It’s a stereotype that Americans will work themselves to death to get ahead. We don’t get enough sleep, and we don’t take near as much vacation time as the rest of the world. This stereotype is somewhat true, until you get to upper management. That’s apparently when people figure out to get a good night’s sleep.
According to a Harvard Business Review study of 35,000 business leaders, there is indeed a direct link between success and sleeping. The results of the study say, essentially, that the more senior a person’s role is, the more sleep they get. HBR says there may be a couple of reasons for this. One, that high level executives get a lot of help from multiple assistants. Another is that, according to HBR, they “have had the wisdom and discipline throughout their career to get enough sleep and thereby maintain a high performance level without burning out.”
The authors of the study say that for those lower down on the food chain, sleep can be hard to come by:
Our data found that 68% of nonexecutive leaders get five to seven hours of sleep per night. When there are not enough hours in the day, they steal some from the night. Many leaders stay up late to catch up on email or other tasks. According to our research, this tendency is widespread, regardless of gender.
The study’s authors are hoping that the “badge of honor” that still exists from not getting enough sleep will soon go away, and be replaced by an understanding that a well-rested leader is a good leader.