If you think sleep is a luxury for people with nothing to do, this article is for you.
In our society today, sleep has become equated with the lazy and we view those who can function with 4 or less hours of sleep as superheroes or hard workers deserving a badge of honor. I used to think the same way. In college, I always touted the fact that I pulled frequent all-nighters but was yet still able to survive. The ability to function with little sleep was a desired trait.
How wrong I was...like my Econ 101 professor always said, "There is no such thing as a free lunch." It is not possible to be sleep deprived and perform at your best. In The Power of Full Engagement, Jim Loehr and Tony Schwartz found that the difference between the top performing athletes and the mediocre ones was that the best knew how to rest effectively. Just take a look at your own experience and think back to the days you had ample sleep versus the days you didn't. I have yet to meet anyone that told me they performed better with less sleep than with more.
I know what you're thinking ... how am I going to find the time to sleep 7-8 hours daily and still do everything that I want to do. This is a question that I struggled with myself. I have so many things to do and so little time but through the tracking of my daily tasks and hours of sleep, I have found that I get more things done in a week where I have enough sleep versus a week when I am sleep deprived. It is true that I may get more things done on the day I sleep only a few hours but I am a lot less productive the next couple of days.
This is when I decided that it is more productive to sleep and that sleeping is actually one of the key factors to success and healthy lifestyle. I am now averaging over 7 hours of sleep and getting more done than ever. What helped me let go of the opportunity cost of sleeping was to make ample rest one of the goals I want to achieve. Once I put sleep on my to-do list, I didn't treat it as something I can put off in the name of completing my goals. As with my other goals, I track it daily to make sure I am aware of it even on my busiest days.
I think we have all experienced the benefits of sleep. If you haven't, check out this article: The Three Reasons Why You Should Sleep More.
So if you're reading this late at night, GET SOME SLEEP. It'll do wonders for your life and your complexion.
Robert Chen is the founder of Embrace Possibility and author of The Dreams to Reality Fieldbook. He helps people who feel stuck move forward by guiding them to see other possibilities for their lives. He specializes in working with high performers get to the next level. If you're going through a tough time right now, check out Robert's article on How to Feel Better Right Away and if you're having trouble getting what you want out of life, check out How to Always Achieve Your Goals.