Well, not quite.But I am trying to learn from violinists. In Anders Ericcson’s famous study, concert violinists reported that except for practice itself, sleep was the second most important factor in improving as violinists. The top performers slept an average of 8 ½ hours out of every 24, including a 20 to 30 minute midafternoon nap. That’s 2 hours a day more than the average American! So why do we (pastors especially?) continue to sacrifice sleep in an attempt to be more productive?
As Tony Schwartz points out in Sleep is more important than food, the research is unanimous: “even small amounts of sleep deprivation take a significant toll on our health, our mood, our cognitive capacity and our productivity….Many of the effects we suffer are invisible. Insufficient sleep, for example, deeply impairs our ability to consolidate and stabilize learning that occurs during the waking day. In other words, it wreaks havoc on our memory.”
The myth of sleep less do more
Speaking personally, I know in my heart of hearts that Tony is right, at least in the long-term. However, in the short and medium term I find that I can drive myself to do more by sleeping less. That’s probably why the myth of “sleep less, do more” persists for most of us. It appears to work.