleeping six hours per night, I was depriving myself of something important, but according to the National Sleep Foundation, there are a wide variety of factors that influence how much sleep a particular person needs, and in the end, there is no magic number that fits everyone.
This really put my mind at ease. I can’t say that I won’t continue to sleep in from time to time, or that I’ll always manage to get exactly six hours per night if I feel I need more or less at a particular time. I’m just glad that I have found some flexibility from what I thought was a hard-and-fast rule, and thus I have been able to create a sleep schedule that both fits my lifestyle, and makes me feel as rested and energetic as I possibly can.