Who Gets The Most Sleep? Turns Out, It’s Senior Executives

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Authors Rasmus Hougaard and Jacqueline Carter assessed over 35,000 c-suite level executives and interviewed 250 more for their upcoming book, The Mind of the Leader: How to Lead Yourself, Your People, and Your Organization for Extraordinary Results.

One particularly interesting thing they found? Senior executives, generally speaking, get more sleep than their lower-level employees.

“There are two possible explanations for this,” Carter and Hougaard wrote in an article for Harvard Business Review. “Either senior executives, with the help of assistants and hard-working middle managers, do less and take more time for sleep. Or senior executives have had the wisdom and discipline throughout their career to get enough sleep and thereby maintain a high-performance level without burning out.”

Senior executives get more sleep office coffeeStock-Asso/Shutterstock

These two authors believe it’s the latter: that successful leaders know they need adequate sleep, and plan accordingly. That’s definitely the case for executives like Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, who tries to get 8 hours a night, and Microsoft founder Bill Gates, who aims for 7 hours.

The authors found that 68% of non-executive leaders only get five to seven hours of sleep each night, rather than the recommended 7-9. While some people seem to be hard-wired to need less shut-eye, most people really do need to get enough sleep in order to perform their best at work.

“It used to be a badge of honor to brag about sleeping few hours, but our research should serve as inspiration for aspiring leaders to make sleep sacrosanct,” Carter and Hougaard wrote. “The key message: If you want to be an effective leader, and rise in the ranks, get enough sleep.”

[Editor’s Note: The information provided should not be considered a substitute for professional advice. Please consult a sleep doctor or other medical expert if questions arise around one’s own health.]

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Joe Auer

Joe Auer is the editor of Mattress Clarity. He mainly focuses on mattress reviews and oversees the content across the site. He likes things simple and takes a straightforward, objective approach to his reviews. Joe has personally tested nearly 250 mattresses and always recommends people do their research before buying a new bed. He has been testing mattresses for over 5 years now, so he knows a thing or two when it comes to mattress selection. He has been cited as an authority in the industry by a number of large publications. When he isn't testing sleep products, he enjoys working out, reading both fiction and non-fiction, and playing classical piano. He enjoys traveling as well, and not just to test out hotel mattresses! Joe has an undergraduate degree from Wake Forest University and an MBA from Columbia University.