Why We Need to Sleep

The conversation around sleep is changing

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It isn’t rare to open Snapchat in the morning and see stories filled with pictures in the library with timestamps at 2 and even 4 AM. They’re captioned “Exhausted” or “Love finals week.” The next picture is generally a picture of a coffee in hand, later in the morning. It’s common among high school students and entrepreneurs too. And it’s not even our faults, really. Somehow society has drilled into us the idea that the lack of sleep, or the grind, is a sign of strength.

The world is shifting though, and sleep deprivation is becoming a major red flag instead of a status symbol, representative of how hard you work. A major reason is the way it’s been embraced by sports and athletes. Most teams have a sleep specialist and players are required to wear sleep trackers every night. Tom Brady, the New England Patriots quarterback and a 5 time Super Bowl Champion goes to bed at 8:30 PM every night. Michael Phelps, the World’s best swimmer, considers sleep a vital part of his training and tracks it as closely as he does his swim times. The year before the Rio Olympics he averaged about 7 and a half hours of sleep per night.

Despite his packed schedule, the CEO of Amazon, Jeff Bezos, tries to get 8 hours of sleep per night. He told the Wall Street Journal that he “just (feels) so much better if (he’s) had eight hours.” His success shows that an entrepreneur can still become successful without sacrificing sleep in order to work constantly.

In fact, the productivity we believe we get out of staying up a few more hours may actually be an illusion as our work suffers when we’re sleep deprived. It’s why there’s more and more conversation over moving school start times back and the impact that an all-nighter has is being talked about more and more.

For most people, foregoing sleep doesn’t pay off. So sleep. It’s so good for us.

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