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Alternative Sleep Schedules: A New Way To Increase Productivity?


As many of you may know from my posts on Facebook and Twitter, I’m testing out alternative schedules in search of a better sleep solution. I’ve always been a 6-hour-per-night sleeper; up until a few months ago, sleeping from midnight to six worked perfectly—but now I’ve started to feel like I got hit by a bus when the workday ends. So why am I talking about it on this marketing blog? I believe sleep is directly tied to productivity, and productivity is directly tied to success. And my own personal research indicates that many of you are interested in alternative sleep schedules, although you may not be able to test them out on your own.

Why not just sleep more?

The solution to most seems like a no brainer: get seven, or even (gasp!) eight hours of sleep. Well, when you get used to the two extra hours per day, they’re really quite valuable. The extra hours awake allow me to bill during the day and run my business at night—whether that means blogging, planning my social media or looking for new clients. And I still have time to play with my wonderful children, keep our house in order and all the other things that go along with running a household.

The case for breaking the sleep rules

Alternative sleep schedules have long been practiced by a percentage of the population called the “sleepless elite”—research suggests that 1-3% of the population has a mutated gene that allows them to thrive off far less sleep than everyone else; I’m talking like 2-5 hours per night. Among the noted sleepless elite are Madonna, Martha Stewart, Donald Trump, Marissa Mayer and Barack Obama. Those names alone make a pretty strong case for sleeping less.

However, research also shows that less sleep leads to sluggishness and slower reaction times. Alternative sleep schedules claim to be an answer to that problem: they allow you to nap at a few intervals during the day to detox your brain and help you recharge.

How’s it going so far?

The schedule I’m attempting to adapt to is the Everyman Sleep Schedule. It’s like alternative sleep for beginners because it allows you to sleep a few hours at night, unlike some of the more extreme options, where you only nap at given intervals throughout the day. I started out going to bed at 10:30pm and attempting to get up at 2:00am—that didn’t go so well. Getting out of my warm bed in the middle of the night feels near-impossible with below-freezing temps. Now I’m looking for the best time to sleep my 3.5 hours, whether that’s 9:00 pm to 12:30 am or 2:00 am to 5:30 am is yet to be determined.

The verdict is still out on this sleep schedule, and its potential increase in productivity, but I will say that the additional hours have allowed me to get more done, feeling less stressed - and a little more tired. Have you tried anything like this before? Are you looking for other ways to increase productivity? Leave questions or comments below.


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