#068: Sleep and Your Productivity [Podcast]

Recently, after what should have been a relaxing staycation with my wife, I confessed to her that I was feeling discouraged. We talked through a few possibilities without success, but then she asked me, “Are you discouraged or just tired?”


Photo courtesy of ©iStockphoto.com/sdominick

The fact is that it is incredibly easy to confuse these two feelings because the symptoms are similar.

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When I don’t get enough sleep, it impacts me in five ways:

  1. I’m less focused.
  2. I’m less creative.
  3. I’m less resilient.
  4. I’m less generous.
  5. I’m less productive.

Nothing is more important than sleep. Exercise, diet, and mental focus are all important, but they can’t make up for a lack of rest.

Here are eight tips for getting a better night’s rest.

  1. Avoid caffeinated drinks (especially after 4 p.m.).
  2. Eliminate negative input.
  3. Go to bed on time.
  4. Make sure the room is dark.
  5. Keep the temperature cool.
  6. Run a fan (or white noise generator).
  7. Use essential oils.
  8. Pray.

Listener Questions

  1. Jeff Sanders asked, “When it comes to sleep, what’s more important: quantity or quality?”
  2. Tabitha Ford asked, “Should I allow other sites to re-post my content?”
  3. John Burke asked, “How do I start to monetize my speaking events?”
  4. Egil Elling Elingsen asked, “Why do you use digital tools in your morning ritual?”
  5. Matthew Kenyon asked, “When is my platform big enough to monetize?”

Special Announcements

  1. We still have a few tickets left for the Platform Conference, which will be held in Dallas, Texas on November 3-5, 2013—just about a month away. We have a terrific lineup of speakers this year:
    • Lysa TerKeurst
    • Amy Porterfield
    • Derek Halpern
    • Cliff Ravenscraft
    • Stu McLaren
    • Ray Edwards
    • Jeff Goins
    • Ken Davis

    Also, until October 18 you can get a special $200 discount by using the code: OCTOBER.

  2. If you are considering launching your own platform—or just getting serious about it—you need to start with a self-hosted WordPress blog.

    This is not as complicated as it sounds. In fact, I have put together a step-by-step screencast on exactly how to do it.

    You don’t need any technical knowledge.By the way, I just updated this screencast a few weeks ago, so it has the latest and greatest information available. I walk you through the entire process in exactly 20 minutes.

  3. In my next podcast I will interview my wife, Gail, on the subject of “Entrepreneurship and Marriage: How to Accomplish Your Dreams Without Blowing Up Your Marriage.” If you have a question on this or ANY subject, please leave me a voicemail by clicking below:

    This is a terrific way to cross-promote your blog or website, because I will link to it, just like I did with the callers in this episode.

Episode Resources

In this episode I mentioned several resources, including:

Show Transcript

You can download a complete, word-for-word transcript of this episode here, courtesy of Ginger Schell, a professional transcriptionist, who handles all my transcription needs.

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Question: What things have you found helpful in getting a better night’s rest? You can leave a comment by clicking here.

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  • http://www.davebratcher.com/ Dave Bratcher

    This is the greatest area of struggle for me. Thanks for the great information and for reminding me of how important sleep is. I am going to recommit to making this a priority!

  • http://www.lindalochridge.com/ Linda Lochridge Hoenigsberg

    I had my annual physical the other day and my doctor asked me about my mood. I thought about it and said, “I don’t know…I’m not depressed and I’m not anxious…I’m just kind of, well, crabby!” I laughed and so did he (it’s hard to imagine me crabby) but the first thing he asked me was about my sleep, and I had to confess…it’s not great! Thanks for these tips, Michael.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      I’m so glad your doctor asked that question.

  • suattheintentionalhome

    Love that you included a transcript because I am a much better reader than listener. Just wanted to let you know the link above links to your Dinner Conversation transcript not the Sleep one. Thanks for the time and energy and heart you give your posts. I always learn something.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      Sorry about that. We will get it fixed shortly.

  • David Jockers

    Great message! As a physician myself, I would place quality sleep as one of the most important aspects of great health. I recommend my clients use Organic herbal teas before bed as well such as chamomile, valerian root, or passionflower or blended combinations of all 3. These help relax the brain, boost melatonin secretions and double as estrogen metabolite detoxifyers.

  • http://www.danerickson.net/ Dan Erickson

    I’m not good at sleeping even when I try. I’m moving into t new house next week. I’m going to take some extra afford to create a darker, cooler atmosphere for sleep.

  • http://www.chrisjeub.com/ Chris Jeub

    I wish I would have been more on top of your podcast schedule. I would have asked you about polyphasic sleep schedules. I’m REALLY getting into the Everyman schedule, have been since February. I love it, and once I got into it (it took a couple of months), fatigue tippered off and my body/mind became accustomed to it. What do you think, Michael? Do you have reservations about sleep schedules beyond the biphasic schedule?

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      I really haven’t researched it, Chris, though I was fascinated when you spoke about it. Thanks.

      • http://www.chrisjeub.com/ Chris Jeub

        All right, you’ve inspired me to pull my thoughts together. Check out my blog post on “My Fascinating 4-hour Sleep Schedule” http://www.chrisjeub.com/my-fascinating-4-hour-sleep-schedule/

        • http://www.jaysonfeltner.com/ Jayson Feltner

          I’m glad to see you’re sticking with the polyphasic sleep Chris. My schedule still doesn’t allow for multiple naps but my biphasic schedule has really transformed my life. I posted about it again yesterday.

  • Anne-Marie Gosser

    Hello Michael! I always turn to your transcripts. Thank you for providing them! (hearing loss makes reading my preferred). Today’s link is directing to episode #67 instead of #68. Just letting you know. Thanks!
    PS. Your transcriber does an excellent job!

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      Sorry about that. I think it’s fixed now. Thanks.

  • Patrick Hoffmann

    I am an Adult with ADD and this is such an important issue for everyone but in particular ADDer’s. If your taking medications for ADD or Depression they will interfere with your sleep and make you question everything you do during the day. I can’t stress enough for you to commit to setting up a nightly sleep routine and work at it. Fine tune it, and stick with it. Find a doctor that can help with the brain chatter, and turning off our drive to constantly be processing and thinking. I have had tremendous success with this and would invite anyone to email me with questions sabum9@sbcglobal.net

  • Guest

    It’s very difficult for me to get quality sleep as I’m currently working extra freelance jobs to help get my family out of debt – how can I reconcile this idea of getting more sleep with Dave Ramsey’s “work like no one else” philosophy? Both perspectives sound helpful, but somewhat conflicting!

  • http://www.rodneyrjyoung.com/ Rodney “RJ” Young

    How can I reconcile this idea of getting more sleep with Dave Ramsey’s “work like no one else” philosophy while getting out of debt? Both perspectives sound great, but somewhat conflicting! I end up working extra hours to help pay off debt, so sleeping 7-8 hrs is difficult to fit in.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      You need to steal time from something besides sleep. The issue is not the amount of time you are spending on certain tasks but your effectiveness.

  • Charles Pobee-Mensah

    I get my best sleep when my wife and I work together to plan out our evening and morning schedule. This includes figuring out how to deal with getting our 10 month old’s sleep schedule to work with ours. I’m looking forward to seeing a post about the evening ritual. I really believe that a better evening ritual will help me to get a stronger morning ritual.

    • http://TillerFamily.org/ John Tiller

      Great model, Charles! It’s very hard to sleep in a home where your not aligned with your spouse!

    • rabbimoffic

      I’ve got two young kids, and I know it’s hard to balance good sleep and parenting. I think young parents have to be extra forgiving of themselves when we don’t have the best sleep habits!

  • Nicoletta

    Leonardo da Vinci used to nap for fifteen minutes every four hours, for a total of one and a half hours of sleep a day. It was the only chance to be a painter, an architect, a sculptor, an inventor, etc.
    A scientific study based on sleep monitoring confirms that this method can work, most animals live this way.

    • rabbimoffic

      Michael has a great podcast and blog post on napping you may want to check out.

  • http://www.keithwebb.com/ Keith Webb

    For me sleep is easier if I avoid email in the evening. Emails bring things I’m excited about or things I’m worried. Either way, I can’t work on them until the morning if I’m going to sleep. So, better to read them after a good night’s sleep! Thanks for the article, Michael.

  • http://www.dalecallahan.com Dale Callahan

    Thank the Lord for wives of wisdom. My wife asks me that same question often and reminds my to never make a decision when tired or frustrated. I too struggle with this area because I like being a morning person and a late night person – and they conflict. Thanks for this reminder.

    • Christina

      Turn off the TV! I was in a terrible habit when my kids were young of zoning out in front of the TV after they went to bed. Then, I would wonder why I couldn’t sleep well. Not only am I sleeping better when I avoid or severely limit my TV time, but I’m more productive and happier.

      • Christina

        Sorry! I didn’t notice that I clicked reply. I meant to leave a normal comment. Oops!

    • http://TillerFamily.org/ John Tiller

      I also like being both a morning and late night person, Dale! The only way I’ve figured out to do this is to take 2-hour mid-day naps. But that’s not sustainable for me, so I tend to alternate seasons of early OR late productivity times.

      • http://www.dalecallahan.com Dale Callahan

        Yes – tried the nap thing and really hard to work into life these days;)

  • http://www.kenzimmermanjr.com/ Ken Zimmerman Jr.

    i have found a workout a few hours before bed helps along with reading until my eyes start wanting to shut. Working out too close to bed time will normally keep you awake although everyone’s body is a little different. A lot of times the ease of falling asleep is based on what I didn’t do than what I did do. Avoiding caffeine, working on a project, watching the news, etc. Good list, Michael. Sleep and drinking enough water are usually the most neglected health habits.

  • …..Dan

    I tell my colleagues who lament about not being able to sleep in to “put it on the front end’ — meaning that if they want that well rested feeling in the morning, they need to get to bed at a reasonable time. In all the folks I talk to, quite a bit of the root cause is that they tend to stay up too late, either because they are doing too much or because they don’t allow their body time to wind down.

    And I completely echo a previous comment of turning off the TV.

    • http://TillerFamily.org/ John Tiller

      That’s right, Dan. We’ve got to be intentional about wind down time … and the TV rarely does that well.

    • rabbimoffic

      And turning off the computer too. The bright lights from the screen and the (hopefully) bright thoughts they bring to our heads can keep us awake.

  • Kimberly Adams

    Interesting to see your post on sleep. I have been reading T. S. Wiley’s book called, “Light’s Out!” It’s fascinating. She says that ever since electricity, we have messed with our natural circadian rhythm which has impacted all of our hormones, including insulin, cortisol, melatonin, etc. (and not just our sex hormones) which she attributes to the tremendous increase of obesity, diabetes, cancer and heart disease. She argues that we really aren’t that different physiologically from ancient man but with our technology, are messing with nature. Also, the ability to have carbs all year long (it used to be we only ate them in the Spring and Summer when they were plentiful, stored up our fat for the winter to survive and rest during the shorter days) has created “endless summer” which is why insulin is so out of whack. Her recommendations – go to bed as close to sundown as possible, keep all light out of the bedroom, including electronics, wake up close to dawn, and minimize carbs in the winter. Close to how Ayurveda medicine works too.

    • http://TillerFamily.org/ John Tiller

      This makes complete sense, Kimberly.

      It’s crazy to think about how many unintended results technology may have on us that we haven’t even identified!

      • Kimberly Adams

        Thanks John. Sounds almost too good to be true that sleep may be the magic pill – not much money to be made in that protocol though. The only one benefitting is you!

  • http://blog-dein-geld-im-internet.blogspot.de/ Güngör Bayrak

    Its really helpfull fpr effective Business to get a break. For focussing, for creativity, emotional fitness, healthy und better productivity you have to sleep. But did you ever heard of the so called “100-hour-week-working” ?

    Thats the way of work especially Leonardo Da Vinci was able to do for almost the half of his life. He was a great man for humanity perhaps a Genius. And he was doing like this – 100 Hour Week Working.

  • Lydia Sosenko

    Thanks Michael for bringing up such an important topic to
    help productivity. Also would like to mention that if the above tips don’t help,
    consider talking to a medical professional knowledgeable in sleep issues,
    especially if you snore. 80-90% of people with obstructive sleep apnea remain
    undiagnosed (often a killer to productivity), and an area I am passionate in bringing
    up the awareness. Thanks again! (and sorry for posting originally on the wrong post series!)
    Lydia Sosenko DDS

  • http://www.michaelfokken.com/ MICHAEL FōKKEN

    I noticed this same thing. For me it wasn’t as much the productivity, but more my attitude. I was so de-motivated and depressed when I was going to bed way too late for way too many days in a row. The funny thing is I wrote about it on my website, at almost 1:00 in the morning!


  • http://www.jmlalonde.com Joe Lalonde

    One thing that works for me is to get nice and toasty. This seems to be in contrast to what works for you but I swear by pulling the blankets around me, covering myself (even my head), and getting nice and warm. I’m asleep in seconds!

  • http://www.nateanglin.com/ Anwell Steve

    I believe that when you lack sleep, you also lack productivity. Having the right amount of sleep is very essential towards a productive task and best results. :)

  • http://danielzickler.com/ Daniel Zickler

    Thanks for another great podcast. Do you have any recommendations for sleep optimisation for people, who have to get up in the middle of the night, save a life and go back to bed 30 minutes later like Doctors or parents?

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      I’m afraid I don’t, Daniel. That’s a great question.

  • Brian

    Great Episode. In looking back I think confusing tired with discouraged has been a major factor for me. Going forward I will work on being more in tune with the differences. Thank you.

  • PaulVandermill

    Great podcast Michael. The importance of sleep is underrated!

    I use something called an UP by Jawbone. This is a bracelet which has the technology to measure my sleep amongst other things. Sleep is divided into light and deep sleep. I have noticed that when 5 of my sleep hours are spent in deep sleep, my ability to function in all areas is seemingly optimal. Sleep is huge!

    • Jim Martin

      Your comment regarding how you function when you get 5 hours of deep sleep is interesting. This made me think about my own sleep patterns.

  • http://www.janabotkin.net/ Jana Botkin

    Okay, this just made me laugh! You said you’d be right back to talk a bit more about how to get another night’s sleep. Then the music came on with the words, “Don’t close your eyes, don’t close your eyes. . .” Thanks for the grin. 8-)

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      That is pretty funny!

  • chrisreal3

    Great post Michael…when I think of my most productive days they almost invariably begin the night before with getting to bed on time. Interestingly, all throughout Genesis 1 we hear God referring to “the evening and the morning” comprised a day (see Genesis 1:5 for the first instance of this). So this makes complete sense…”begin” your day with a good nights sleep!

  • http://juliesunne.com/ Julie Sunne

    I sleep well when I finally get there, but I tend to “burn the candle at both ends” to get more quantity of time in for tasks. I know I’m less productive and don’t enjoy the gifts each day offers, but I can’t seem to get consistent with an earlier bedtime. Thanks for the great tips, Michael. I’m redoubling my efforts to be intentional with my daily schedule and my nighttime routine.

  • Anne Marie

    Some very basic ideas and helpful hints. Don’t eat chocolate, drink OJ or eat sugar-filled items like watermelon.

  • Kristy Sturgill

    My Husband and I are both in college full time and we both work a lot of hours a week. To say the least we struggle on making sleep a priority. By friday we both feel that discouragement, but once we get quality sleep on saturday we are back to our ambitious attitude! He works nights and I work days so right now we just make things work. You spoke about the importance of going to bed together, and we do sort of. He lays down with me until I fall asleep and then he is out the door for work, and I lay with him until he falls asleep and then I go to work. Its a temporary situation, but we are making it work.

  • http://www.musicmarketing.com David Hooper

    For those of you who use a white noise machine on a regular basis, I’m curious to know if you’re able to get to sleep without it.

  • Craig Huggart

    Hey Michael. Great show. I plan to check out your ideas on essential oils. I travel a lot and have really worked hard on my sleep routine. I wrote a guest post at bengreenfield on this subject. Check it out at http://www.bengreenfieldfitness.com/2012/12/12-tips-for-sleeping-better-than-a-baby/.

  • Trina Lee

    Keeping my phone out of my bedroom is one habit I’m working on. I wake up once a night and have found that if I don’t look at anything, especially my phone, I can go back to sleep much quicker.

  • http://ThatGuyKC.com/ ThatGuyKC

    Okay, true confession time. I’m chronically sleep deprived. I’ve been trying to survive on 4-5 hours of sleep for the last 5 years. No joke. That’s about what i’ve gotten on average during the week.

    I’m finding it really difficult to juggle 3 kids, a full-time corporate job, a part-time ministry role, building my own platform, exercising, eating right and spending quality & quantity time w/ my family. This episode hit me right between the eyes. The hard truth is that I am more productive, creative, focused and present when I’m well rested. It just doesn’t always shake down that way.

    Thank you for the encouragement and tips. I’m trying to define workflows for more things so that they can be efficiently executed (social media updates, blog post writing, chores, workouts) and I then have more time to sleep.

  • http://www.marilynluinstra.com/ Marilyn Luinstra

    “I stay up late and I get up early. I always have.” Margaret Thatcher. I wish I could say that. I fall asleep in a flash.

  • http://b2binbound.com/blog Greg Elwell

    Great topic and helpful tips! Came across a neuroscientist from Oxford who did a TED talk on “Why we Sleep” had some really interesting insights. Put that video together with some other experts on the topic of sleep and peak performance here: http://blog.adigo.com/bid/316321/Advice-from-the-Experts-Sleep-Your-Way-to-Peak-Performance

  • Fr. Charles Wood

    Really good advice in episode, but “bad advice” in Theme Song: Hope you’ll accept this humorous observation. I’m wondering if anyone else noted the irony toward the end of the episode when Michael invited listeners to give their tips, hints and practices for getting a good night’s sleep, and then it faded into, “Don’t close your eyes, don’t close your eyes,” the bridge of the “This Is Your Life Theme Song”!

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      Yep, someone else pointed that out. ;-)

  • Shaun Cavanaugh

    Excellent podcast topic Michael…this motivated me to get to sleep by pm every night this week. Very nice to be able to wake up at 430am, workout, and feel great throughout the workday. Keep up the good work, my wife and I really like your show.

  • Cindy Bray

    Sound advise Michael! I just discovered you and am going through your content.
    I use essential oil patches and most of what you have suggested.


    Recently fell in love with essential oils! They’re great for relaxing after a long day in the salon. Also really appreciate you answering my listener question. Thanks so much!

  • Dan Tredo

    I’ve really worked on sleeping better in 2013. I’m way less irritable and despondent, and much more optimistic and energetic. My faith has even been revitalized with better sleep. I’ve already implemented everything on your list (except the oils). One extra tip – LIGHT A CANDLE! I have a candle at the side of my bed, and as I start to get drowsy, I simply reach over and cover the candle to put it out. Works amazing.