The tech industry is a sleep-deprived bunch that seems to worship insomnia.
There’s Marissa Mayer admitting to 130-hour work weeks at Google, pulling at least one-all nighter a week and sleeping under her desk when she had to.
There’s Twitter and Square co-founder Jack Dorsey who worked 16-20-hour days in 2009, 8-10 hours a day at each company, shrugging it off with a “I don’t sleep much, but it’s enough.”
And it’s not just tech executives. A 2013 Gallup poll found that Americans sleep on average about 6.8 hours a night, not 8. We’re using those extra hours we spend awake to work from home on our smartphones and tablets.
But sleep deprivation has consequences. After reading our article on how stressed out computers programmers are, pressured to work 24-7, and how they suffer from “imposter syndrome,” Dr. Bob Albers of the New Mexico Center for Sleep Medicine emailed us.
That’s when you’re sure that all the other coders you work with are smarter and more skilled than you are and you fear being found out as a fake.
Albers suggested that a lack of sleep might actually cause “imposter syndrome.”
He told us,”Inadequate sleep impairs positive emotional memories, yet retains most of the negative emotional memories (we may view ourselves as imposter).”
He also said people need more sleep than they think they do.
“Sleep is primary for the restoration of the brain, yet many promote myths of needing little sleep. Inadequate sleep is rarely mentioned, when writing about the stress of work. Articles may suggest adequate sleep (which young people think means 5-6 hours per day), but never discusses research supporting 7-8 hours. I would suggest that a programmer would be more productive and accurate with 8-9 hours of sleep, daily, not just the catch-up on off days.”
So how can you tell if you are getting enough sleep?
These two viral videos posted by YouTube channel In59Seconds can help.
This first one is a sleep deprivation test.
The second is a trick to help you wake up feeling refreshed called “the 90-minute rule.”
By the way, there is an app for that, the Sleep Cycle alarm clock. Put it on your bed while you sleep and it determines when you are in the light sleep cycle, the best time to wake you.
It has an 4.5-star rating out of 5, from 67,000+ reviewers.
That’s the kind of happiness that only a good night’s sleep can bring.