10 Nov Snoozing for success: Why being well-rested is the best career choice you can make
When you read about successful people, you often come across nuggets of information about how many hours they slept. Margaret Thatcher, Thomas Edison, and Winston Churchill are just some of those famous for only getting a few hours each night, and each was considered very accomplished in their field. But is getting less sleep a recipe for success?
With Global Entrepreneurship Week taking place from the 13–19th November, we thought it would be a good idea to investigate exactly how much sleep you need if you’re targeting success in your job. Let’s take a closer look.
The importance of sleep for success
Leading a successful lifestyle and healthy sleep are very closely intertwined. After a good night’s rest, you’re likely to be more productive, creative, and less stressed during your working day, which puts you in the best position to achieve more. On the other hand, it’s been found that less sleep can leave you distracted and prone to errors, which won’t do much for you if you’re aiming for success.
There’s a lot of science to back this up: one medical study found that sleep-deprived surgeons made 20–30% more errors, while research from the University of Pennsylvania proved that you’re much more likely to become distracted when you haven’t had much rest. Taking these findings into account, it’s hard to recommend skipping sleep to fit more into your schedule.
So, are the Bransons, Edisons, and Churchills of the world doing things wrong? Not necessarily. Research by the University of California has found that around 1% of people are what has become known as short-sleepers, who can get by with just a couple of hours’ shut-eye. What’s more, a 2009 study managed to pinpoint a certain genetic mutation that left people requiring less sleep than others, which may go some way towards explaining the phenomenon.
Sleeping habits for success
Even though we hear a lot about super-successful people surviving on less sleep, it’s important to remember that they are a tiny minority. There are plenty of billionaires and innovators who get the recommended seven or more hours each night — just ask Tim Cook (Apple CEO), Bill Gates (Microsoft co-founder), and Jack Dorsey (Twitter co-founder).
If you’re going to try to sleep your way to success, they are the examples that you should look to emulate. With this in mind, here are our sleep tips for getting ahead of the game at work.
Work near a window
Though it may seem far removed from getting a good night’s sleep, spending your day near a window can have a positive effect on your rest. This article from Tuck discusses how natural light through the day can help to keep your circadian rhythm in check because your body recognises the contrast between light and dark when evening rolls around. This should make it much easier to nod off when you plan to go to bed.
No electronics before bed
Even though you may be tempted to check your emails before sleep or work right up to bedtime, you should give yourself an hour or so away from electronic devices and screens. This is because the blue light that these devices emit trigger your brain to remain alert, which isn’t helpful when you’re trying to drift off.
Reading a book is a great way to keep yourself entertained without keeping your mind all wired up — you can even get stuck into the latest economic bestseller or industry magazine if you want to stay work-focused.
Make your bedroom a sleep haven
You can prepare for a good night’s sleep by making your bedroom a sleep haven. By this we mean no distractions, no light, and a really comfy bed. Blackout blinds are always a good option for your windows, though you can replicate this darkness with a good sleep mask. Don’t forget you need a comfortable and supportive mattress so you don’t toss and turn with aches and pains. We can certainly help out in this regard with one of our award-winning Dormeo memory foam mattresses.
Take a nap
If you know that you are going to be working late or you feel like you’re flagging in the afternoon, a nap is a great way of recharging your batteries and getting some much-needed rest. This article from the BBC takes a look at the perks of a power nap and also provides some top tips for fitting one in at work. If you’re the boss, you shouldn’t have much of a problem, but if you’re not, you may have to kick off a discussion about the benefits with your company.
That wraps up our investigation into how sleep is linked to career success. Take our advice on board and you will be more productive and creative throughout the working day. If you have any questions or would like help kitting out your bedroom, then get in touch. Our blog and advice centre are also great places to get extra information.