Most people agree that the amount of sleep you get at night is not necessarily related to how rested you feel the following day. Being anxious about something could make it more difficult to fall asleep and make you wake up even without an alarm clock. I usually experience this when I have a flight to catch the following morning.
Sleep can be quite counterintuitive.
During this 62 days of my project I’ve slept on average 1½ hours less per night than I used to sleep before. I have set an alarm clock on about half-a-dozen times during this time period. The funny thing is that I have woken up before the alarm every time. Working long days could also have the opposite effect.
It seems I need less sleep when I’m doing things that I like to do.
Dustin Curtis has experimented with his own need of sleep in his blog entry How to Hack your Brain, Part 1: Sleep. This is quite interesting stuff. Curtis argues that one can manage with just a few quick naps during the day, provided that the naps are regular enough. If this is indeed possible, we should ask ourselves:
Why waste time sleeping if you can stay awake and do anything?
But I think this is the wrong question. I’ve always been a huge advocate of daytime naps but timing your naps sounds outright wrong. However, the opposite is quite tempting:
Forget the alarm clocks and start sleeping whenever you feel like it.
Already that would completely change the way people behave in our society. Just think of the amount of stress that would reduce.