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Sleeping habits and routines of highly successful people

From gratitude diaries to transition routines, those at the top of their game are aware that sleep and productivity are two sides of the same coin

By | Marlena Batchelor |

The mentality that hard work should be prioritised over sleep for the reward of success is fast becoming an outdated approach, given the research that has emerged on sleep – along with nutrition and exercise – and its critical role to our overall health.

The American Academy of Sleep Medicine advises that seven hours is the minimum amount of sleep recommended for adults, which is not achieved by more than a third of Americans.

“Our Consensus Panel found that sleeping six or fewer hours per night is inadequate to sustain health and safety in adults, and agreed that seven or more hours of sleep per night is recommended for all healthy adults,” says ​​Dr Nathaniel F Watson.

It’s also ideal to get into a rhythm when it comes to sleep patterns, which is why many of the world’s top business leaders have a consistent routine in place.

“The recommendation right now is to get consistent sleep. Whether it’s the weekend or a weekday, keep doing that consistently,” explains Matthew Walker, author of the international bestselling book Why We Sleep and Professor of Neuroscience at the University of California, Berkeley.

He goes on to say that “sleep bulimia”, where you make up for lost sleep during the week on the weekends, is not a solution.

“Unfortunately, sleep is not like a credit system. Sleep is not like the bank in the sense that you can’t accumulate a debt and then hope to pay it off at a later point in time.”

The sleeping habits of highly successful people

sleeping habits

Oprah Winfrey

The talk show host, author and philanthropist reportedly gets eight hours of sleep between the hours of 10pm and 6am, with her last and first thoughts of the day centred upon gratitude.

In the morning, rather than check her phone, Winfrey brushes her teeth and cares for her dogs before heading to her home gym.

“I have never set an alarm, I don’t believe in them. My first thought in the morning is, ‘Oh, I’m alive. Thank you!’” she told The Hollywood Reporter.

“I usually get into bed and I have volumes and volumes of gratitude journals by the side of my bed. The last thing I do before I go to sleep is write five things that gave me great pleasure or that I was grateful for.”

This routine is most likely inspired by the advice of her sleep doctor Dr Michael Breus, who believes: “The secret to sleep is to pay attention to what you’re doing in those precious hours before bedtime.”

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