When we look at people who are at the top of their field, they all have grit: persistence and passion for their long-term goals. But this doesn’t mean that they burn the midnight oil day-in and day-out in pursuit of achievement.
Just as elite performers are strategic about what they practice, they are also strategic about how long they practice for. The good news (I think) is that it doesn’t work to just practice until our fingers bleed or our mind spins or our muscles give out—for hour upon hour upon hour of endless, relentless, intrinsically boring practice.
Here’s my favorite part of a series I’ve written on elite performance: Super-high-achievers sleep significantly more than the average American. On average, Americans get only 6.5 hours of sleep per night. Elite performers tend to get 8.6 hours of sleep a night; elite athletes need even more sleep. One study showed that when Stanford swimmers increased their sleep time to 10 hours per 24 hours (sleeping longer at night and often taking a nap), they felt happier, more energetic — and their performance in the pool improved dramatically.
Take Action: Are you tired? If so, lay down. (Although it may feel like it, the world will not stop spinning just because you have.) Take a nap. Hit the sack early tonight: your work and family will thank you for it!
Join the Discussion: Do you find you’re at your best when you get more sleep? Share in the comments.
Feature image courtesy of NavyJackBell.