All about sleep: a complete guide for getting the rest you need
Pepsi CEO Indra Nooyi gets four hours.
Fashion designer Tom Ford logs just three.
Angela Ahrendts, Apple’s VP of Retail, says she gets a headache after six.
Sleep is a huge topic in startup circles.
Lately, the when, how, and how much is constantly debated and dissected.
And while leaders like Nooyi, Ford and Ahrendts are among “the Sleepless Elite” who thrive on just a few hours each night, sleep enthusiasts, including Amazon’s Jeff Bezos and Microsoft founder Bill Gates, say they can’t function without 7–8 hours on the pillow.
So, what works best?
If you want to grow a business or accomplish great things, should you take a page from Martha Stewart (3–4 hours) or Arianna Huffington (sleep advocate)?
Like most things in life, it depends who you ask. But first, let’s explore the basics of sleep.
Why we sleep
In a decidedly thorough post on the topic, author James Clear says sleep has three functions: restoration, memory consolidation, and metabolic health:
“… sleep plays a crucial role in cleaning out the brain each night. While these toxins can be flushed out during waking hours, researchers have found that clearance during sleep is as much as two-fold faster than during waking hours.”
As Clear explains, sleep is the brain’s way of “taking out the trash.” That’s why a long snooze makes you feel refreshed — almost like your mind was deep-cleaned.
Secondly, memory consolidation is the process of maintaining and reinforcing long-term memories. When you don’t get enough sleep, your brain can struggle to create memories, from facts and details to emotional experiences.
In terms of metabolic health, lower sleep duration has been linked to higher rates of type 2 diabetes, obesity, and cardiovascular disease. Decreasing either the…