Donald Trump said that he only sleeps 3 to 4 hours per night. UFC President Dana White said, “My life is so good, I don’t want to waste any minute of it sleeping. I hate sleeping.” Music mogul Ditty professed to working 20 hour days when making his hit records. These, along with many more wildly successful individuals, get the minimum amount of sleep their body needs, in order to maximize the amount of time they get to build on their success.
We all get the same amount of time in a day. That’s exactly 24 hours. Yet some people accomplish more in that amount of time than most. This deals with proper time management. Part of that boils down to figuring out how much sleep your body actually needs to function properly.
Many of us love hitting that snooze button a hundred times before finally waking up. We cherish and guard our sleep time like nothing else; for good reason. We need to sleep in order to survive and function as contributing members of society. But do you get too much sleep? Is the amount of sleep you’re getting hindering your success?
The popular dogma passed through the years states that we all need 8 hours of sleep. A six year study that was done by the University of California on sleep amount and how it correlates with length of life, shows that it’s not the case. In fact, they uncovered that people who get 8 hours or more sleep per night tend to live shorter lives than people who get an average of 6 – 7 hours of sleep. But don’t get too carried away, people who slept for 4 hours or less per night didn’t fare so well either.
Of course, the human body varies from one person to another. We all live different lifestyles, eating habits, and stress levels we deal with on a daily basis. Some people just may not require as much sleep as others.
I found that when I get about 6 hours of sleep per night, I function at an optimal level. Any less than that; I start to over eat, get really absent minded, and lose focus. In order to find out how much sleep I needed, I performed a couple of experiments. For 21 days (I generally use this number, because it takes this long for the body and mind to form any habit.), I tried getting by on 5 hours of sleep. Those 21 days didn’t go so well. So the next 21 days I decided that I would get an average of 6 hours sleep per night. This was my sweet spot and I stuck with it for the last 5 years.
In order to make this work, you will need to create the habit of waking up without using the snooze button. Studies found that the hitting snooze contributes to feeling more tired through the day.
The method I found that works best for me is to practice waking up without using the snooze. This process takes roughly an hour to do, and worth the effort. Do this mid-day on a weekend or whenever you get the day off.
1. Set your alarm for 2 minutes ahead. Lie in bed and wait for it to go off.
2. Once it does go off, get out of bed and turn the alarm off.
3. Immediately do the first activity you usually do upon waking. For me it’s brushing my teeth, so I walk to the restroom and pick up my toothbrush.
4. Repeat the above 20 more times.
By the time you get through with this exercise you’ll embed it in your subconscious enough to do this action while you’re still in your pre-caffeine zombie state.
With less you get more done in the day than most. You’ll own a competitive advantage to anyone that still follows the old 8 hour rule. Plus, you get the added benefit of living longer. It’s a win-win!