If you research the daily habits of successful individuals, you are bound to discover stories about people thriving on just four or five hours of sleep each night. So, does this mean that less sleep equals more success? Probably not.
While it’s true that some people don’t need as must sleep as most of us, only five out of the 100 people who think that they only need five to six hours are actually correct. This means that there are quite a few sleep deprived people out there. Since sleep depravation causes you to be less productive, and can also lead to a host of health problems, such as high blood pressure, diabetes and increased accident risk, this is a dangerous proposition.
A few notable people, however, developed odd sleeping habits in their careers.
Sleep Habits of Highly Successful People
- Former British prime minister Winston Churchill is said to have kept an extraordinarily irregular schedule. Taking two-hour naps was part of his regular schedule, and he believed that this was a key to his success. He reportedly packed so much into a day that he would often hold War Cabinet meetings while bathing.
- Leonardo Da Vinci is thought to have taken this concept a step further, sleeping 20 minutes every four hours. This concept of biphasic, or multiphasic sleeping, is not recommended by experts because of the disruption to one’s circadian rhythms.
- Marissa Mayer, Yahoo’s CEO is reported to have clocked up to 130 hours per week while working for Google. This led to her sleeping at her desk and strategically planning out her down-time. It’s reported that she took a week-long vacation every four months to catch up on her sleep.
- Household expert and businesswoman Martha Stewart put in some serious hours to achieve her success. She admits to setting sleep aside to focus on her career efforts. Even Stewart cites putting off sleep as one of her worst personal habits.
- As Britain’s first woman prime minister, Margaret Thatcher understood that she was in the public spotlight. She slept only four hours a night on weekdays, catching up on her sleep on the weekends. This actually caused problems for her successor, John Major, as the civil service became so accustomed to having a prime minister who never slept!
- Thomas Edison struggled with the concept of sleep throughout his lifetime. Known to sleep just three hours a night, he did sometimes take brief daytime naps. His 72 hour work cycles led to some of the world’s greatest inventions, but his sleep patterns were downright dangerous.
Famous and successful figures across time, from Sigmund Freud to Benjamin Franklin, are touted for their early rising patterns and unusual sleep patterns. This might have worked for them, but for most, skipping sleep is no success strategy.
Sleeping for Your Own Success
While it’s true that some people require less sleep, lack of sleep is generally riddled with serious consequences. Developing unusual sleep patterns might work in the short term, but the consequences will undoubtedly catch up with you.
Researchers believe that sleep does more than rest the body and mind, it also enhances creativity and spurs on new ideas. There are several sleep habits that you should incorporate to enhance your own success.
- Set a bedtime and stick with your routine. This maintains your body’s internal clock and regulates your sleep schedule.
- Keep your bedroom cool – 65 to 68 degrees is the ideal temperature for a restful night’s sleep.
- Keep noise under control. If your room is not silent, try a white noise machine, which creates a masking effect, blocking out annoying noise.
- Keep evening caffeine intake to a minimum. Caffeine is known to disrupt sleep and should be avoided, especially after lunchtime.
- Put your electronic devices away. This includes your TV, computers and cell phone. These can disrupt your sleep. Keeping your bedroom free of distractions will make it easier to fall, and stay, asleep each night.
- Address any sleeping concerns. If you snore, or frequently wake up feeling a choking sensation, you could be suffering from sleep apnea, a dangerous health condition that causes pauses in breathing that significantly disrupt your sleep. If you think you might have sleep apnea, take our snore quiz to rate the severity of your symptoms.
Though some of the world’s most successful people developed strange sleeping habits, the vast majority of successful individuals understand the value of a good night’s sleep. If you find yourself struggling to get sleep at night, this is not something that you have to live with.
A board-certified otolaryngologist from eos sleep can help you get to the root of your sleep problem and develop a personalized treatment plan. Contact us today to schedule an appointment and start sleeping for your own success.