Why The Non-Sleeping Entrepreneur Myth Needs To Die

The Myth

What traits do successful entrepreneurs have in common? Your answer might be “business savvy” or “smart”, but most likely it is “hard working”. But what comes to mind when we think of someone who is hard working? You probably think of someone who stays up late working tirelessly on their business. I know I did. I would read articles about successful entrepreneurs, and get visions of this inspired individual staying up late in order to spend more time working on their business. In my mind, the hard working trait included sacrificing sleep, and in order to be successful one had to be hardworking. Thus the myth was planted in my mind. While it is true that you need to work hard, little did I know how wrong, impractical, and potentially life threatening the sacrificing sleep part of this myth is. 

The Importance of Sleep

When I started my first business I operated under this myth. However, it wasn’t long till my lack of sleep caught up with me. I began feeling groggy throughout the day no matter how much coffee I drank. My mental faculties slowed, and caused me to make poor decisions. My blood pressure soared because I was stressed out more easily, and I started gaining weight.

I quickly realized that this behavior was not sustainable. After researching the issue, I found out that lack of sleep can lead to diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, depression, and obesity. I also learned that no amount of coffee can help your sleep deprivation, and that you cannot “catch up” on sleep you lost. Finally, I learned that the average sleep time for prominent CEO’s was 7 hours a night.

I was done with the myth. All the health problems and the fact that prominent CEOs had normal sleep patterns forced me to reassess my belief that I had to work hard by sacrificing sleep. My foolhardy approach was not only harming me, it was also harming my business.

The Turnaround

After that revelation, I started forcing myself to get at least 7 hours of sleep a night. I continue to do so to this day. Once I started sleeping more I noticed that my overall health, mood, and critical thinking skills improved. Also my business was booming because I was making more rational business decisions, and I was more personable with everyone. Looking back it is easy to see that the mindset of sacrificing sleep in order to be successful is just a myth, and it is one that needs to die.