|No such thing as a small change|
Consider that an average person's sleep cycle consists of a 4 hour period. Ideally, with 8 hours you would go through 2 sleep cycles and wake up refreshed. From your post, it seems as if you get 36 to 44 hours of sleep a week. Once again, the ideal amount of sleep per week would run around 56 hours. Some of the reports that I've seen make analogous claims between lack of sleep and imbibing, which is to say that even though you feel refreshed and capable, you may in fact be in a slightly worsened condition than you expect. This supposed condition doesn't improve the longer you go on a "sleep deficit".
Now, that being said, I don't get the "recommended" 56 hours per week. Keep in mind that all of these reports cover the average person. Keep in mind that the average family has 2.3 children. And finally keep in mind that no one has ever seen this reported 0.3 human being that seems to be so common. :)
In response to your questions:
I probably get about 7 hours of sleep a night. At one point in time, I was working a graveyard shift in a computer lab every other night of the week, so I ended up sleeping on 4 hour cycles whenever time permitted. This was actually very good for my habits, and I probably got more sleep than necessary, but it didn't limit my productive time.
Nope. I suffer from occasional insomnia, but that's been very rare these days. The only way I cope is to make it through a night, work early the next day, and get home to find my way into bed immediately.
See my statements above regarding validity.
Perhaps. I don't know that life's any busier, since I don't have first hand experience of any of the halcyon days of yore. In other words, the comparison is flawed since it is completely subjective.
Not that I've noticed.
Hey, can you hook me up with some of that spice?
ALL HAIL BRAK!!!