The Sleeping Habits of Successful People

The Sleeping Habits of Successful People
Success is not something one should sleep on – or so we thought. In a world where hustling seems to be the only way to reach a goal, successful celebrities have found a secret to go against the flow. Their secret: at least 6 hours of sleep.

It is not unusual to fall into a trap that says, "sleep is for the weak." After all, the ever fast-paced world is a gruelling sound of running heels, phone calls ringing, speedy cars driving past by and the brain screaming with many ideas that need to be taken note. This is the generation of grinders, of builders and of creatives, where everyone is pursuing their passions in all directions, trying to juggle different roles in one small body. It is a great but not impossible feat, and as one dream hits the priority list, a seemingly not-needed activity is chucked into the backburner. That, mostly, is sleep.

Discourse among creatives usually include the amount of snooze hours they get, and most often, it is less than three. But this, unfortunately, pulls a card against one's health, stamina and even enthusiasm. Little do we know that sleep is among the top-secret ingredients to success, for those who have reached the top of the ladder swear by it.

Among them, Microsoft founder Bill Gates, who takes in a deep sleep of 7 hours per night, hitting the sack by 12 am Similarly, Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla (who just recently launched a car in the space), sleeps similar hours - 1 am to 7 am, just the same as Barack Obama. Apple's own CEO Tim Cook shifts his sleeping clock earlier; he sleeps at 9:30 p.m. and wakes at 4:30 am. Talk show favourite Ellen DeGeneres takes her Zzzs in full eight hours, from 11 pm to 7 am, which is probably her secret to her daily arsenal of bright jokes.

While many artistic inputs tend to come at the wee hours of the day, chasing sleep seem to be more important to a handful of renowned creatives. Legendary composer Wolfgang Mozart himself takes his scheduled rest at 12 am and wakes at 6 am, just in time for him to make new music. Benjamin Franklin, who coined the famous adage, “Early to bed, early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise,” lives up to his platform – he sleeps at 10 pm and wakes up at 4 am.

The sleeping hours may differ – as some takes their snoozes earlier or longer than the others – but there's a similar trend noticeable in the list: they sleep in a good stretch of time.

Make sure you get uninterrupted sleep

Researchers at John Hopkins have discovered that there's a big difference between a long sleep and short but interrupted sleep. Lead author Patrick Finan mentions that when sleep is disrupted, one doesn't have the opportunity to go through slow-wave, restorative sleep. During their study, Finan and his team invited people in their lab to stay up late. Their sleeping hours have been reduced or interrupted throughout the night. On the second night, a pattern has been discovered: people with episodic sleep had less positive moods, lower energy levels and reduced feelings of friendliness.

Longer stretches of sleep, commonly called deep sleep, allows the body to complete all five stages of the sleep cycle, including REM. According to the National Sleep Foundation, it is during this period that the body repairs itself. As you are subconscious, your brain actively consolidates your memory, repairs the muscles and tissues, and releases the hormones.

That doesn't mean that short naps don't help. Power naps have been a popular choice even in the ancient times, where Leonardo da Vinci takes 20-minute sleeping breaks every four hours, and Thomas Edison takes 30-minute naps every three hours. This kind of sleep allows the body to lower its temperature and relax its muscles. This, however, does not make up for the restorative capabilities of having a full-length sleep.

How to sleep for success

The first step is to establish a consistent sleep schedule and stick to it. This helps signal your body clock and help you fall asleep faster and wake up healthier during the day. To help you with that, schedule a bedtime ritual: wind down by reading a book, writing on your journal, keeping away your devices, and taking a hot bath. Keep your room dark and quiet and change into your comfortable pyjamas to get you into the mood to nod-off.

Getting a good sleep is not only healthy for your body, but for your business as well. You wake up feeling rejuvenated – physically, mentally and emotionally – ready to take on the day, come what may. It is with restorative sleep that you can catch up with all the demands of the grind, and you too can achieve success, thanks to a sound body and a happier state of mind.

Jonas Diezun

Jonas is Co-Founder at RADICE. He is an avid reader, soccer player and loves hiking in the Munich mountains. He usually writes about productivity, sleep and the science behind both. He studied at in Munich and New York, and worked in Startups. His best advice for sleep? Have a fixed routine and see sleep & recreation as the most important pillar for your health. It determines everything.
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