Is More Sleep the Secret to Success?
Getting more sleep isn’t the first thing most people think of when trying to achieve their goals. There seems to be a common idea that less sleep is associated with more success. We tend to romanticize the idea of ‘staying up late and not sleeping’ when working on projects, when preparing for finals, when getting ready for an event or a major pitch, etc. We also see a lot of social media posts about famous people who used to sleep for just a scant few hours a night.
And all of this could very well give us the idea that sleeping longer hours is worse for your goals than sleeping fewer. After all, fewer hours spent asleep means more hours getting things done, right?
Well, that isn’t really true. And yes, while some people have made their fortunes on little to no sleep in the past, these do not represent the greatest percentage of successful individuals.
So what is the answer? Does getting more sleep help us to be more successful, or does it actually waste more time?
Here is what you need to know.
What Is Success, Anyway?
Many famous people have defined success in different ways. John Wooden, who is one of the most famous college basketball coaches in history, said that ‘success is peace of mind, which is a direct result of self satisfaction in knowing you did your best to become the best you are capable of becoming.’
Maya Angelou defined success as ‘liking yourself, liking what you do, and liking how you do it.’
And Winston Churchill, one of the most famous politicians in modern history, was quoted as saying that success is ‘going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm.’
But how does sleep fit into all of this?
The Truth About Sleep and Success
Without seven to nine hours of quality sleep per night, our bodies begin to suffer from ‘glitches’ that we could otherwise avoid. Our logical reasoning, attention, mood, and the ability to function begin to break down. And to make matters worse, our mental/emotional health may also begin to suffer as well.
Sleep deprivation has long been associated with anxiety, depression, and even paranoia. In fact, researchers believe that our quality of sleep may be directly related to our risk of Alzheimer’s disease later on in life.
So is it really true that more successful people get less sleep?
As it turns out, this is more of a myth than anything.
Yes, successful people know how to make the most of their time. But most of the more successful people in the world prioritize a good night’s sleep above many other things. According to one assessment, which included information about more than 35,000 leaders, it was discovered that the more ‘senior’ a person’s role was, the more sleep they tended to get.
It was also discovered that leaders who became more sleep deprived were less inspiring, and that their leadership abilities were less effective when they chose to stay up late instead of going to bed early.
And many of these high-profile leaders spoke out about the benefits of sleep, saying that getting adequate sleep was a key to their own success.
Making More Sleep a Priority
Thankfully, more and more, professionals, managers, executives, and ambitious entrepreneurs have begun to turn away from the rumor that ‘subsisting on less sleep makes you more impressive,’ and are opting, instead, to focus on their health and wellness before their business or schooling.
And this seems to be having a positive impact.
Managers are even beginning to question the merits of different types of shift work, as it has come to light in more recent times that productivity remains higher when humans are allowed to maintain a more consistent sleep/wake schedule.
Yes… as it turns out, sleep is incredibly important to success—and if you want to succeed, prioritizing it may be even more important than most of us ever imagined.