As someone who aspires to do a lot in his lifetime, I find myself reading content on self-improvement and dedication.
Researchers consistently post studies about how beneficial sleep is for so many aspects of our lives. It helps our digestion, our muscle repair, our psychological stability and especially our mental capacity. Healthy sleep habits can have a large impact on how successful you are at living a healthy and fulfilling life.
On the other hand, a lot of the motivational content in the marketplace pushes the idea that in order to be successful, you have work 24 hours a day and 7 days a week. Some people practice lucid dreaming so they can even work in their sleep. Others talk about how you can sleep when you’re dead. That’s not a very attractive proposition if the lack of sleep contributes to an earlier death.
I understand that there are circumstances where it is hard to get sleep due to things we can’t control. Although in the long run, we should prioritize sleep and cut out other things in order to allow for a healthy amount of Zzz’s. This doesn’t necessarily mean cutting your recreational time back — That time is important in its own right (by the re-charge and re-motivation it yields.)
Mostly this is a matter of efficiency, and this is something I have struggled with personally. There were plenty of times where I spent more time talking about how busy I was and put on a show of how hard I was working. The idea was that the more time I spent and the longer I stayed up, the more valuable the work was. It’s a pretty delusional way of approaching things, and I’m extremely grateful that I’ve begun to understand that.
Thus, your goal should not be to work longer, but to work harder. This means having more focused and intense bursts of work that result in higher quality output and enhanced stamina. This is something we refer to at Elite as taking small bites, where you are able to get more done while feeling less pressure and anxiety. This deep-focused work is not easy and can be exhausting, but that’s the point of doing it — by the time your head hits the pillow you will be knocked out because of how hard you worked.
Again, if you have some limiting factor that makes it physically impossible to get a healthy amount of sleep on a particular night, then get the job done. However, you should be in the habit of planning to get a healthy amount.
Don’t kill yourself and your brain by depriving yourself of a basic human necessity. Instead, work your heart out during the day so that by bedtime, you’re exhausted and your body needs the sleep you’re about to reward it with.