This is a bit of a loaded question, but I just watched these two very inspiring videos.
Each one argues quite convincingly that people who have the most success are those who will choose success and hard work over sleep if they must choose. Paleo argues we must regain sleep, but does this limit our ability to succeed?
If you knew you had to forgo sleep to succeed in life, would you do it?
I did forgo sleep for success. I was financially stable, attended all the "right" parties and events, with an impeccable reputation and stunning resume. Was I happy? No. NO.
Now I have a few little business and such that keep me busy in a nice way, am almost, but not really, financially stable, have time for my dog - brat would rather sleep than take 7 walks a day!, have a great lifting and CrossFit schedule, am healthy as hell except for a few little bumps in the road.
I truly go to sleep when I'm tired and have an internal clock that wakes me up each morning. Unless there's a time sensitive situation my alarm isn't on - so if I sleep through my usual creepy early morning time? That's cool.
By the way, a few years ago saying "that's cool" about sleeping in, I was so busy with work that even an hour off would set me back a week it seemed - 60-70 hours a week in the office + weekend remote office time + Blackberry at all hours + trying to play with my friends would have freaked me out. Now? Happiness. Time for everything.
Sleep: 3 hours 5 hours 10 hours - whatever floats your canoe and provides an optimal platform for you to enjoy as much as you can. Work has it's place but so does life.
calorie restriction extends life in laboratory animals
moderation is the greek virtue which emphasizes everlasting satisfaction in life's necessary but potentially gluttonous aspects: food, sex, etc
it may also be the case that reducing sleep to maintain less overall dependence on sleep may have some similar affect.
the idea of hormesis using low level stressors is beyond scientifically valid it is everywhere as a method to make things stronger think lifting weights, wind current to strengthen the stocks of plants and "whatever doesn't kill you makes you stronger" some have even suggested that antioxidants are actually toxins which turn on immune defenses and strengthen the body through hormesis (low level stressor) rather than a direct protective mechanism.
if hormesis applies to sleep then a low level stressor of less sleep will make you stronger and over sleeping will make you weaker.
without even considering hormesis too much sleep per day could just make you feel lazy because your spending less waking hours actively alive and newtown's inertia principle is all about how an object in motion tends to stay in motion too much sleep may reduce your daily momentum your inertia too little sleep could probably do the same.
if it is hormesis you would build up to it like weights sleep is pretty essential though and if your already doing a lot to stress out the body adding sleep deprivation to that level of stress may be counterproductive
however if you are adapted to your workout routine stress levels are steady and your doing good and you want to try and get a little edge cut out two hours of sleep and stay like this for a month see how you feel then come back here ask the question again do some research and keep a journal log post your results around keep it simple and good luck !
I tend to agree with that statement. However, despite the poor eating and sleeping habits, there are still enough driven people that some end up succeeding despite those problems. Then there are others who eventually saw the light, like Paul Jaminet. Imagine if he'd developed more serious health problems during his startup days?
I'm firmly of the opinion in my own experimentation, that a healthy body needs less sleep than an unhealthy body. Pre-Paleo, I was doggedly tired throughout the day despite sleeping upwards of 10 hours a night, and pounding coffee/energy drinks.
I now sleep between 6.5-7 hours a night, and maybe once a week have a hankering for a caffeinated beverage if I'm stuck at a desk all day. If I'm lucky enough to get out to take my afternoon walk, I won't need the beverage.
Could be that slightly less time in bed results in less brain fog from mattress off-gassing, so those folks are sharper at work, and get more promotions.
It could also be one of those correlation doesn't equal causation conundrums, with busy-body types not needing as much sleep because they are naturally more amped up and involved in their work.
Well, I am happier even if I am not more successful (although, I guess I'm pretty successful, job of a lifetime, great family, and more money than I need). But I think success can still happen with plenty of sleep, the key is focus. If you have a focused life, where you cut away all the cruft, you can have plenty of time to get the things done that you need to get done and you will enjoy them more because you are working on them in a focused manner (i.e. in a state of flow). I find being focused and having less time really helps me be more productive because it clarifies what is essential vs. what is junk.
I was diagnosed with a sleep disorder about a year ago. This led me to read extensively about sleep. There is sound research (David Dinges at Penn is a specialist on the subject) indicating that chronic sleep deprivation, even in small amounts, impairs performance but the sleep-deprived subjects are unable to perceive their impairment and believe they are just fine. http://web2.med.upenn.edu/uep/user_documents/VanDongen_etal_Sleep_26_2_2003.pdf
With treatment, and logging a consistent 7 hours of good sleep per night now, I am healthier, stronger, happier, and more productive than I was when I was sleep-deprived. I deplore the mentality that believes that sleep is an indulgence minimized by Serious People.