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To sleep or not to sleep


Often one common theme in the story of successful people is that they have sacrificed sleep for success, that they have either gone without a full night’s sleep or even skipped sleep on a regular basis throughout their career to get to where they are, this runs counter to much of what we hear about the need for sleep. There are literally thousands of studies that state that not getting the prescribed six to seven hours of sleep each night is bad for us, yet there is an obvious paradox.

How can the most successful people get away with not sleeping or not sleeping enough? Why does their obvious success clash with everything we know about sleep?

The answer would appear to be that there is a wide variation of sleep tolerance across humanity and that what would break some people is no problem for others. Some people can handle operating on only an hour or two a night with absolutely no consequences while others will suffer both physically and cognitively if they are denied their full night’s sleep.

The reason scientists give the six to seven hours is that they are giving an average across the population not a hard and fast absolute.

The answer then is: if you can handle it.

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