Sleepless much?

How many hours do you get of shut eye? I average anywhere from 4-7 and if insomnia strikes I’m lucky to get 3-5 broken hours of sleep. Being a night owl, it makes it hard to sleep early as I like to be up and find that the night is the best time for inspired and motivated work, but exhaustion does come to pay a visit and I do find myself sleeping out of exhaustion at times and can be found irritated when I can’t stay awake longer and log away more productive hours.

Parents Connect by Nickelodeon hosted a recent post on Facebook which asked the question: How much sleep do you get a night?

The Results from 53,873 people who voted as of 8/9/2010:

12%  –   Under 4 hours
67%  – 4 to 7 hours
21% – More than 7 hours

It seems that nearly 70% of the sample size are only catching 4 to 7 hours of sleep.  According to endless amounts of studies like this one, this number should be closer to 7 to 8 hours of sleep since that is considered as healthiest for most people.

Granted that said poll was taken with a sample size targeted initially to parenting adults to gauge how much sleep they were getting – a quick browse shows that adults, parental or not answered this poll with enthusiasm.  The overwhelming conclusion is that few people are getting the sleep they need – and it poses some interesting questions.

In these economic times – felt and realized or not, dependent on one’s own individual and independent circumstances – could very likely have an indirect correlation to this increasing lack of sleep.  Everyone is working increasingly long hours or studying – or perhaps a combo of both.  Even our stay at home counterparts are likely affected by the longer hours worked by friends and family – gone are the days where a job meant a predictable 9 to 5 hour schedule – hours are prolonged and climbing at work and that does translate to those closest to you as their schedules are also disrupted.  As the web makes it able for us to be up and working, social networking, keeping up with the millions of updates around the world 24/7 one begs to know what one can do to keep awake and yet get the sleep they need to be fully functioning as a human.  If anything the recurring theme in my life and likely yours is that needing to stop and sleep and not being able to just carry on being a human droid and just hammer out deliverables and live life well around the clock is becoming something of a nuisance to your own effectiveness and productivity levels – unless you’re one of the envied few who have truly made it and have made a living enough to just enjoy a bit or have someone else stay awake and do the work for you. <Lucky ducky>

According to Business Week the problem, in a nutshell-to-go is this: “Succeeding in today’s economy requires lightning-

Bloomberg BusinessWeek

fast reflexes and the ability to communicate and collaborate across the globe.  ‘We’ve added a new set of standards without fully dropping the old,’ says Thomas H. Davenport, professor of information technology and management at Babson College and author of the new book Thinking for a Living…That helps explain why time pressures seem to be getting worse. Globalization and the Internet create great new opportunities, but they also ratchet up the intensity of competition and generate more work — especially with the existing corporate structure still hanging on tightly.” Even if the remark is dated as far back as 2005, this often holds true today – startups and enterprises are engaged with one another more than before and as the enterprises angle to compete in the online space and as startups sprint and sometimes clumsily disrupt the old ways of doing business with faster web enabled solutions.  The two worlds do continue to collide and even the best run start ups still experience enough growing pains internally between the demands of the web and the supply of human capital that can oil the machine and keep things humming in sync.

Curiously, in the aim to conduct an informal study of my own, how many hours a week do you sleep?  What keeps you from getting more sleep?  Do you feel there might be a correlation between the web’s existence and the access to information and activities around the clock and sleeplessness?  Is sleeplessness attributed to lifestyle or is sleep cycle just dependent on life stage?  It would be interesting to create a more in depth study of sleep patterns and preferences matched to life stages, age, lifestyle and even going so far as to also analyzing the effects of being an early bird over a night owl over a course of years – though I’m sure this study exists in some government or science archive someplace.

Is sleep listed as a hobby of yours as well – I know it is for me, since I get so little of it – but then again, after a while now it seems I’ve adjusted and sometimes wake up early bursting to get the day started and to check off all the many things that pile upon my checklists of tasks and deliverables.  In a world that doesn’t stop, those closest to me also are on the go and making things happen so we all make the most of our time together and apart and keep doing what we do best or what we desire most- living life in full with just a few cloudy memories of college days when sleeping in til 1pm on a Saturday as opposed to organically waking up by 9am was a norm.  At the end of the day, studies aside, what matters most is that we enjoy what we are doing – get that right and it no longer matters how long you’re sleeping or not – but that you get to keep the inspiration and passion alive to keep iterating and moving forward.  After all, we’ve only actually got but one life – might as well live it well  and make the best of our time together in this mad and glorious world of old and new – asleep or awake!

    • Ash
    • August 26th, 2010

    I typically get 4 to 7 hours of sleep per night as well, however what I realized is that not only am I more irritable, but I’m also less efficient during the workday. The quality of my work and my interactions decreases in proportion to the amount of sleep I got the night before. In the last week I am getting 7-8 hours, waking up early, and going to the gym which has resulted in far more productive work days!

    • Prabal Patel
    • August 30th, 2010


    I am a night owl too. But, I would not say the night is necessarily more productive. Many times, I am just up till midnight, because I feel it is lame going to night early at 10 pm.

    But, I have realised going to bed early and waking up early really makes you feel great the next day. You are so active and fresh. But, just not able to make a habit of it.

    10 pm to 6am is wayy different than 12 am to 8 am, though both are 8 hours.

  1. I envy anyone who gets to sleep more than 4 hours now. Startup life is incredibly rewarding but sleep depriving. 🙂

  2. Great article! Sleep is an issue, but I do sleep 6-7 hours per night. Otherwise, I can’t function. I feel like one hour after I slept properly is worth like 3 when I haven’t. This presents a vicious cycle, which must be broken.

  1. No trackbacks yet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: