Momentum Podcast: 433

Sleep Shortcut Nightmare

by Alex Charfen

Episode Description

Let's be honest, sleep can be frustrating. A lot of entrepreneurs, if they could, would continue to build and grow and skip sleep altogether. I am obsessed with sleep. It is so incredibly important. 

A good nights sleep is what allows you to be present and aware. If you don't sleep, you are impaired. Skipping sleep is not a success strategy, it is a desperation strategy. If you are not fully present and aware you are putting yourself in constraint and you are going to negatively impact your health, your life, your business, and your team. Self-care is a shortcut to success. If you're ready to put the keystone habits into your life that will support you and help you create success, I want to help you.

Full Audio Transcript

In a moment I'm gonna share a question with you that one of our members posted in one of our private membership groups. It's about sleep. It's about an extreme sleep schedule that includes staying up all night that makes her feel so alive and she wanted my feedback.

I'm Alex Charfen, and this is The Momentum Podcast made for empire builders, game changers, trail blazers, shot takes, record breakers, world makers and creators of all kinds, those among us who can't turn it off and don't know why anyone would want to. We challenge complacency, destroy apathy and we are obsessed with creating momentum so we can roll over bureaucracy and make our greatest contribution.

Sure, we pay attention to their rules, but only so that we can bend them, break them then rewrite them around our own will. We don't accept our destiny, we define it. We don't understand defeat because you only lose if you stop, and we don't know how. While the rest of the world strives for average and clings desperately to the status quo we are the minority, the few who are willing to hallucinate there could be a better future. And instead of just daydreaming of what could be, we endure the vulnerability and exposure it takes to make it real. We are the evolutionary hunters, clearly the most important people in the world. Because entrepreneurs are the only source of consistent positive human evolution, and we always will be.

Sleep is frustrating. Let's be honest. You may love it as an entrepreneur, it may be something that makes you feel renewed, it may be something that's exciting for you, but can we be real? As entrepreneurs if we could skip sleep altogether we would. If we could just continue to build and grow and make things happen, there's no way we would lay down unless we absolutely had to.

Now, one of the things that I coach entrepreneurs I work with on obsessively is sleep. I'm obsessed with sleep. I've been asked to share my research on circadian rhythms and sleep for entrepreneurs on a lot of different podcasts and events that I've been to. I've been asked to talk about how people like us sleep and what the effective sleep is on people like us and how do we get into really healthy productive supportive sleep patterns?

As a result a lot of the conversation in our groups is around sleep, and health, and wellness, and creating momentum and supporting your body. And so every once in a while I'll get a question in one of my groups that is something that creates a lot of conversation and I want to share it with you so that I can share my opinion with you.

So, this is the question we got. It says, "Okay. I have a super weird question. I've been doing a sleep cycle that's like this: I work all night then I sleep 14 hours, then I sleep eight hours the next night then I work all night the next night, then I sleep 14 hours and I sleep eight hours. And I feel so alive with this. I'm getting way more big things done. I have more energy. I feel fulfilled. My family prefers it. Is it okay to try this for a while? This is the happiest I've ever been. So, am I crazy with this?"

Well, when I first read this post my instinct was to make a comment as quickly as I possibly could because I did not want this taking off and being a new strategy that people in my group used. Because any expert on sleep will tell you that the pattern that I just read is incredibly destructive, and could actually cause massive damage for anybody who's doing it. In fact, here's what happens when you miss a night of sleep. Your body almost immediately goes into an alert and towards fight or flight because not sleeping makes you impaired. It actually can impair you as much as drinking.

So, think about that. You're skipping nights of sleep and you're driving around with your kids. You are impaired. You're not a hundred percent there. When this discussion continued in the Facebook group I had a couple other people say, "Well, I skip nights of sleep sometimes too and it does make a little cranky." Well, it doesn't just make you cranky it is so much more than making you cranky. When you skip a night of sleep, you completely throw off your entire circadian rhythm. So the rhythm that your body uses to get you up, to keep you focused, to keep you aware throughout the day, to keep the right chemical composition in the body so that you are present, and aware, and focused is completely thrown off, and it goes into a panic mode.

It starts using thyroid, and adrenaline, and hormones that it normally wouldn't use just to keep you at some type of stasis or even kill. Not sleeping creates massive impairment, it creates massive cognitive impairment, massive emotional impairment and massive connective impairment. In fact, it is proven that when you skip sleep you're not as emotionally connected to those around you and you're not as empathetic to those around you.

So, if you're an entrepreneur who's leading a movement, who's building a tribe empathy is how we relate to the people around us. Empathy is how we understand what our customers need. Skipping sleep actually removes our ability to be empathetic. It lowers the ability you have to create empathy and to empathize with those around you. But that's not all.

See when I read this sleep schedule what I read is a schedule of somebody who is trying to maximize the amount that they can personally do. It's somebody who's trying to work all the time. It's somebody who's trying to see how much can they actually have happen. And here's why I'm against not only this sleep schedule because it's unhealthy, because it's gonna destroy you, because of everything else, but because if you're in my group and you're at a million dollars or more, you're at several hundred thousand dollars or more this is the sleep schedule of somebody who is going to do. It is not the schedule of someone who's going to have done.

And the switch from doing to having things done is the switch from doing it yourself to leading the people around you. And I have news for you, if you're skipping nights of sleep you are damaging your team. If you are not taking care of yourself, and present, and aware, you are a punitive leader and your team is afraid to tell you about it.

If you're doing things like creating a crazy sleep schedule or working all the time or doing some other over-the-top strategy if it in any way impairs your ability to the present, impairs your ability to relate to people, to the people around you or impairs the ability that you have to hear what is going on for your team, then it is damaging and it's not progressive.

And as far as the feeling of feeling the best you ever have in your life, or getting so much done, or this is the happiest I've ever been, well, let me tell you why. If you start a sleep schedule like this here's what happens; your body actually goes into a panic mode and your body, you're entire organism has one goal, to keep you alive. And if you go into a place where you stop sleeping, where you're not taking care of yourself, where you are not actually replenishing the body, here's what the body does, it starts dumping hormones to keep you in stasis and to keep you working in the right direction.

So, why might you feel so good, and have such a fulfilling and incredible experience here? Well because your body is using thyroid, and adrenaline, and serotonin, and dopamine if it can get any and it's overloading you. You're using cortisols, you're using stress hormones, you're putting your body into the place where you're in a fight or flight mode which causes a temporary boost in metabolism, boost in your immune system, and boost in your ability to fight off disease. But it is temporary, it is short, and when it goes away there is a massive crash. Because your body is trying to keep you alive it will use whatever it can when it thinks you are in fight or flight. Then the second it realizes you aren't, it will pull it all back and you will crash like crazy.

So, that euphoric feeling of causing massive stress in your body and feeling like it's the most productive you've ever been, or the most fulfilled you've ever been, or the best you've ever felt, it is a feeling that is misleading because it's your body trying to stay alive and trying to make sure that the organism, you don't die, but it's also burning through all kinds of hormones and chemicals that it shouldn't be burning through. You're essentially redlining the body without replenishment, without sleep, without restoring the body. That is not how any of us should try and live. And the challenges when you switch from doing it all to having it done, here's what you also need to know that you switch from. You switch from actually doing activity to leading activity.

That is a tectonic, massive, complete and total shift because to go from leading, sorry to go from doing to leading the amount of awareness that is required is exponentially greater. To go from doing to leading, you have to go from managing yourself and your emotions to being able to clearly communicate to a team, to hold them accountable, to be supportive, to make them feel safe, to make them feel like they have a really high chance of success. When you can pull that off as an entrepreneur, that's when your team actually wins and grows. But you're not gonna be able to do that if you're not sleeping, if you're not present, if you're not seeing what is going on with your team.

When you're skipping sleep, when you're doing everything, you're trying to achieve everything but when you start growing a business you have to go from trying to achieve everything to teaching your team to achieve, to setting the people up around you to achieve. This means you need to learn who they're, their personality, their strengths, their challenges, what is it that they're bringing to the table and how are they going to help your business grow?

Those questions are not simple, trivial questions to answer, but they are absolutely required of any leader who expects to effectively lead human beings overtime and create a successful team. And the challenge with those questions is, is that we have to be there, be aware, be present and have all of our faculties in order to answer them. Because if you're like me you're probably not be best at reading people, you're probably not the best at understanding people. If you are, consider yourself lucky. You have an advantage here, but that doesn't mean you should create a disadvantage by skipping sleep, by overworking yourself, and by not taking care of yourself.

And then the last point here that I wanna make on any type of work strategy that causes you to increase the pressure and noise in your life is that eventually it's going to cause massive constrain. Skipping sleep is not a success strategy. Skipping sleep is a desperation strategy. Skipping sleep is a I don't know what I'm gonna do with my life strategy. Skipping sleep is a I'm at my last wits' end strategy. And skipping sleep, let's be honest, it's a strategy used by people who take drugs and do all kinds of other crazy stuff that you probably wouldn't do.

And so when it comes to getting productivity out of yourself for your business, when it comes to getting what you want done for your business and making things happen instead of going to extremes here's a simple way to look at it. The more you take care of yourself and the more presence and awareness you can create for yourself on a daily basis, the faster your business is going to scale and grow, and the faster the people around you are going to scale and grow.

The fact is that self-care is a gateway drug to success. Self-care is a massive shortcut to success. But so little of us use it because self-care in the moment feels slow, and it doesn't feel exciting, and it doesn't feel different, and it doesn't feel novel or innovative like staying up all night or getting some crazy sleep schedule. But the reality is, is that wildly successful people when tracked overtime are creatures of habit and routine. They get up at the same time, they go to sleep at the same time, they have a routine that physiologically supports their body and then they can cognitively create their success. They have the mental awareness to create their success.

So I realize there are a ton of new strategies in the entrepreneurial world today. I've heard all kinds, like this sleep schedule is crazy, but I've also heard another one where you work for four hours, sleep a half hour, work for four hours, sleep a half hour, work for four hours sleep a half hour, and that way in every 24 hours you only sleep three hours. I can't imagine what someone looks like after five or six days of that. But I've heard of people trying all different types of strategies like this.

Let me present you with an alternative strategy. Take care of yourself like you're a professional athlete. Make sure that you are present and aware and have all of your faculties at any given time and you are as optimized as any human being around you. Make sure that when you show up to a meeting, if it's gonna go long, you can take every single person in the room to the deep end of the pool, be present and aware, and get more out of that meeting than anybody else.

And when you're leading people, take care of yourself for the level that when you show up you are grounded, you're present, you're aware, you hear your team when they communicate with you and you can communicate with them in a way that they hear you consistently. If you do these things rather than crazy over-the-top self-defeating strategies, if you do these things, if you are present, if you're aware, if you show up for your team, if you can hear them, if they can hear you, if you can create the future, if you can go into the present, sorry, go into the future, create a new reality then come back to the present and insist it becomes real, that's what we want to do as entrepreneurs, that's who we are as entrepreneurs, and that's what ultimate success looks like.

So, in order to create the company you want become the person who can run it. Be more present, be more aware, create the strategies that help you do those things, put the keystone habits in place to keep you there, hydrate on a daily basis, breathe, move, eat foods that physiologically support your body and you'll see your entire success explode. There's no shortcuts when it comes to taking care of yourself. But the more you do, the more success you'll experience.

If you're ready to put the keystone habits into your life that are going to physiologically support you and create more success, I wanna help you. I created a product exactly for entrepreneurs like you and I who wanna do more, be more, show up in the world in a bigger way and get more out of their businesses. It's called Momentum Masterclass. And it includes the keystone habits that will change your life.

In fact, [Misha 00:14:15] who's a new member of my team just a couple of days ago has been going through Momentum Masterclass and on our hurdle she suggested that we nominate our team for a Nobel Peace Prize because Momentum Masterclass makes such a massive difference in your life.

If you are ready to be able to do more, achieve more, have hyperfocus and achieve your goals on a monthly basis, go to, check out the short presentation there, join the course, and I can't wait to see you in the Facebook group.

Thank You For Listening!

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With gratitude,


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