What’s the key ingredient to having a productive day? Starting to prepare the night before. You can’t tackle a busy day effectively when you’re running on zero energy. Your body needs sleep to function so prioritizing a nighttime routine that sets you up for success the next day is essential.
In order to prepare for sleep, The National Sleep Foundation recommends seven-to-nine hours for adults 26-64.
But the truth is, a lot of people aren’t getting enough sleep. 1 in 3 people report not getting the recommended hours of sleep each night. While there are plenty of reasons why people aren’t sleeping – including busy schedules, family, anxiety, and medical conditions – you should try to get your recommended sleep in order to live a longer, more productive life.
How Sleep Impacts Personal and Professional Success
Sleep helps our body form new memories, improves our ability to learn, restores neural connections and helps us react better in decision making and social situations. All of these benefits are crucial to living a successful life, especially while on the job.
Studies have shown that sleep also enhances creativity, especially REM sleep. Drowsiness and fatigue make it harder for your brain to connect ideas together and come up with solutions, whereas a good night’s sleep can make you a better decision maker and problem solver. People look to their leaders to make quick decisions on the go, so having a brain that is functioning at a high capacity is essential in order to be taken seriously at work.
Sleep also reduces the likelihood of errors on the job. Studies show that drowsiness can impair driver’s abilities as much as drinking and driving. Medical professionals, pilots, and more are all prone to more serious errors when functioning on a lack of sleep.
Successful People and Their Sleep Habits
Getting a good night’s sleep doesn’t mean you necessarily need to hit the hay by 9 p.m. Take it from some of the world’s most successful people – as long as you prioritize sleep in your evening routine, you can wake up feeling refreshed and ready to conquer the day.
Oprah Winfrey: Oprah believes in a healthy sleep schedule that has her in bed around 10 p.m. each night. She is naturally a morning person, waking up around 6 a.m. She practices gratitude journaling at night before she sleeps to get her ready for bed and feeling thankful.
Bill Gates: While Bill Gates does see the fun in staying up all night, according to an interview he did with The Seattle Times, he makes sure to get the recommended 7 hours of sleep before a productive day. He retires around midnight and wakes up around 7 a.m.
Arianna Huffington: The Huffington Post founder Arianna Huffington suffered an illness from lack of sleep, so now she is committed to getting 8 hours of shut eye a night. She even wrote a book called The Sleep Revolution about how critical sleep is to achieving our goals.
Anna Wintour: Vogue editor Anna Wintour is early to bed and early to rise. She has a 10 p.m. bedtime that sets her up for success the next morning, allowing her to wake up around 5 a.m. and play tennis before she heads into work.
Barack Obama: Former U.S. President Barack Obama is a renowned night owl, yet he still managed to clock six hours of sleep while he was running the country. When asked how much he sleeps each night, he admitted to The Huffington Post “probably not enough.”
Other Ways Sleep Can Affect You
Studies have found a direct link between short sleep and premature death, so your lack of sleep could literally be killing you. Other reasons to get a good night’s sleep include:
Reduce chronic illness: At least 10 chronic health conditions have been linked to sleeping less than 7 hours a night.
Cut down on stress: Sleeping less than 8 hours can increase stress by 21% and bring stress-related health problems.
Improve your body’s healing abilities: Quality sleep can help physical wounds heal 16% faster.
Get ahead of sleep apnea: 24% of men and 9% of women suffer from a form of sleep apnea, which has been shown to lower life expectancy.
Fight neuroticism: Sleep can help combat a high level of neuroticism, resulting in a longer life.
Restore cognitive functions: Sleeping less than 6 hours per night can result in a cognitive deficit equal to 2 nights without sleep.
Prevent heart-related problems: Sleeping 7-8 hours a night can reduce the risk of heart-related illnesses.
Avoid poor decision making: 26% of adults report insufficient sleep and have a higher risk of making poor decisions. Learn more about decision fatigue.
Curb snacking and prevent obesity: Sleeping 7-8 hours reduces your chances of obesity and night snacking.
Reduce the risk of drinking: Men who sleep too little face an increased risk of heavy drinking.
6 Tips to Help You Sleep Longer
While you may not be able to get a full seven to nine hours of sleep every night, making sleep a priority in your nighttime routine will help you live longer and be more successful. Here are some tips to help you get the right amount of shut-eye each night:
- Kill the lights: Blue lights from electronic devices delay melatonin 2x, which generally harms your quality of sleep. We recommend powering down your devices at least 2 hours before bedtime.
- Limit your water: Your goal should be to sleep through the night. Avoid water 3 hours before bed to avoid mid-sleep bathroom trips.
- Nap early (or not at all): Napping too close to bed can make it harder to fall asleep, or reduce your quality of sleep. If you do need a nap, do it earlier in the day and remember that the perfect nap is only 27 minutes long.
- Avoid alcohol before bed: Alcohol may make you feel drowsy, but it makes REM sleep harder to achieve.
- Take deep breaths: Meditation or yoga can help you fall asleep easier and actively combat insomnia.
- Go to bed at the same time: Since roughly 40% of our actions are out of habit, you should create a bedtime routine to make sleep come easier each night.
Please include attribution to HelloBestow.com with this graphic.
Karlyn is a writer who specializes in wellness and insurance spaces. She believes the best ingredient for success is getting a great night’s sleep the night before