Brandon Frere famously made himself a promise that when he ran his own business he would never set an alarm clock. How did he know that getting enough sleep was a wholly rational decision that was both good for him, and—because he is responsible for hundreds of employees and thousands of clients—good for those around him?
Feeling Lonely and Isolated? Take a Nap
Recent research from UC Berkeley shows that sleep deprived people feel lonelier and less inclined to social engagement. Unrested people live with the same sort of isolation as those with social anxiety. Even worse, well-rested people feel lonely after a brief encounter with a sleep deprived person. This creates a sort of social isolating virus that infects wider and wider circles.
Another study by the Rand Corporation quantified the loss to the American economy due to sleep deprivation at $411 billion per year. This is counted in terms of 1.23 million lost working days. Only Japan has worse per capita numbers. Even more serious, those who slept less than six hours per night were 10 percent more likely to die than those who slept between seven and nine hours.
There are many reasons why some people sleep less than others:
- Age: Brain function responsible for regulating sleep begins to decline as early as 35 years of age
- Genetics: A gene called “CRY1” regulates circadian rhythms. One variation of it causes longer circadian cycles, leading to less sleep
- Career: Night and swing shifts are extremely harmful to healthy rest
- Weekends: Sleeping late on the weekend can cause disrupted sleeping the rest of the week.
- Relationships: Those in committed relationships are 20 percent more likely than single people to sleep seven hours or more per night.
- Education: The higher level of educational attainment, the more you sleep. Over 70 percent of those with a college degree or higher sleep at least seven hours per night.
Why We Sleep
In Why We Sleep: Unlocking the Power of Sleep and Dreams, neuroscientist Matt Walker argues that lack of sleep takes a toll on everyone, from military fighters and first responders to airline pilots and truckers. It is also associated with increased risk of Alzheimer’s, depression, anxiety, obesity, stroke, chronic pain, diabetes, heart attacks and more.
As a sleep consultant to the NFL, NBA, and numerous Fortune 500 enterprises, Walker is certain of the links between a good night’s sleep and optimal performance, on the playing field and in the conference room.
All of these studies seem to point to something that Frere knows intuitively: that allowing the body to get the sleep it needs is essential to how we operate and interact in the world, that a good night of sleep is one of the healthiest therapies we can give ourselves.
Sleeping until your body says it’s time to wake up is good for the body and good for business. It also saves you all that time hitting the snooze button.