No, You Don’t Have to Wake Up at 5 AM in Order to Be Wildly Successful
A brief introduction to the wonderful world of personalized sleep
It’s easy to get caught up in the toxic hustle-culture notion that only those who live in a chronic state of sleep deprivation and cat-nap on the Tesla factory floor can ever be truly successful, but the truth is that waking up at 5 AM is extremely overrated, and is probably dangerous for your health.
While the average American sleeps less than seven hours per night, the world belongs to those who sleep quite a bit above average (8–12 hours/night), and by those who do so on a customized schedule that best suits their individual bodies:
- CEOs: Jeff Bezos. Warren Buffett. Bill Gates. Sheryl Sandberg.
- Thought leaders: The Dalai Lama. Arianna Huffington.
- Athletes: Lebron James. Roger Federer. Michelle Wei.
- Entertainers: Jennifer Lopez. Matthew McConaughey. Halley Berry.
Rather unfortunately, Medium’s back catalog is rife with articles outlining the “8 Things Everyone Should Do Before 8AM,” insisting “You Make Or Break Your Day Before 6AM,” and outlining “How to Become an Early Riser Even If You’re Not an Early Riser.”
I’m here to tell you that 85+% of the population should completely ignore stories of this nature.
Let me start by saying that sleep is one of my three core priorities: I unapologetically and unashamedly get nine hours of sleep every night and I rarely wake up before 9:00 AM.
And I swear I’m not (overly) lazy: I’ve published three books, produced four films, spoken at 500+ live events, written for Esquire/Smithsonian/The Guardian/TIME Magazine, and traveled to forty countries including North Korea and the Vatican. I don’t work any fewer hours per week than most of my friends (about sixty over six days), I just do it at the time that works best for my individuated body.
I’ve convinced a number of my friends and family to start sleeping more hours per night, but I never push them to specifically sleep for nine hours like me, or…