Posted by: Mark Sorenson | September 10, 2009

Get Less Sleep

My favorite class I am currently taking at BYU is called “Creating New Ventures.” In it I will join in a group of four students and start a company. We will do everything from brainstorm the business idea, to write a business plan and pitch it to real investors. Periodically, I’ll share some nuggets of knowledge I learn from this class. Here is one nugget:

An entrepreneur is someone who is willing to give up almost anything to make his business work. That includes sleep. A study was done on billionaires in the world and what they share in common. There were only two correlations that could be found and one of them was that all wealthy people or entrepreneurs have the ability to function on less sleep. They are able to get 5 or 6 hours of sleep every night. That gives them a distinct advantage over those who need their 8-10 hours of sleep a night.

I thought about this all day yesterday and did the math. If I can cut my sleep down to even just 6 hours of sleep a night instead of 8, I will have 2 extra hours of productivity everyday. That means over a 6 day work week I will have 12 extra hours to get things done. If I continue to do that for a month, I’ll have a whole 48 hours of “extra” time on my hands. Those are waking hours too. That’s almost 3 days worth of time per month, and about 32 extra days a year. WOW.

Now, if I can cut my sleep to only 5 hours, I’ll have a whole extra 18 hours per week to get things done. That’s a whole extra day! That means in a month I’ll have 4 extra days and in a year I’ll have 48 extra days!

That is mind blowing to me. I’m gonna try it.

Here’s the breakdown so it’s easy to read:

7 hours of sleep:

  • Week: 6 hours
  • Month: 1.6 Days
  • Year: 16 Days

6 hours of sleep:

  • Week: 12 hours
  • Month: 2.67 days
  • Yeah: 32 days

5 hours of sleep:

  • Week: 1 day
  • Month: 4 days
  • Year: 48 days

*based on 18 hour days and compared to normally getting 8 hours of sleep.


  1. Getting less sleep is fairly typical of successful people. One thing you need to keep in mind with your formula is that you need to actually use those extra hours to be productive. Spending those two extra hours per day on Facebook won’t give you any advantage over your competitors (unless, of course, you’re business is on Facebook).

    Good luck!

    • Good point, Mark. Thanks for the input.

  2. Fascinating!

    I was just reflecting on the “romantic” quality of entreprenership illustrated by this very thing. I love my business enough to lose sleep over it. The drive for success is that strong.

    Over the past couple of weeks, as I’ve been increasing the volume of work I produce, I’ve found myself sleeping less and less.

    The increased productivity is amazing. Especially when you realize that your competition is still in bed two or more hours after you wake up.

    Hopefully one day I’ll get to the point where I can sleep all day if I want! This technique will help give me a head start.

    Thanks for sharing!

  3. By the way, what was the 2nd characteristic that billionaires had in common?

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