10,000 Hours of Sleep

november 10, 2023

In his bestseller, Outliers, Malcolm Gladwell famously floated the idea that it takes 10,000 of practice to be really proficient at something. He did not make this up. He used a study that examined this by studying highly skilled violinists and their habits. It was published in the Psychological Review and has since been hotly debated. In his book, Essentialism, Greg McKeown does not argue about this point but wisely notes that in this study, practice was found to be important but that having 8.5 hours of sleep every night was the supporting factor in the success of these violinists. That’s a lot of sleep, even for those who get adequate sleep!

Most of us have well north of 10,000 hours of sleep practice and for many, it may seem as though we are getting worse, not more proficient. We have to flip this narrative in order for it to make sense but it clearly makes sense to do so. Instead of sacrificing sleep to be better at activities in our lives, perhaps the sleep should be the priority in order that we may excel at the accomplishments we aspire to. According to McKeown, “sleep is what allows us to operate at our highest level of contribution so that we can achieve more, in less time.” (p.99)

It is clear that we are not used to making sleep a priority but with a little thought and effort it is achievable. Here at Biosential we talk about supporting sleep, not just with our product, Zenbev Drink Mix, but in a broad way. First, commit to making sleep a priority. Then, examine areas of your life that are chipping away at this. Is your bedroom conducive to sleep? Are you taking time to prepare a sleep ritual? Are you consuming food or drink that fractures your sleep? Are you staring at screens before sleep or when you wake up at night? Small, thoughtful changes to habits and your environment could be the difference between you performing adequately and greatness. Try it and not only will you see more success in the areas you work hard to succeed at, you’ll actually also feel great getting the proper sleep you need. Win, win, indeed!