Notes on the Prioritization of Sleep

In this day and age, it can seem like there are more problems than there are hours in the day to solve them, leading to a difficult compromise.  To compensate for the increasing demands for our time and attention, most folks today choose to sleep less and work more, sacrificing a full and refreshing night’s rest for the sake of a few-hour head start on the next day. 

Certainly, there are arguments to be made for the value of saving a few hours this way, but the importance of a full eight hour rest is held in high regard by many successful people.  In fact, Jeff Bezos, CEO of online shopping giant Amazon, takes deliberate care to get at least eight hours every single night.

As the head of one of the world’s busiest and most successful companies, Bezos maintains a fairly packed schedule at all times.  However, the business magnate never sacrifices a full night’s rest in order to keep up with his many obligations.  In a recent interview, Bezos said, “Eight hours of sleep makes a big difference for me, and I try hard to make that a priority […] For me, that's the needed amount to feel energized and excited.”  He claims that adequate rest leaves him feeling invigorated and excited about the day to come, while also allowing him to consistently make quick, informed choices.

Mostly, as any of us go through our lives, we don’t need to maximize the number of decisions we make per day. Making a small number of key decisions well is more important than making a large number of decisions. If you shortchange your sleep, you might get a couple of extra ‘productive’ hours, but that productivity might be an illusion.

Getting sufficient, quality sleep during the night also prevents what Bezos calls “decision fatigue,” where it become harder to make choices throughout the day as your store of energy dwindles.  Bezos remarks that, “Mostly, as any of us go through our lives, we don't need to maximize the number of decisions we make per day. Making a small number of key decisions well is more important than making a large number of decisions. If you shortchange your sleep, you might get a couple of extra 'productive' hours, but that productivity might be an illusion.”  Bezos’ claims are supported by science, with researchers at Harvard recently discovering a link between adequate sleep and proper leadership.  They found that the four most common leadership behaviors of high-performing teams were negatively affected by a lack of sleep.  With so many highly intelligent, successful people determined to get their full eight hours, it seems only reasonable that this “secret strategy” could work just as well for the rest of us. 


 
NOTES ON THE PRIORITIZATION OF SLEEP - REVAMPED Magazine

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Daniel Turissini is the founder of recharj, a modern meditation and power nap studio in downtown Washington, DC. recharj is the antidote to the DC grind, offering restorative and regenerative activities to harried business professionals.

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