Sleep Disorders

02 September 2019

Want to be successful in business? Get a good night's sleep

A study shows that sufficient, good quality sleep is essential for business leaders who are seeking their next successful venture.

Sleep is essential for humans because it allows the body to repair organ systems, including muscles, the immune system and hormones. It also plays a very important role in memory retention. If you're a business leader looking to embark on a new venture, the key is more sleep, according to a new study. 

The study, published in the Journal of Business Venturing emphasises that sleep plays a crucial role in being able to identify good business ideas, evaluating them and ascertaining if they're viable. In the study, 700 entrepreneurs from around the world were asked questions relating to their sleep patterns, the hours they sleep and the different types of sleep they experience.

Selecting the best pitches

Various business pitches were then drafted and an independent panel of business experts ranked their pitches as having the most potential, medium potential and the least potential for success. The study participants were required to review all three different types of pitches on the same day. It was found that the leaders who had less sleep found it more difficult to pick the best pitches.

The second part of the study required a smaller group of participants to evaluate pitches over a number of weeks while their sleep patterns were charted. It was evident that participants who had at least seven hours of sleep were consistent in selecting the best pitches identified by the expert panel. The pitches with the least potential for success tended to be selected by those who experienced restless sleep or less sleep than the other participants. 

Jeff Gish, lead author and assistant business professor at the University of Central Florida said, "Entrepreneurs who consistently choose hustle over sleep, thinking that sleep comes after success, may be subverting their efforts to succeed." He continued to say that everyone needs a good night's sleep, but that it's especially important for entrepreneurs. 

Consistent results

Gish also added that the evidence suggests that sleep can lead to an accurate assessment of the commercial potential of a new idea. "Since we compared individual performance over multiple days, we can say that these results are consistent even for entrepreneurs who don't sleep as much on average as the general population."

Although several studies have found a connection between sleep and job performance, this study found a link between sleep and the cognitive skills needed to identify and evaluate an idea. 

Image credit: iStock


Ask the Expert

Sleep disorders expert

Dr Alison Bentley is a general practitioner who has consulted in sleep medicine and sleep disorders, in both adults and children of all ages, for almost 30 years. She also researches and publishes on a number of sleep-related topics both in formal research journals and lay publications including as editor of Sleep Matters, an educational newsletter on sleep disorders for doctors.

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