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I’m Going to Bed!

I made some unusual New Year’s resolutions this year, and chief among them was to get more sleep. Three weeks into my new bedtime routine, I received validation in the form of a Wall Street Journal article that reported that 30 percent of American workers fail to get enough sleep, and that sleep deprivation costs American organizations billions in lost productivity. It felt good to have The Wall Street Journal tell me that I should push my snooze button. Then, a week later I happened upon a TED talk in which Arianna Huffington suggested that getting more sleep could revolutionize our economic and political systems. She encouraged us all to sleep our way to topliterally.

Now that I’m about six weeks into my new sleeping routine and have established a regular pattern, I’m feeling pretty excited about the results. I’m more focused, finding it easier to make decisions, and less likely to express exasperation. Better yet, I’m saving $2.13 a day by cutting out my afternoon “grande coffee with room” at Starbucks.

I have to be honest and say that sharing my decision to sleep more is not an admission made easily. Our culture values people who favor late-evening strategy sessions, all-night writing jags, crack-of-dawn text messages, and 7:00 a.m. breakfast meetings. “Such drive! Such stamina! Such commitment!”

Such nonsense. Call me contrarian, but I have not found zombies to be consistently high performers.

For those of us who are used to working late nights, sleeping more will require us to scale back on what we normally do. Deciding what not to do can be challenging however. What can come off your daily to-do list? Nonurgent evening e-mails? Group editing? Regular participation on committees that don’t really require your attendance? Long conversations with people who just want to whine?

[Creative Commons-licensed photo by Flickr user Jun's World.]

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