Over on The New York Times, Tony Schwartz explains how getting more sleep can be a competitive advantage, and why you need more of it, even if you don’t realize you do:
Too many of us continue to live by the durable myth that one less hour of sleep gives us one more hour of productivity. In reality, each hour less of sleep not only leaves us feeling more fatigued, but also takes a pernicious toll on our cognitive capacity. The more consecutive hours we are awake and the fewer we sleep at night, the less alert, focused and efficient we become, and the lower the quality of our work.
The most powerful short-term solution for insufficient sleep isn’t caffeine or sugar. It’s a brief nap.
While some of us might be able to get away with just a few hours of sleep each night, an overwhelming amount of research shows that the wide majority need seven to eight hours of sleep to feel rested.
Without those much-needed hours of sleep, our mental alertness falters and our ability to focus or stay in a state of flow is hindered. One of the worst parts, as Schwartz explains, is that we often fall into a state of denial about just how much sleep we need. Schwartz echoes Harvard sleep expert Charles A. Czeisler who writes: “A person who is sleep deprived has no idea how functionally impaired he or she truly is. Most of us have forgotten what it really feels like to be awake.”
Whether you think you do or not, getting a little bit more sleep every day can help you accomplish more. Read all of Schwartz’s insights on sleep and its advantages right here.