There is a ton of scientific proof that states, in no uncertain terms, that depriving oneself of sleep is not the best way to increase productivity. I’m not egomaniacal enough to think that my narrow experience provides evidence enough to refute the findings of the medical community at large. So take this piece with a grain of salt and consult your doctor for any real questions, because I am a content writer, not a medical professional. I can relate my own experience, in hopes that it will provide value (even if most readers disagree with me).
I slept for an hour less every night for a week, at first out of necessity. I was preparing for a new commute. Thankfully, the drive didn’t take as much time as I had anticipated. Instead of hitting the dreaded snooze button, and rolling that time back into slumber, I kept waking up at the same time. Instead of bolting out of bed and chugging coffee with the reckless abandon of a caffeine junky, I started my new mornings by reading and actually sipping my morning java.
The new routine left me feeling less stressed because I started my day with intellectual stimulation that I enjoyed.
When we just roll out of bed and into our morning, rushing about like decapitated chickens, we get our day started off in the wrong headspace. When you start with anxiety, it will inform the next 24 hours. It will bleed into your workday and impact your level-headedness. When you have a calm, thoughtful morning, you set yourself up to have a calm, thoughtful day. You will glide about the office like a smiling Buddha, transcending the sludge of professional interactions and radiating infectious positivity.
Ok, it might not be that extreme.
If you want to get ahead and change the game, there are three “accounts” of time you can pull from—your leisure/civic activities, your sleep, or your work (which is sort of like taking from Peter to pay Paul and not very helpful).
Let your leisure time alone, but only if it’s valuable. Are you spending quality time with friends and family, or are you housing 4 hours of Netflix while checking your phone 3 times a minute? If the latter is how you’re spending your free time, I would strongly urge you to spend more time furthering more ambitious efforts. But if your leisure time is full, draw time from your sleep account.
This isn’t an attempt to convert to some polyphasic sleep cycle because that kind of drastic rewiring can result in some pretty counterproductive symptoms. All I suggest is waking up a half-hour earlier. Then take that extra 30 minutes and commit it to reading something that you find incredibly interesting. Maybe some contemporary fiction that’s been getting a lot of hype and you’ve been meaning to read. Maybe some addictive, non-fiction crime saga? Maybe some daily devotionals or motivations? Sleep a little less if it means getting your day started in a way that is going to make for a better life.
I had to start putting my phone on the other side of the room to avoid the addictive snooze button, which has robbed humanity of countless hours of productivity over the years. Since then, it’s been smooth sailing.