Get More Energy – Sleep Less

I’ve always said that you’ll have much more energy if you train your body to wake up naturally.

I’m not a fan of jarring your body out of sleep with a harsh, piercing, screeching sound. To snooze and do it repeatedly – I can’t imagine what that must do to your nervous system!

I’m also a believer that more sleep doesn’t necessarily equate to having more energy. The theory that you ‘need’ 8 hours sleep feels flawed to me.

I’ve been a regular sleeper, for about 34 years in fact, that makes me a kind of expert, 😆 and I can kind of say through my many years of research, that 8 hours is not an optimal amount of sleep.

As babies, obviously we require quite a bit of sleep but I think that the amount of sleep we require reduces from around the age of 25 onwards.

I rarely feel like I need 8 hours of sleep. My body usually tells me how much sleep I require. A quick example; last night I went to bed at around 2am. My body was ready to get up at around 8.10am. That was the time at which my body woke up naturally. That’s just around 6 hours after going to bed.

I could’ve woken up and been full of energy but I did that thing where I went back to sleep out of sheer laziness! 😛 (See we personal development guru’s don’t always awake get it right!) Then I had to rely on my alarm to wake me up at 9.30 (Which I do only to ensure I don’t wake up late for important engagements)

By that time I felt exhausted. I woke up groggy and feeling like I needed more sleep.

I believe it’s way more important to listen to our bodies and understand them, rather than to think squarely that we are all the same, and 8 hours should be a blanket policy for everyone.

There is much research on sleep and many people have proved, by undertaking experiments and sleeping in a biphasic or polyphasic patterns, that our bodies are much more flexible than most people realise.

The key here, is training your body into a new paradigm.


If you have a fixed pattern of living, i.e. you work a 9-5 then this may be a bit of a stretch but I still believe it’s worth trying to allow your body to awake naturally.

1. At night, it’s worth telling your body at what time you wish to wake up. Try this as an experiment. Turn away all clocks and access to anything that tells you the time.

2. Then wake up when you feel like getting up, get past the initial drowsy stage, and when you know you won’t be able to sleep again, check out what time you’ve gotten up.

A lot of the time we’ll go back to sleep because we allow ourselves to be aware of the time. If you change that habit, you’ll get your body into a pattern whereby you’re taking control, rather than a clock having control over you.

Once you mastered this you’ll be able to wake up daily without an alarm. You can still have a buzzer there as a backup. Set it for the latest possible time that you can wake up. What you’ll find is you’ll start to wake up before your alarm is due to go off.

I’ve found by doing that I tend to wake up more refreshed and relaxed. I’m sleeping much less but as a general rule I’m feeling more energised and productive.

I’m not going to lie and say I feel like I have more energy all of the time. However, generally speaking, when I listen to my body, don’t use alarms, and I allow myself to wake naturally, I find that my energy levels are higher and I am also more productive.

If this is a new concept, try this for yourself and let me know what kind of results you get.

Do you already do this? How much do you sleep a night? Do you have lots of energy or are you always tired?

35 Responses

  1. Michaela says:

    Thx for sharing this. It’s a very interesting article and it kinda highlights how less we do trust our own body. We’d rather rely on an alarm clock with an (in some cases) unpredictable battery. I don’t have fixed working hours so I’ll give your strategy a try. 🙂

  2. Stuart says:

    Amit, are you telling me that a guru such as yourself needed more sleep? 😉

    I’m kidding, really, thanks for being open with us and detailed as always. Have you been over to Steve Pavlina’s site? He’s got a lot of posts on his experiments about polyphasic and biphasic sleep, and on rising without an alarm, and generally rising earlier. Very detailed, and worth a look at 😉

    Also, my own tip, I sleep with the book that I’m reading underneath my pillow. When I think about the fact that I’m sleeping on wisdom, it makes me feel better. If the book is too bulky, then I’ll place it by the side of my bed, as long as it’s close to me.

    Seriously, this works wonders! It also means that I can grab it straight away and start reading, without getting out of bed 😉

    • Amit Sodha says:

      Hey Stuart,

      Yeah I remember I followed Steve all the way through his experiment and I even remember that a BBC presenter called Bill Turnbull tried it out too. From what I remember though Steve used to use Kitchen timers to wake him after his sleep. I’m not sure if it was the case the entire way through.

      I’ve never tried that book idea so I may give it a go. I used to sleep while listening to Tony Robbins tapes and I think that kind of had the same effect! LOL

  3. Hi Amit,
    I find that I need at minimum 7 hours sleep to feel alert and and energized the next day. I think going to bed earlier and sleeping in a completely darkened room helps me the most. Sleeping in darkness works with our melatonin production and puts us into a deeper more restorative sleep. When I do this I wake up quite refreshed. I think you’ll need more sleep if you don’t sleep well. If you sleep very deeply you’ll probably need a bit less, but I don’t agree with sleeping only 4 or 5 hours, or less than 6 hours per night. This has been proven to age the body more quickly.

    • Amit Sodha says:

      Hey Angela,

      I would by no means ever suggest sleeping less than your body requires. I think we are all unique. I’ve discovered for me that approx 6.5 hour is my optimal. Everyone is different and the key is trusting our bodies. I think once that trust is built that we no longer have to rely on means that do no serve us. You said your minimum is 7 hours, do you do that with an alarm clock or do you use the waking naturally method?

  4. David says:

    Hey Amit,
    Whether you remember or not, I am a bad sleeper, mostly because I am up all night on my computer, and not much has changed. I am getting more sleep than I use to, but still probably 5 to 6 hours at most during the week and 8 to 10 at weekends.

    I do agree waking up naturally helps. And I find sleeping with the curtains slightly open so you get the sunrise coming in helps. Just don’t let the sun get you in the face otherwise you just feel uncomfortable.

    As for sleeping, lavender helps a lot of people get to sleep, one reason to use a scent in the bedroom.

    And I don’t know about you, but sometimes when I have had a hard week, I love a lie in for as long as possible. Yes I feel more tired after it, but it feels so good…

    • Amit Sodha says:

      Hey David.

      There are times when I’ve had to push myself, for reasons sometimes out of my control. I do the same thing, I listen to my body, if I feel like I need an entire day to rest, I’ll do that, and it pays dividends because when I get up the next day I feel totally energised.

      I’ve heard mixed things about lavender, I’ve heard some people use it to stay alert. I’ve never really tried but I have have to experiment.

      Do you spend all that time on your computer productively or do you often just while away the hours with surfing?

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  5. Lisa H. says:

    Hi Amit,
    We have a newborn (2 1/2 weeks old), and I am not getting much sleep. I can relate to what you said about being jarred out of sleep with a harsh, piercing, screeching (crying in my case) sound. I probably had around hours of sleep last night. But I am not too worried, because I will take a nap later this morning.

    That being said, I agree that more sleep does not always equate to having more energy. We can make ourselves groggy by over-sleeping.

    • Amit Sodha says:

      Awwww congrats on the newborn! I don’t know how some parents do it. I’ve yet to enter the world of parenting so I don’t know how I’d cope with the sleepless nights…and the breast feeding! 😛

  6. Lilian Sam says:

    Hi !

    Well, Amit if your post is about sleeping less-being energized more , let me share briefly my experience. Ever since I know myself I have been functioning best with an 8+ hours of continuous sleep.
    As a matter of fact there is a trend in modern culture to worship workaholics who stay late overdosed with coffee/energizers.Personally I think this is one of the greatest disadvantages even harms one can do to him/herself. Sleep is undoubtedly a main regenerative component of our body’s system. It’s there for a very good reason if we must spend almost half of our life asleep.
    Individually, the best thing is, as you said, in the end of your article to listen to your body and let to its job on auto pilot. It will not fail you.

    Thank you,


  7. ja'da says:

    I’m 23 & from the time I was a little girl my mom would wake me up b/w 5 and 5:30. As I got older & had to wake myself up i’d still automatically get up around that time while my alarm was set for 6. I’m still mastering the art of getting up & staying up b/c I’m not exactly a morning person. 😀 U r absolutely right tho, on the rare occasion that I stay up instead trying to catch an extra hour, I do feel more energized & when I force myself to get up later then I feel lethargic. It’s a gross feeling. Lol but I rly feel like I dnt get enough sleep. I sleep until aroun 6 or 7 am when I’m sleeping in no matter wat time I’ve fallen asleep (with the exception being 4 or 5 am…then I’m crashing at that point. Lol)

  8. Joe Lund says:

    This is really true. True training of our body really depends on us. We have to be sensitive enough if what our body needs. We must not push our body over the limit to the point that it will stop from functioning. Sleep is an essential need of our body and we must not deprive our body from it. Study shows that lack of sleep can result to some common diseases such as hypertension and stress related issues.

    • Amit Sodha says:

      Absolutely Joe, I recently was suffering heart palpitations from poor sleep patterns but as soon as I returned back to sleeping well the palpitations went. It just goes to show that if we pay attention to what is causing our stresses or issues, they can also be easily resolved too.

  9. Michele says:

    I have never had a problem with energy but I would have a problem with crashing sometimes. I had a lot of trouble making myself go to sleep, falling asleep and often cried when the alarm went off. I never got enough sleep, and catching up on the weekends never worked.
    I eventually got an alarm clock so I could wake to a chosen song. This served to energize my wake up.
    When I quit my job a few years ago, I realized what I wanted more than anything (at that time) was to live nocturnally; with my natural rhythm. Since doing so, I fall asleep easily around the same time every morning and wake up easily around the same every afternoon.
    Being on a natural schedule allowed me to discover that I need 9 hours.

  10. nospa says:

    for the past days something has happened; i have tremendous amounts of energy and CAN NOT sleep for more than 5 hours a day total. sometimes these 5 hours are not even continuous. i am not anxious or anything like that, it seems that the body just decided to take control. feels fantastic

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