The benefits of a good-night’s sleep are well-understood at this point, yet more than half of Americans don’t get the recommended 7-9 hours of sleep per night.
Which begs the question, what are the highly successful doing for sleep? Are they in the half that are sleeping well, or are they in the half that don’t get enough sleep.
As you’d expect, it’s a bit of a mixed bag, with Nikola Tesla only having slept two hours at a time, Marissa Meyer of Yahoo! frequently clocking 130 working hours per week (with a weeklong vacation every few months to catch up), and President Obama averaging 6 hours per night.
But, it seems that the smart money is still on getting a good night’s sleep. Highly successful people who value sleep include Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, former Microsoft CEO and Gates Foundation co-founder Bill Gates, investor Warren Buffet, Huffington Post founder Arianna Huffington, the Dalai Lama, and entertainers Jessica Alba, Cameron Diaz, Ellen Degeneres, Halle Berry, and Matthew McConaughey. I don’t know about you, but I’d be OK being on that list!
5 Smart Sleep Habits to Start Tonight
- Sleep in a dark, cool room. A dark room helps the body produce the sleep hormone, melatonin, so you’ll fall asleep more quickly and stay asleep longer. And set your programmable thermostat to take your room down to 60-67 degrees for ideal sleeping.
- Avoid electronics before bed. The blue light from our backlit electronics suppresses the melatonin that helps us sleep. If the idea of getting offline 30-60 minutes before bed makes you twitchy, then install a blue-blocker like f.lux to help mitigate the light’s effect.
- Keep a consistent schedule. While Marissa Meyers’ plan of catching up every few months may seem like a good idea, it actually wreaks havoc on the body. The body and brain like to predict, and a consistent schedule will help you sleep longer and better.
- Take a hot bath or shower before bed. Body temps fall near bedtime, and when you get out of the bath or shower your body temp will automatically fall, helping signal to the brain that it’s time to sleep.
- Engage in bedtime meditation. Your mind is spinning and your body is tense. By meditating, counting sheep, or focusing on your breathing, your brain won’t be able to focus on this activity AND the events from the day.
By engaging in these smart sleep habits you’ll start falling asleep faster and experiencing higher quality sleep. From there, higher levels of success are just around the corner as yourlearning and memory improves, your physical health improves, mood improves, decision making improves, and stress levels go down.