The One Surprising Habit of Successful PeopleOh, they have plenty of common habits: successful people meditate; set daily priorities; exercise; cultivate gratitude; keep a journal; mindfully take care of their relationships; have morning rituals; tackle the biggest tasks first; restrict their time on social media; or allow themselves to check email only twice a day.

But there is one that stands out and I will focus on this one.

They Sleep

Moreover, they sleep smart.

Yes, there are stories about Edison or Michelangelo and how little sleep they needed. Edison prided himself in that—like every modern corporate rat. But he was probably delusional about his ability to sleep very little because of frequent naps.


By the way, napping is one smart way to maximize your sleep that successful people often practice.

Winston Churchill, a leader whose country fought the total war, took naps in the middle of the day.

John D. Rockefeller had a sofa in his office, so he could catch a nap in the midst of leading one of the biggest company in USA.

Edison used his frequent naps to sleep on (or generate) some ideas.

A 20-minute nap is better than a cup of coffee. Time management is really energy management. A coffee or other stimulant, usually provides a quick boost of energy and a fast slump afterwards.

A nap can reinvigorate your whole body and mind.

Successful People Sleep Enough

They took pains to have optimal amount of night sleep. Jon Morrow is a successful entrepreneur and at the same time a guy who is completely paralyzed from the neck down. During his interview for EOFire with John Lee Dumas, he said that the habit that contributed most to his success was sleeping eight hours a day—(or rather “a night”).

“Optimal” doesn’t mean “eight.” Sleep needs are individual.

People in natural conditions—living without modern life stress, junk food and without electricity disturbing natural sleep patterns—sleep 6.5–7 hours a night.

3% of the population can thrive on 6 or less hours of sleep. You know what a joker God is, quite often those gifted with little-sleep genes—are gifted with many other gifts as well.

But some folks need over eight hours of sleep which seems like the biggest secret of the universe. You will hear a zillion stories of “bigshots” sleeping 5, 4, or 3 hours (like Donald Trump), but very—very little about people who regularly sleep over 8 hours.

For example Matthew McConaughey sleeps 8.5 hours a night.

(photo credit: By (Flickr), via Wikimedia Commons)

Quite a successful fellow, isn’t he?

Hence, get to know yourself and your sleep needs—better.

They Adjust their Lifestyle to Their Biorhythm

Most people have no special circadian rhythm. They are fine with going to bed at 9:00 p.m. or 1:00 a.m. Others are wired differently.

In the above, I mentioned Churchill. He was a night owl. He slept from 3:00 to 8:00 a.m.

I have a very volatile circadian rhythm. If I push myself to the limit, I almost collapse 4–5 times a day. It’s much better for me to take a 10-minute nap —than to try working on anything. I simply shut down.

Many people are well-adjusted to thrive in the morning. Thus, many successful people choose to wake up early. They dedicate the first few hours of the day to take care of their well-being and face crucial projects. Because they know the importance of sleep, they automatically choose to go to bed early.

Yes, They Know the Importance of Sleep

Instead of priding themselves on how little sleep they need to function, they examine their performance very closely and make sleep their priority.

Most people (those without ‘magical’ genes) after two weeks on 6 hours of sleep—degrade to the performance level of a “Zombie.” To be exact—according to scientists—to the level of a person who hasn’t slept for 48 hours straight.

Here comes the biggest shock. They don’t even realize how poorly they perform. They think they “crush it.” An “Under-Sleeper’s” judgement is deranged. The gradual nature of sleep deprivation causes them not to notice the difference between performance on Day 1 and Day 15.

Some recent research also suggests—that even one night without the optimal amount of sleep, weakens the human immune system.

Sleep enough.

Your chances for success will significantly increase.

The One Surprising Habit of Successful People

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