Why do people brag about how little sleep they get? It’s called self-handicapping. It’s the same thing when people brag about not needing to study to get an ‘A’ or they don’t have to work out to stay slim. Placing yourself in a compromised position where success is less likely to happen and yet the results are better … and you hardly even tried.
Time to change our mindset about Sleep… and start bragging about what great sleep we get.
One of the benefits of being on the planet long enough is to witness the shifts in trends. Something that is “out of style’ is suddenly ‘back in style’ again . This isn’t about high waisted jeans. We are talking about SLEEP… The newest status symbol!
It wasn’t long ago that Sleep Machismo was a part of the narrative for the Sleepless Elite (also knows as having the ‘Thatcher Gene’). Those who credit lack of sleep for their success. A term coined by the Wall Street Journal, the “Sleepless Elite” include Martha Stewart, Barack Obama, Donald Trump and Nicola Tesla (who grabbed only 2-3 hours a night).
But for us regular folk, these super humans (who are equally night owl and early bird) have us feeling like we are destined to come in last at the finish line. All because we need a full night of sleep to do simple tasks like making our beds.
So we live on the side lines watching them put in a full day of work before we even open our eyes.
However, It has become painfully apparent in the epidemic of wide spread sleep deprivation that those of us trying to keep up to the sleep elite are literally killing ourselves trying .
“Contemporary work and social culture glorifies sleeplessness in the way we once glorified people who could hold their liquor.” – Dr Charles Czeisler
For years, our society embraced abbreviated sleep making poor sleep quality a standard expectation and a right of passage for those who want to succeed… personally as well as professionally. The damage is well recorded – increase in accidents and injuries, decreasing mental functions and health, cancer promoting, increase in health issues, loss in libido, increased rate of aging, weight gain and lastly… and according to a British Study , higher risk of death.
The good news is sleep is starting to be considered the secret weapon to a successful happy long life and something we should promote in ourselves and our employees…Yah for us!
‘Sleep quality drives happiness, and as we’ve seen, happiness drives success.” – Dave Asprey (of Bulletproof)
Wake Up Call
In 2016, Arianna Huffington started the welcomed sleep trend in her book “The Sleep Revolution: Transforming your Life One Night at a Time” . She wanted us to start thinking about the importance of sleep for our success. Sleeping less than 8 hours each night didn’t quite work for Huffington Post founder Arianna Huffington, who collapsed from sleep deprivation due to her 18-hour work days.
Since the incident, she has become an outspoken champion of healthy sleep practices and has pointed out that these short sleep outliers may actually have a genetic mutation that really only effects 1-3% of the population.
“Sleep Machismo,” I prefer “Braggadozio.” – Arianna Huffington
Unfortunately, out of every 20 people who have attempted to convince themselves into believing they need less than 6 hours a night, only 1 is truly a short sleeper with this mutation.
Sadly for the other 19. we become chronically sleep deprived and end up being less than happy healthy individuals.
“There aren’t nearly as many as there are people who think they’re short sleepers”,
– Daniel J. Buysse, a psychiatrist at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center and a past president of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine.
And Arianna isn’t the only example of a “I-need-a-full-night-of-sleep” success.
Mark Zuckerberg awakes at 8am or later after a solid sleep. That makes Zuckerberg a prime example of making it big without being a morning person.
Jeff Bezos avoids morning meetings to eat a healthy breakfast with his wife and kids after a solid 8 hours. “I just feel so much better all day long if I’ve had eight hours,” he said.
Microsoft founder Bill Gates likes at least 7 hours of sleep to be creative. Although he has confessed to beomg envious of ‘short sleepers’. But it seems he didn’t need the extra time and finds that time is better spent catching Zzzz.
Poor Sleep Will Make You Fat and Sad, and Then Will Kill You
For years, studies upon studies have shown how poor sleep weakens the immune system, impairs our brain functions, contributes to depression and other mood and mental disorders, as well as obesity, diabetes, cancer and an early death. People are starting to sit up and take notice.
We have a sleep issue in our country. Half of us claim to suffer from insomnia and millions of us are using prescribed sleep medication. We sleep on average one hour LESS than we did in the 1940s. Beyond the above mentioned studies that clearing demonstrate that lack of sleep wreaks havoc on our long term health and wellbeing, it also effects our here and now. Just one night of poor sleep makes us more sensitive to our own pain and this leads to a chain reaction of an inability to see beyond ourselves and relate to others. Think the miserable coworker or boss.
Ground Zero Sleep Tools
Lucky for us long sleepers, many experts have jumped on the ‘Sleep Better’ band wagon with new sleep studies and new tools that can make our sleep better and deeper. From sleep doctors, sleep hackers to pillow nurses.
It is almost as if our once natural ability to fall asleep and stay asleep has to be retaught. New sleep studies are being published with up-to-date data about the magical time of our day called “sleep”.
Beyond equipping you with the right strategies to get your proper sleep, make sure you invest in the ground zero tools you need to make sure your sleep is supportive and comfortable. Take the time to choose a proper mattress and a specialized therapeutic pillow that keeps you in proper alignment with minimal tossing and turning.
Smart Companies are Investing in their Workers’ Sleep
Google and Zappos are examples of two companies who have installed sleep pods in their offices for staff requiring a nap. The high-tech futuristic looking beds include a built-in sound system for those who like to drift off to relaxing music. Sleep experts agree that an afternoon nap (about 20 minutes) can improve performance at work without effecting our night time sleep.
Proctor and Gamble has installed lighting systems that regulate melatonin to help its staff switch off (as they should) in the evenings when they head home. This is technology that is essential to our circadian cycle.
Aetna has a sleep incentive program. For every 20 nights an Aetna employee reports sleeping at least seven hours, he or she can earn $25. Employees can connect a FitBit or similar health-tracking device to the company’s wellness program platform to have their sleep automatically tracked — or they can report their sleep each night.
AND feel free to brag about your 8+ hours of sleep.
Let the #SleepBrag be about how much sleep you got… rather than how little.
Remember that cliche advice when you were faced with a difficult decision–“Why don’t you sleep on it?”. Turns out it’s great advice.