You Need to Understand Why Sleep Deprivation Destroys Performance (sleep part 1)

by Dec 20, 2019Entrepreneur, Reason, Strength4 comments


Ahem. There are some affiliate links on this page. If you buy something from me, I can afford to take my girlfriend out for dinner. That makes her very happy. Read my full affiliate disclosure here.

Sleep deprivation destroys both your cognitive and athletic performance. It affects memory, robs you of strength, and kills your decision making. Even so, some people romanticize the idea that you must overwork yourself to be a high performer. You don’t. You’re limiting your ability to function at a high level when you don’t sleep. A less than optimal state for someone working to take control of their income and build wealth.

This is the first post in a 3 post series on sleep. In this chapter, I’m going to explain why the hustler mindset pushed on social media is holding you back. In the second chapter, I’ll explain why you sleep and its benefits. And in the third chapter, I’ll give you some tips to improve sleep. Enjoy!

The History of Hustle Porn

A long time ago, back in the days of the iPhone 7, a couple of struggling social media influencers couldn’t attract online followers. So, they sought wisdom from Ferret, the Social Media Sage. This is a rough approximation of the conversation:

Ugly Jack: “I post pics of my butt on Instagram every day, but I can’t get anyone to follow me.”

Ugly Ben: “Same here. And without followers, no company will pay me to promote their [insert random, unnecessary product here].”

Ferret, the Social Media Sage: “Ugly, you are, yes? Follow you they won’t when ugly you are.”

Ugly Ben: “But Master Ferret, how can we get rich without doing any work if we’re ugly?”

Ferret, the Social Media Sage: “Find a new way to exploit others’ insecurities, you must.”

Ugly Jack: “That’s it! We’ll post pics of ourselves standing next to fancy sports cars and make everyone think we own them.”

Ugly Ben: “But we don’t own any fancy cars. We’re ugly losers.”

Ugly Jack: “No problem, Bro. We’ll rent them. Everyone will be so jealous.”

Ugly Ben: “Yeah. We’ll make people think we’re super successful because we work 20 hours a day. Then we’ll make them think they’re losers because they aren’t working as hard as us.”

Ugly Jack: “Yeah, and we’ll sell some useless get-rich-quick program. Everyone will buy it if they think they can be as rich as us. Thanks, Master Ferret!”

So, our intrepid duo got started on their scheme. But Ugly Jack and Ugly Ben soon ran into a problem. Say “sleep deprivation” out loud. Sounds terrible, doesn’t it? It conjures up an image of a burned-out zombie. It has bags under its eyes and is slumping in front of a computer. It’s shoveling spoonfuls of instant coffee into its mouth.

Ugly Jack and Ugly Ben couldn’t monetize that image. It’s like trying to attract customers by using one of those hairless cats as your cute and cuddly mascot. No way it would work.

Sphynx cat

Creepy sphynx cat

So, they came up with a new image to stoke your envy: the hustling entrepreneur. Someone with a huge house who drives exotic sports cars. This person is so carefree, they can pause for pictures while boarding their private jet. Then post it on the Internet. A fictional character who changes the world by not sleeping.

Then, after they’ve got your jealousy juices flowing, Ugly Jack and Ugly Ben convince you that you’re lazy because you aren’t making the same sacrifice to change the world. Finally, after they play on your insecurity for a while, they make the pitch. Give them money, and they’ll give you the secret to massive success.

And thus, the birth of hustle porn. The fetishization of people overworking themselves.

Strength and Reason = Strong Mind and Strong Body

It shouldn’t shock you that we here at Strength and Reason HQ believe in both a sharp mind and a healthy body. After all, it’s in our name. We work to build the mental and physical to cultivate positivity and confidence. It comes in knowing how to make better decisions and understanding how people influence us. Or in lifting more weight, and feeling better in general. Remember, the goal is to build wealth to gain independence. A strong mind and a strong body is a cornerstone of that goal.

So far, I’ve focused on the mind with posts about reason, responsibility, and mindset. In this post, I’m going to take the first step into the strength/physical side of the equation and talk about sleep. It’s imperative to get right because it impacts your physical and mental states.

Entrepreneurial success requires both mental and physical high-performance. You must be ultra-productive while being smart about how you go about it. Sleep elevates your productivity by improving your:

  • Cognition and focus,
  • Mood,
  • Innovation and creativity, and
  • Decision making.

Sleep also decreases the number of mistakes you make.

Notice that all my 5 Factors of Success are cognitive. Additionally, meaningful action has a physical component. All become harder when you’re tired. Lack of sleep, thus, harms your success.

So, when you don’t get enough sleep, you fail before you boot your laptop in the morning. Don’t fail before you begin.

Hustle Porn is a National Scourge – Someone Think of the Children!

My Thoughts on the Internet, a Brief Digression

You can divide the Internet into three realms: 1) Amazing and Awesome, 2) Yeah, Whatever, and 3) Are You Kidding Me? Each domain contains a unique constellation of information that serves a common purpose. I describe each below.

Amazing and Awesome

The Internet is the pinnacle of human achievement. What else has ever put such a vast amount of information at your fingertips? It’s an outlet for creativity and alternative viewpoints, the likes of which you’ve never seen. Today, you have more opportunities to build wealth than ever before. This is the Amazing and Awesome realm.

Two types of people live in the real world: talkers and doers. Doers are the innovators, small business owners, intelligent content creators, and the like. Doers call the Amazing and Awesome realm home. This is where the world moves forward, and it’s a wondrous place to live.

Yeah, Whatever

The Yeah, Whatever realm is the biggest section of the Internet. Celebrity gossip, song lyrics, cat videos, and similar content are here. The Yeah, Whatever field isn’t as incredible as the Amazing and Awesome realm. But it serves a purpose. It provides the distractions that make endless meetings and slow-moving bureaucratic lines tolerable. Even so, the Yeah, Whatever content doesn’t improve your human capital. So, it’s a dangerous place to spend a lot of time.

Are You Kidding Me?

The Are You Kidding Me? realm is that sad corner of the Internet inhabited by people who can’t escape their echo chamber. People whose world view is one platitude stacked on top of another. This is the black hole where lazy thinkers hide from the facts that threaten their precious beliefs.

Social media hacks spend their days spewing garbage all over this realm. You’ll find here the binary thinkers whose only logic is: if you’re [not] X, then you’re Y. The talkers live here.

Talkers contribute nothing to society. Their purpose is nothing more than to suck up oxygen and exhale carbon dioxide. The people who push hustle porn are talkers. Avoid them.

Hustle Porn is Killing You

Lack of sleep has become an entrepreneur’s badge of honor. Social media posts shame you because you’re asleep at 4:30 AM. You’re but a mere mortal. All the while, the entrepreneur gods who walk the Earth are up and getting stuff done. Those self-anointed hustle deities do it all. They workout, build their personal brand, and launch one successful business after another. They laugh while the rest of us struggle to balance spending time with our GF and figuring out SEO.

The entrepreneur gods want you to believe that you’re lazy. And that you struggle because you sleep seven or eight hours a night.

Once the hustle porn purveyors shame you enough, they hit you with the big sell. Buy their eBooks and training programs to fix your problems. Better yet, join their Master Mind so you can be a part of a tribe of like-minded fools. It pays for itself. You can’t afford not to buy it; they whisper in your ear.

These self-help business gurus are selling you useless advice wrapped in smart language. Work harder and sacrifice more to become like them. Far from life-altering guidance if you ask me.

I don’t have evidence to support this, but I’m going to go out on a limb here. I bet most of those purveyors of hustle porn are lying, they’re on drugs, or both.

Don’t think drugs are the answer. Narcotics may supercharge your productivity. And they may allow you to go without sleep in the short-term. But your body must recover because it can’t go without sleep. No matter what pharmaceuticals you pump into it. There’s no such thing as a free lunch. There are always tradeoffs.

Avoiding Sleep Has Tradeoffs

Tradeoffs, also known as opportunity costs, are a part of life. You can’t escape them.

When you choose one thing, you give up something else. If you decide to spend $1000 for a vacation, the tradeoff is what you lose by not putting that money into your IRA. And opportunity costs extend beyond the initial decision. Your IRA isn’t only missing out on the cash, but the lost interest as well. That vacation will cost you much more than $1000 when you factor in the opportunity costs,

Time is a scarce resource. When deciding how to divide up your time, you must always consider the tradeoffs. Farnam Street explains it:

“If you’re young, you think you can go all out in your career, have fulfilling relationships, travel regularly, keep up with reading and social media, go without sleep, take out unnecessary credit card debt, and start a family at the same time. The end result is always a total meltdown.

“Even if you are twenty or thirty years past this point, you are not immune. Every day we are faced with choices on how to invest our time, and we all can be guilty of the same thing: Taking on too much without properly understanding the costs.”

What this means is that when you choose to forego sleep, you must consider the impact on your performance. As an entrepreneur, performance is your goal. High-level performance is the holy grail.

Avoiding sleep may mean that you are awake more hours, and you may get more tasks done. But are you trading high-level performance for the mediocre? In other words, are you completing more tasks but at a lower quality level? And, is that lower quality acceptable? Will it mean that you’ll lose clients to a competitor because it’s doing higher quality work?

Like the IRA example, there is a compounding effect here as well. Providing high-quality work early in your career builds your reputation faster. The faster you build your reputation, the sooner you can charge more for the value you create.

In my experience, when I forego sleep, not only does the quality of my work decrease, but I complete fewer tasks. Not to mention the sour mood it puts me in. What sane person would want to go through life like that? What is the purpose of making decisions that make you feel terrible? Those extra hours of wakefulness provide no net benefit.

Conclusion: Sleep to Supercharge Your Productivity

How do you supercharge your productivity? The answer isn’t innovative. It isn’t an ancient secret hidden in a lost cave guarded by an alien-zombie-dragon in Tibet. It’s common sense. Sleep to crank your productivity to a new level.

Sleep deprivation doesn’t make you a hustler, and it doesn’t make you a superstar. It makes you an underperforming, irritable dolt. If you want to destroy your memory, kill your strength, and guarantee you make bad decisions, then stay up all night.

Most of the people hawking 20-hour workdays as the path to success don’t follow their own advice. They’re losers trying to manipulate you into following them on social media. They pump themselves up by making you feel lesser than them. Then they hit you up for money and give you nothing in return.

Sleep, more than anything else, supercharges your productivity by improving your:

  • Cognition and focus,
  • Mood,
  • Innovation and creativity, and
  • Decision making.

Sleep also decreases mistakes.

Entrepreneurs must operate at a high level. So, it makes sense to maximize performance in these areas. That means getting enough sleep.

The Internet has delivered incredible opportunities to your doorstep. And to everyone else’s doorstep as well. With unlimited opportunity comes competition.

Anyone can start an Internet business. But to stand out, you must produce high-quality content. Notice that I didn’t say high-quantity. I said high-quality. Sleep deprivation kills cognitive and physical performance. So, you’re putting yourself at a disadvantage when you don’t sleep. So, go get your rest.

Do you have examples of how sleep blew your performance through the roof? Tell us about it the comments.

Additional Resources

Want to learn more about the benefits of sleep and how to improve the time you time in bed? Check out these resources:

Entrepreneur image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay
Sphynx cat image by leckyletters from Pixabay



  1. CT

    Thank you for this useful topic about hustle porn. I find my son addict to it recently. Therefore, I want to search online to know more about this and find the solution but I find the information is so confusing and difficult to understand because I have no knowledge about that.

    Luckily I landed on your site. I agree with you that hustle porn is killing everyone. I like you talking about history. I think to understand history will make it easier to solve the problem. You also go through other topics in detail.

    Your post is long. I need more time to digest. After that, I will talk to my son seriously. I hope it will be useful to him. Anyway, you save me a lot of time. At least, I don’t need to do further research online. Your post is enough for me to study.

    I will bookmark your site and share it with all my friends. I believe your post can helps many people. Please keep sharing with us.

  2. Moni

    Thank you for sharing a great post and your thoughts on sleep deprivation. I really enjoyed reading and I think some of my friends will find this post extremely useful.

    I agree with you that sleep deprivation really does destroy performance. Having said that different people need a different amount of sleep, some like myself feel good on 6-7 hours of sleep yet my girlfriend needs around 9-10 hours of sleep.

    What would you say is the optimal number of hours per night that one needs to sleep for peak performance?

    • Scott

      Thanks Moni. I appreciate your comment. You’re right. Most people require 7 to 8 hours of sleep but there are some outliers who need more or less. It also depends on age. Teenagers generally need more sleep than adults. One thing that’s interesting is that high performance can be an illusion. Some people who don’t get enough sleep can convince themselves that they are performing at a high level when they really aren’t. This is a situation where we have to be honest with ourselves. I can get by on 7 hours, but 8 hours makes me feel like I can conquer the world.

  3. Timotheus

    I totally agree with you that sleep deprivation can affect our performance. I have had that at times. Not because I want to. But for some strange reasons, I could not sleep. So I wake up next day feeling really out of it. And totally unproductive.

    Would you be sharing how to get to sleep when one suddenly finds one self awake in bed and unable to go to dreamland?


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *