The Economics and Importance of Sleep


I just listened to a part 1 of a Freakonomics Podcast episode called “The Economics of Sleep” and I found it pretty fascinating.

The episode talked about how sleep, or lack thereof, can possibly be the cause of the health and income gaps between whites and blacks.

Very interesting stuff. That got me thinking about how important sleep is to me.

Those who know me know that I am an awesome sleeper. I even call myself a “power napper extraordinaire” in my podcast introduction.

I can sleep pretty much anywhere at anytime. I am open and honest about taking siestas during the workday. 20-minute naps are my forte.

When my child Maya was born and sleep was at a premium, I even experimented with biphasic sleep.

Like many others, if I don’t get enough sleep, it causes a domino effect where I’m so tired that I’m not productive at work, I don’t get to the gym, and am too tired to cook so I eat like crap. I pretty much become a lump that gets nothing done.

We hear all of these stories about super-productive and successful people who can run on 4 or 5 hours of sleep a day. I am not one of those people, nor do I strive to be (in the sleep sense. I certainly hope to be as successful as they are one day).

Finding that sweet spot of enough sleep to be alert throughout the day and having enough time to get everything done is important. Taking a long-term view of your health and how sleep impacts it is critical to happiness.

Make sure you find that all-important balance.

How much sleep do you get? Is it enough? I’d love to hear from you. Write your thoughts in the comments, tweet at me @mikewchan, or email me at

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Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

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