When people achieve a certain level of success that most think is far-fetched and sacrificial on our lives, we first think how little they sleep. But the reality is the complete opposite. While there is no direct correlation between how much you sleep and how successful you are, sleep does dictate a lot of factors. This is because a good lifestyle not only leads to more success in any endeavors you take but more health as well. If you are looking to copy some of the sleeping patterns, it is just as important to understand how your waking patterns ascertain your sleeping patterns.
However, since we’re going to be talking more about sleep and an overall healthy lifestyle, it is up to you to not fall back and keep them consistent. Sooner or later, with the right spark and these healthy habits, you could be one of those successful people to talk about and follow. Apart from the lifestyle factors that directly or indirectly play in with our success and health, science also backs up majority of these routine factors.
Here are the sleep routines of highly successful people in their own words:
Jeff Bezos (CEO of Amazon):
Jeff Bezos is one of those people who insist on quality sleep time and a well-flowing day. According to Jeff, “I go to bed early, I get up early”. This shows how important it is to sleep and wake up on time to develop a healthy sleeping routine. Moreover, Jess Bezos also plans his days ahead and starts his mornings with some calm family time. In his own words, “I like to putter in the mornings”. Jeff also explains the importance of a morning with a good start, “I like to read the newspaper, I like to have coffee, I like to have breakfast with my kids before they go to school. My puttering time is very important to me”. When it comes to business decisions, and planning his workdays in advance, Jeff Bezos also stresses on the importance of some well-planned days, “I set my first meeting for 10 a.m.,” and he explains, ““I like to do my high IQ meetings before lunch, like anything that’s going to be really mentally challenging, that’s a 10:00 a.m. meeting”. Bezos also makes sure not to let important decision making get in the way of his sleep and vice versa, “By 5:00 p.m., I’m like ‘I can’t think about this today, let’s try that again tomorrow at 10:00 a.m.”
Barack Obama (Former President of the USA):
Barack Obama sleeps only about 6 hours a day between 1 AM and 7 AM. However, he stresses the importance of quality sleep and how a good sleeping schedule helps you wake up and sleep on time. He also makes sure that there is a proper balance of healthy working out, playing time, and eating with his friends and family. Obama focuses on making sure that his body is well-tuned and calm enough for sleeping uninterrupted. That is, some light snacking or dinner with his friends and family, “When you have dinner with your daughters ― particularly teenage daughters ― they’ll keep you in your place, and they’ll teach you something about perspective”. But when it comes to work-sleep balance, this is what Obama had to say, “I’ll probably read briefing papers or do paperwork or write stuff until about 11:30 p.m., and then I usually have about a half-hour to read before I go to bed, about midnight, 12:30 a.m., sometimes a little later.”
Grant Cardone (American author and Entrepreneur):
Grant swears by his bedtime habits and it shows in his daily routine as well. Grant Cardone focuses on the importance of having your goals, sleep, and everything else in life, in tune for a better sleeping and waking routine. He says, “While your morning routine sets the tone for your day, your night routine sets the stage for your morning. I spend time with my wife and kids, and if I watch TV, I avoid negative programs. I create a battle plan for the next day and write down my goals, including long-term targets that get me excited.”
Grant also focuses on the importance of visualizing and unwinding before sleep to feel motivated and grateful the next day. As an entrepreneur and real estate Moghul, Grant manages a lot of work and still look forward to more and plan his days well. As per Grant, “when I lived in Houston years ago, I’d write that I lived in a beautiful house in La Jolla, California, overlooking the beach. A few years later, I made that a reality. Your bedtime routine should help you stay focused on what you want in life. Focusing on your dreams will also help you sleep better and inspire you to tackle the next day bright and early.”
Jack Dorsey (CEO of Twitter):
The CEO of Twitter, Jack Dorsey has a rather unusual pattern of sleeping and general lifestyle. His life philosophy and patterns follow the ancient philosophy of stoicism. What it means is to be self-sufficient and grateful for what you have, and practices a variety of questionable lifestyle practices. However, there are some parts of his day and specifically sleeping patterns that you can try out. Dorsey says, ““If I keep to a consistent schedule of sleep, I get higher scores on REM and I get much deeper sleep as well”. He focuses on improving his sleep quality by making sure that he has a strict sleep schedule and measures his REM with an external ring, to measure his sleep. Jack also stresses how important it is to get REM sleep by explaining that REM cycle sleep, “stimulates regions of the brain that are used for learning”. And if you believe journaling as a tool to unwind and look back, even Dorsey says that “I try to do that every single day, usually when I’m wrapping up the day.”
People who tend to be more successful in their fields have their own different lifestyles and sleep patterns. This basically relies on the requirement of your sleep and physical exertion in general. For example, a much more physically active person may need and adjust to different although strict sleep patterns, however, the basics remain the sleep. Someone with intense physical labor throughout the day might need more sleep and different diet patterns than say someone who’s sitting in front of the computer with working out in spells. You can still emulate some of the best habits and sleeping patterns of highly successful people.
Factors and habits to integrate in your life that is common in highly successful people:
Adjusting your sleep and body clock: The most important and beneficial thing to do is look after your sleep schedule and body clock before anything else. That is, adjusting the way and when of when you eat and sleep during the day. A power nap is different than going for REM sleep during the day/afternoon time.
The best way to fix your body clock and train your body for a healthy sleeping and waking lifestyle is to change how and when you eat. That is, afternoon naps are a strict no and keeping your body active throughout the day is essential. Although staying awake after lunch is a challenge for most people, you should stick to a maximum of 15-minute power nap. Eating light and working out during the day can also help you in staying energetic instead of sleepy during the day.
Another thing is to keep your workout and energy demanding activities like your work or any chores for the day time only. Not only do you feel relaxed after getting the difficult tasks out of your way, but you’re able to focus better throughout the day and live in the moment. This helps you in setting a schedule or tuning your body clock to eat and be active during the day and relax and unwind during the night. If you’re working rotational shifts, perhaps you need to make lifestyle and job changes, to make sure that you focus on your health and sleep before chasing success.
Also working out intensively apart from stretching or walking before sleep is something you should keep away from. Although it may seem like it would tire you out physically, but it activates your brain into an alert state and it can be difficult to sleep later on. Mild snacking, reading and anything light or low energy is perfect for the night as your brain gets the signal to relax after a tiring day and you can sleep a continuous REM sleep.
Unwind: Just as you are beginning to settle in for the night, as per your body clock it is time to unwind. If you go to bed in a state of high energy after an intense workout or with a lot of work-based decisions or even house chores for that matter, you’re losing out on valuable sleep. This is because right before sleep, your mind needs a sense of low-alertness or low activity for the melatonin hormone to work its magic. Activities like meditation, journaling, or reading (on a physical or e-ink) books can help you relax and focus on the things you enjoyed and relax. It is best to keep away from any screen or high energy activities like action movies or gaming right before you sleep. Take a chance to unwind, relax and look back and plan ahead for your next day, especially for the last hour of your day.
Diet planning: If you tend to wake up in between your sleep more often for some midnight snacks, or somnambulistic sleep eating is serious. It isn’t anything to be too concerned about, as you’re just feeling too empty and didn’t have a proper meal before your sleep. Getting up in the middle of the night for some oily or fulfilling snacks can have long term sleep effects and affect your weight as well. However, planning your meals better throughout the day can not only avoid your sleep disruption for some snacking but also help you lose or maintain weight.
Most successful, healthy people tend to have specific periods of the day where they splurge or eat. If you tend to diet early in the day and eat a lot later in the day, it can lead you to put on weight. Moreover, snacking or eating too much right before sleep keeps your stomach active throughout your sleep cycle instead of resting and it can lead to bad metabolism. Having some milk or/and fruits before sleep can keep those midnight hunger pangs away as they’re easy to digest.
It is also a good idea to not have too much water right before sleep to prevent waking up for those washroom urgencies in the middle of the night. Planning your diet such as intermittent fasting or watching your calories can not only help you keep your mind active throughout the day but also help you feel full before you go to bed.
Journaling: Journaling is the most common practice that most of the successful entrepreneurs tend to share in terms of habits. Not only is journaling a perfect habit for some looking back, gratitude and planning, but therapeutic as well. If you tend to wind up your day by evening or early night hours, you can use any app or journal diary to plan ahead and work on your mental health. However, using digital journals right before sleep time is also a good idea although you should avoid screens before sleeping. Journaling also helps in helping you calm down and process your emotions, especially in the current pandemic time. Being more aware of your emotions, plans, things you want to look ahead to and plan and process your goals is perhaps the best thing you can do to assure success in your field. It improves your mental health, keeps anxiety and neuro-sleep disorders away as best as possible and is a great activity to relax and feel gratitude.
Temperature and bed: Your room’s environment and temperature play an important role in helping you sleep calmly. Although this doesn’t have any direct correlation with sure shot success or success in general, it is a good idea to keep your sleeping environment safe and secure. After an intense or exhausting day, the thing your brain and body need most is relaxation in any and every form. Keeping your room cool and tidy can have a psychological effect to help you feel relaxed and fall asleep quicker.
A good high-quality mattress to adjust to your sleeping pattern and help you feel relaxed when you’re lying on it and not sleeping just yet is also a good investment. In general, making sure that your sleep is as comfortable as possible helps in keeping away any neuro-disorders or sleep disorders away. Additionally, cooler rooms, mattresses, or pillows in general help avoid night terrors and nightmares to a great extent.
A good mattress and pillow can also help regulate temperature from your body (air gel pillows and inner springs mattresses). Using a good combination of pillows and mattress can help your body feel relaxed and cuddled after an intense day of being active.
Waking up early, and meditation: If you see the state of the current social media, you can ascertain that most entrepreneurs, successful people, and health experts focus on the importance of a healthy lifestyle. And a healthy lifestyle that leads to success starts with some sacrifices and developing healthy habits to help you long term. Waking up early gives you a healthy head start to your day and even helps develop leadership qualities as you tend to feel more confident in your abilities.
Mark Wahlberg is one of those exceptional people that go to sleep around 7:30 PM and wake up at 2:30 AM and plan his day, workout, and take part in other healthy habits. However, this is an exception and most successful people tend to wake up early in the morning for working out and finishing their chores, workouts, plan the day ahead and meditate. Following Robin Sharma’s 5 AM Club practice can help you if you tend to lose motivation soon or relapse after a couple days.
Meditating, working out, and going for an early morning run when everyone around you is asleep is a good head start to feel confident and successful. In the end, it is these little wins and healthy practices that help one live a little better each day and achieve all your goals. Engaging in gratitude, meditations, Yoga, working out early in the morning help you develop the motivation and energy that you need to achieve all the goals you plan for the day. It clears your head, helps you develop a strategic approach in completing these goals that aren’t restrictive on any person’s lifestyle, the field of work, or any other factor.
Meditation and mental health practices before and after sleep are the best way to achieve your goals and develop the confidence to lead others. You can see this practice in most celebrities, politicians, athletes, and entrepreneurs in general and the Western world has already integrated into their culture. Successful people that tend to wake up early are Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson, Barack Obama, Tim Cook, Sir Richard Branson, Jeff Bezos to name a few.
Tim Cook, CEO of Apple: (9:30 PM — 4:30 AM)
Sir Richard Branson, CEO and Founder of Virgin: (12–5/6 AM)
Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon: (10 PM — 5 AM)
Mark Wahlberg, Hollywood actor: (7:30 PM- 2:30 AM)
Discipline: The last and most important factor to keep in mind is to be disciplined and develop the habit of any of these habits once you start. Keeping things constant for 21 days is scientifically proven to instill that habit in you. But if you tend to or happen to give up on any of these habits because of small failures or less motivation, can lead to long term motivation loss. If you are chasing success, it is the small wins that you have to achieve and maintain first and in a short or long time, it will definitely make you excellent if not outstanding in your field of work or passion.
Keeping yourself disciplined in any activity is perhaps the greatest challenge you will face during the 21 or 40 day period before it is something you do automatically. Keeping engaged day after day in these activities that don’t seem rewarding at first can seem much more challenging than when you start or had just started a new habit. The key to the success of any term, personal or professional is sticking to it despite challenges or loss of motivation.
There are no sleeping or waking habits that can give you short term or guaranteed results when it comes to personal or professional success in anything you pursue. But, the general sense of leadership, of achieving these small wins in your day to day life is what builds up your character and sleeping habits. Oversleeping, snacking heavily, or staying inactive is easy to do, but not every day. If you want to change your life, start with changing your sleeping habits and the general habits that control your sleep schedule.
The best way to control your sleep is to avoid it altogether when you’re not supposed to and avoid procrastination. A good mattress, healthy diet, and good habits are only good and contributing factors to sleep if you have goals to look forward to. Healthy sleeping habits are a result of environmental factors, healthy habits in terms of what you eat, watch, stay active among other factors. Keeping yourself mentally and physically healthy despite relapses is what can make you successful and someone to talk about someday. The best thing you can do to yourself and your sleep is to believe and know you will ace everything in the day and your life no matter the setbacks or challenges.