Facebook COO, Sheryl Sandberg: “I’d force myself to get more sleep.”

It’s hard to imagine that anyone holding a COO position at Facebook and ranked among the most powerful and influential business leaders would admit to many regrets in the building of their career, but Sheryl Sandberg has one thing she would go back and change – the amount of sleep she got. In her widely popular book ‘Lean In‘ (currently in it’s 24th week on the NY Times bestseller list), Sheryl addresses the need for people to feel like they can do it all and the “new normal” in the American workplace – including longer working hours and technology that makes it difficult for us to turn off work and go to sleep. Feeling like there were never enough hours in the day to juggle work and family, she dealt with the demands “by skimping on sleep” and admits that it was “a common but often counterproductive approach… Sleep deprivation just makes people anxious, irritable and confused.”

Sheryl backs up her statements on work and sleep with a number of studies and resources, including the Harvard Business Review’s publication on ‘Sleep Deficit”, which equates mental impairment by sleep deprivation from four or five hours of sleep a night with that of a legally impaired blood alcohol level.

“If I could go back and change one thing about how I lived in those early years,” Sheryl says, “I would force myself to get more sleep.”

Hindsight is always 20/20, but the understanding that a good night’s sleep can actually help, not hinder your career doesn’t have to be.

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