In “The Research Is Clear: Long Hours Backfire for People and for Companies” (Harvard Business Review, August 19, 2015), Sarah Green Carmichael writes:
Even if you enjoy your job and work long hours voluntarily, you’re simply more likely to make mistakes when you’re tired — and most of us tire more easily than we think we do. Only 1-3% of the population can sleep five or six hours a night without suffering some performance drop-off. Moreover, for every 100 people who think they’re a member of this sleepless elite, only five actually are. The research on the performance-destroying effects of sleeplessness alone should make everyone see the folly of the all-nighter.
You want productivity, better grades, better work performance, better athletic performance? Sleep.
But the 1-3% figure is probably wrong. In Why We Sleep, Matthew Walker, PhD, writes that you are more likely to be struck by lightening than to be “gifted” by the genetics that let you get that little sleep. I have also read that, in a scientist’s experience (I do not recall the source right now), only 5 of every 100 people who claim they can get by on 4-6 hours of sleep a night actually can.