by Kathie England


How many hours did you sleep last night?

Sleep is a topic I discussed while I was blogging about Better Than Before and so today I’m sharing another reinforcement from Greg McKeown, author of Essentialism, The Disciplined Pursuit of Less.

In his blog yesterday, McKeown discussed myths about the differences between successful and very successful people. One difference is sleep.

Myth 2: Successful people sleep four hours a night.

Truth: Very successful people rest well so they can be at peak performance.

In K. Anders Ericsson’s famous study of violinists, popularized by Malcolm Gladwell as the “10,000 hour rule,” Anders found that the best violinists spent more time practicing than the merely good students. What is less well known is that the second most important factor differentiating the best violinists from the good ones was actually sleep. The best violinists averaged 8.6 hours of sleep in every 24 hour period.

Over and over my clients, especially those who have ADHD, share how challenging sleep is for them. Over and over research points out how important sleep is to our health and our cognitive functioning.

When you tell yourself that you are too busy to get enough sleep, it’s a strong indication that you are not thinking very clearly. Lack of sleep diminishes our capacity to work effectively and efficiently. For some folks it may feel counter-intuitive, but it is time to sleep when you find yourself thinking you don’t have time to sleep.

Google sleep deprivation (it has more than 7 million references). You’ll find that sleep deprivation is what happens for 97% of those who get fewer than 7 hours of sleep. The first reference that I discovered from Web MD was that sleep deprivation “significantly affects your health, performance, safety, and pocketbook.”

What more motivation do you need?