Catching Some Z’s

Kevin on the job after a “full” nights sleep.

Originally Published March 25, 2010:

Sleep is an essential part of life. The average adult should get around 8-9 hours of sleep per night. Joe Kufta and Kevin Davis get the normal amount–if you average their sleep schedules.

On one end of the slumber spectrum is Joe Kufta, snoozing for up to 13 hours unimpeded. On the other side is Kevin Davis, averaging two and a half hours a night.

Davis has had acute insomnia since high school. When he first began sleeping less, it affected his waking hours, making him tired and irritable. But now, he has adjusted to this schedule, and is able to function normally on three hours per night. “I’d actually feel more tired if I slept for six hours than three.”

In his nocturnal hours, Kevin reads, does important work, cleans his house, and even took up painting for a little while.

On a normal night, Davis will go to sleep around midnight, and sleep until two or three in the morning. At that point, he wakes up, and starts his day. “If I don’t get to sleep by midnight, I know I’m not going to sleep that night.” For Davis, 48 hours without sleep is not unheard of.

Joe Kufta, a Junior at Pioneer High School, more than makes up for the sleep Davis misses. On any day that doesn’t demand morning activity, Kufta’s day starts around 1:30.

“When you’re young, you wake up early because there is no reason to stay up late. As you get older staying up late is necessary to get the most out of the day.”

Kufta manages to “get the most out of his day” by going to sleep around 3:00 a.m. and waking up near 2:00 in the afternoon.

He splits his time awake at night between hanging out with his friends and beating the most recent Pokémon game.

When asked if they would exchange their sleep schedule for the opposite, both Kufta and Davis replied that they like their schedule the way it is. However, there are some similarities between the two. Both sleep with their socks off, and both are trying to become less reliant on caffeine to make it through the day.

“I used to drink up to a pot of coffee every day but now I only drink a cup or two before 9:00.” Said Davis.

Kufta has gone from multiple Mountain Dews in a day to only one a day, if even that. “It really depends on what I have at my house at the time. I can go a week without drinking caffeine, it’s not really a problem.”

So which schedule is better? Who wins in this snoozing smackdown? Both shut-eye schemes have distinct advantages, depending on how you like to spend your waking hours. If you prefer to start early, a shorter sleep schedule is the answer. However, if waking up at four in the morning doesn’t appeal, then perhaps you are better suited to staying up later.