It seems that a common stereotype of entrepreneurs, and extremley successfull people, is that they never need to sleep. Well, entrepreneurs are just like everybody else, and need their sleep no matter what anybody says. However, due to the nature of the job many entrepreneurs don’t get enough sleep. This problem is magnified if you’re going to school and trying to manage your business. It seems that there just aren’t enough hours in the day.
According to the Sleep Foundation, 60% of Americans “experience a sleep problem every night or almost every night.” Even more Americans (63%) report that “their sleep needs are not being met.” Sleeplessness is such a problem that the CDC calls it “a public health epidemic.”
You need sleep. It’s a time in which a lot of important processing, restoration, and strengthening occurs. While adults need 7-9 hours of sleep per night, one-year-olds need roughly 11 to 14 hours, school-age children between 9 and 11, and teenagers between 8 and 10. ” The best sleep habits are consistent, healthy routines that allow all of us, regardless of our age, to meet our sleep needs every night, and keep on top of life’s challenges every day,” states the National Sleep Foundation.
I thought that would be interesting to look into the sleep habits of successful people, like Jeff Bezos and Warren Buffett. A lot of the time, if you find the habits that successful people do, and replicate them, then you will see success yourself. So let’s take a look at how 6 extremely successful people sleep.
Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla, Solar City and SpaceX gets 6 hours per night (1 a.m. – 7 a.m.). Whenever you think that you have too much going on in your life to sleep, look to this man. He’s running three multi-billion-dollar companies, inventing, and investing in other ventures daily. Yet he still gets at least 6 hours of sleep a night.
“I have no desire to get to work at four in the morning,” says Warren Buffett, in an interview with PBS NewsHour. “I get quite a bit of sleep. I like to sleep,” he says. “So I will usually sleep eight hours a night.” it’s worth noting that Buffett starts his morning reading, spending about 3 hours of his morning doing it.
Ben Franklin started his days at 5 a.m., waking up and asking ” What good shall I do this day?” He than “did good with his day”, and retired to bed at 10 p.m, asking himself, “What good have I done today?” Franklin wrote that his attempts to do good made him a better and happier man than he would otherwise have been.
Da Vinci followed a form of a polyphasic sleep schedule called the Uberman sleep cycle, which consists of 20-minute naps every four hours. This sleep cycle may gave him more awake time during his days, but it also could have made it difficult for him to work on long-term projects. I think this is a really interesting sleep habit, but would advise against doing it. It can’t be healthy.
Ross Andrew Paquette, worth hundreds of millions of dollers, wakes up between 9 and 9:30 a.m., and has a bit of a different opinion then Ben Franklin. “I go to bed when my ideas are exhausted, not when I am. The early morning is overdone. If your best ideas come at night, work at night. Take sleepless nights as a sign you have something worth working on, then take those sleepless nights to work on it.” I think his philosophy is great, but it doesn’t really work for students who have a set schedule.
Jeff Bezos follows the sleep schedule that I recommend for most people. He goes to sleep at 10 p.m. and wakes up at 5 a.m. Waking up early in the morning allows you to get a head start on your day, before everybody else is awake. He gets 7 hours of sleep a night, enough to be healthy, but not to the point of wasting precious time.
What should you be doing as a student?
If you’re juggling school and a business (and on top of that sports and extracurriculars), you may be staying up late out of necessity. You need to complete all the work, simple as that. Well first, I would suggest that you need to prioritize. Figure out what really matters to you, and then cut out the things that are taking way too much of your time.
You may think that skipping sleep isn’t all that bad. However, sleepleness has extremely detrimental effects to entrepreneurs. You may think that you’re accomplishing more by working a 16-hour day, but in reality you get a lot more work done if you got a full night’s sleep and only worked 8 hours. Sleep is necessary for productivity, and without it your mind wanders and you are less concentrated.
Sleep gives you 5 immediate benefits, over sleepless peers:
- You recover from distractions quicker
- You won’t feel burnt out
- Your memory will improve
- You’ll make better decisions
- You’ll make fewer mistakes
I think that the trade-off of doing 4 less hours of work at low productivity, and instead sleeping is great. The following day, you’ll be more productive, awake, and will make better decisions.
Also, you should know that it’s recommended that teens get about 10 hours of sleep a day. This figure is probably very hard to reach, I personally strive to have about 7 to 8 hours of sleep a night. However, I don’t think that you should stray very far away from 8 hours of sleep a night. It can affect growth, especially if you exercise.
Make a better decision now, and go to sleep early. I find that for students, the best sleep schedule is going to sleep at 9 through 10 at night and then waking up at 5 in the morning. This allows you to get a lot of work done before school, go to school and other obligations, and then come home and complete the work for the day. This way you can do both.
Get down an iron sleep schedule, and stick to it. You’ll be a lot better off sleeping than awake. (Also, cut out the procrastination.)