The Sleeping Hours of Successful People
There are different opinions out there on how many hours of sleep you need to get every night, when you should go to bed, and when to wake up. The National Sleep Foundation advises adults to get seven to nine hours of sleep. Deciding how to get that amount might not be that easy. If your alarm is set for 7:00 am, you can count backwards eight hours and go to sleep at 11:00 pm. But it’s not as simple as that. There are morning people, A.K.A. larks, and then there are night owls, those who are more sharp and wired at night. There are also many who fall in-between. It all depends on the circadian rhythm, “your 24-hour internal clock that regulates sleepiness, alertness, and various bodily functions.”
In his book “The Miracle Morning,” author Hal Elrod tries to convince his readers that everyone can be a morning person and wake up before dawn. He explains that affirmation and programming your subconscious mind are powerful tools. So if you have to wake up for what he refers to as a “miracle morning,” where you kick things off right, but you went to bed at 12:00 am (life happens), it’s not a certainty that you will end up grumpy. Elrod says that you just need to convince yourself that 5 hours of sleep is exactly what your body needs to recharge and wake up refreshed (yeah, right).
Bill Gates shared his sleeping insights on his blog Gates Notes: “Back in my early Microsoft days, I routinely pulled all-nighters when we had to deliver a piece of software. Once or twice, I stayed up two nights in a row.” He admitted he was obsessed with his work and thought that sleeping a lot was lazy.
But he changed his opinion since then. “Now that I’ve read Matthew Walker’s ‘Why We Sleep,’ I realize that my all-nighters, combined with almost never getting eight hours of sleep, took a big toll,” Gates continued. “Does everyone really need seven or eight hours of sleep a night? The answer is that you almost certainly do, even if you’ve convinced yourself otherwise.”
Given that Mr. Gates is an American business magnate, software developer, investor, and philanthropist, who has given away more than $45 billion through the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, I’m inclined to follow his advice.
Many people are of the opinion that every super successful executive needs to cut back on sleep to squeeze in more productivity, and wake up before dawn. This is the way to get things done. Grrr! Productivity!
Jeff Bezoz argues that this is a misconception. He told Thrive Global: “If you shortchange your sleep, you might get a couple of extra ‘productive’ hours, but that productivity might be an illusion. When you’re talking about decisions and interactions, quality is usually more important than quantity.”
It’s not just about being awake. It’s about being fully present and in a capable headspace.
Bezos said, “Eight hours of sleep makes a big difference for me, and I try hard to make that a priority. For me, that’s the needed amount to feel energized and excited.”
Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg also spoke about her experiences with Thrive Global.
“When I get a good night’s sleep, whatever the challenges are, I can keep it in check and handle it,” she said. “When I don’t get a good night’s sleep, those same challenges feel really hard and I don’t do as well. I make mistakes, I get more upset, I don’t handle things as well as I do when I get a good night of sleep.”
If Mark Zuckerberg is even a little bit like the depiction of him in “The Social Network,” then I can see why a sleep-deprived Sheryl Sandberg might get snappy with him!
Even though other people, like Elon Musk, are all about the rise and grind, many other successful and productive people seem to get it: sleep is important. Sleeping enough is crucial. Stop burning the midnight oil. As I suggested in another LittlePinkTop.com article: Girl, go to bed