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How to get smarter, sleep more, and get more sex - today


Some stories are easier to tell than others.

We learn not to touch a hot burner because it hurts like hell. It’s obvious.

Sleep is not obvious. It wastes you away slowly if you don’t get it, and half the time you won’t even notice because we’re too hopped up on caffeine.

When the guys at Zeo sent me a Personal Sleep Coach, I already knew a lot about sleep. But I knew there was a bigger idea here. So we made this infographic for you that tells the whole story, and why it matters.

Oh! I also convinced them to give away a free Zeo, which Tim Ferriss talks about (along with paleo diets, etc.) in the 4 Hour Body.

Click to see the whole thing!

* Filed by Julien at 10:30 am under experiments, infographics

Hi, I’m Julien Smith. I'm the founder and CEO of Breather.

Check out more of my blog, my free book or add me on twitter. Also, we're hiring. Check that out.

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25 Responses to “How to get smarter, sleep more, and get more sex - today”

  1. Hannes Says:

    Nice one. Lots of interesting facts – I definitely need to sleep more.

    But I’m wondering about the “Going to bed too late doubles the risk of breast cancer.” statement and then it says “+200%”. Isn’t it usually said that if you add 100% you’re doubling? 200% increase would be tripling, right?

  2. Naomi Says:

    I’m really curious about the Zeo. Sleep has never been a friend of mine.

  3. Dave Says:

    HI, I love sleep, so this is good to hear. Just thought I would let you know that there is a spelling error in the info-graphic in the opening paragraph.

  4. David Jacobs Says:

    I don’t have my contacts in today and I don’t see as well with my glasses. I swear I read it at first as a personal sleep couch. I though, Frickin’ yeah, a personal sleep couch, I love it. Oh, It’s a coach. ok. That’s good too…

    I love sleep and can’t stand those people who brag about how they never sleep. oooh, you’re so type a personality; you get so much done. Well I’ll get more done in the long run because you’ll be dead long before me! ha, take that.

    When I’m sick, i swear the only thing that gets me better is tons of sleep.

  5. Coach Brett Says:

    I had to cut down on caffeine to go to sleep. Then I got an extra hour of sleep a night and the sleep was much better quality, too. I ended up with a ton more energy during the day and finished my Ironman triathlon an hour faster with less training. Sleep is the key thing most people are missing.

  6. The Red Rocket Says:

    Great infographic and great blog.

    Sleep is sooo important. Though oddly I sometimes sleep better if I try not to get too much. I operate best on 7-7.5 hours and if I try and get extra I usually suffer more afterwards. Consistency is key for me.

    Like the points about QS too.

    • Julien Says:

      Me too Red. I know that I need a certain amount and no more, as well as a consistent waking time. All this stuff, I would never have said I wanted six months ago, but now I realize how important it is. Interesting right?

  7. Grace White Says:

    Having lived about a year with a condition where one of the symptoms is insomnia, I experienced all of the negatives listed. Almost immediately when I began sleeping again my entire life became better. Now I am working on repairing the damage relationships this all caused. Quality, consistent sleep is the key to an awesome life.
    Thanks Julien for sharing!

  8. Ivan Says:

    What about types of sleep? Anyone has any experience with that? I mean, is an 8-hour sleep better then a 6-hour sleep, helped with a couple of naps along the day?

  9. Yanjaa! Says:

    Sooo, I’m not in the ideal range when sleeping more than 9 hours??

  10. Kimmoy Says:

    I know Tim Ferriss is a tea drinker, did he address that vs coffee and how it affects sleep or the body?

    OK, what I really wanna know is how to make these cool infographics, do you have any tutorials, links, tools you can point me to? Thanks!

  11. Jeff Says:

    I have some issues with the info in this figure. The “100% increased likelihood of a heart attack if you get less than 7 hours of sleep per night” claim is not supported. Details are below, but the 2 referenced studies showed that <5 hrs/night sleep is associated with diabetes and hypertension. The figure authors missed a study that does show a significant correlation of <5 hrs/night with heart attack, in women only, but not 7 hrs as implied in the statement (see ref below).

    Other nit-picky comment on terms used: At the bottom, the figure lists “Factoid source” for the data given. Factoid (per Merriam-Webster) means “an invented fact believed to be true because it appears in print.” This might be the correct term for this figure data, but probably not what the authors wanted to convey.

    The Gangwisch et al. paper shows that 9 hours of sleep) vs. exactly 7 hours. This is a strong correlation, though not a cause, and could also be related to caffeine intake, alcohol intake or other factors that can affect both sleep and diabetes prevalence.

    The Cappuccio et al. paper shows that <5 hours sleep corresponds to a 100% increased risk of hypertension in women, though when corrected for other risk factors, this reduces to 42%.

    It's odd to me that the people who made this figure did not do a quick literature search and find the article "Sleep Duration and Sleep Complaints and Risk of Myocardial Infarction in Middle-aged Men and Women from the General Population: The MONICA/KORA Augsburg Cohort Study. Meisinger et al. Sleep. 2007 September 1; 30(9): 1121–1127." which directly examines the correlation between heart attack and sleep. It did show a significant correlation, in women only, between sleeping <5 hours/night and increased risk of heart attack (oddly, those who slept 6 hours/night had a lower prevalence of heart attacks than those who slept 7 hours/night in this study, though the differences were not significant). The numbers of subjects are low (12 MIs in the <5 hrs case) so the confidence in the risk increase is low, but for random fact bytes, it seems to indicate a 200% increase in heart attacks in women getting < 5 hrs of sleep.

  12. BTRIPP Says:

    I must admit, I’m in the the “WTF” zone on that hours-of-sleep graph!

    I honestly wonder how anybody gets anything done and still gets more than 4 hours of sleep …

  13. Mo_ab Says:

    what about pple like me who sleep about 14 hours a day.
    the graph doesn’t show me.

  14. Nicolas Says:

    Nice graphics, but I don’t agree with the statements…

  15. Taylor Hide Says:


    Sleep is such an unpracticed skill sometimes.

    And the bit about light is so true.

    We are so spoiled by modern living (ie light pollution at night/ in our sleeping environment)

    I am currently working on a sleep mask that helps optimize our dark and light cues.

    Check it out if you are interested:


    Let me know if you have any questions about sleep. I’m kinda obsessed with it.


  16. Ilya Says:

    I am always in need of sleep. Like lot of friends of mine work is the necessary thing and going home in traffic jam is a disaster. So it is really a problem for the politic power, for the people could get more time to sleep and so on.

  17. Mrs. Accountability Says:

    For eight years I couldn’t get more than seven hours sleep a night because my back would stiffen up and hurt really bad. But last December I started on the Gut and Psychology Syndrome Diet and two weeks later I was able to sleep up to nine hours a night. Finally! I’m sure it had a lot to do with the healing I’ve experienced in the last year, just being able to sleep more. I agree sleep is VERY VERY important!!

  18. headphonetics Says:

    As soon as I see someone pull out the term “obesity” I throw out any idea that they know anything about health, or that they have any basis for their claims.

  19. Scott Webb Says:

    This comes to me at a time that I’ve really been focusing on sleep. A number of resources have appeared out of no where and it really doesn’t surprise me.

    While planning out my own blog post on why sleep is important to me, I can now link here to share that awesome infographic.

    I also want to get Ferriss’ book at some point too.

  20. andrea Says:

    @headphonetics: You have a problem accepting using obesity and knowing about health issues… what is your problem.

    As for sleep you can add things like IQ is diminished about 5 points for each hour of sleep lost…similiar to the drinking beer type thing. Sleep and mental acuity go hand in hand.

    I read for 10 minutes to relax my mind (brainless novels, no physics texts), close my lined curtains to block outside light and sleep like a baby.

  21. Nick Says:

    So… who won? (ie was it me?)

  22. Jill Says:

    Love this! People always think they’ll get more done if they sleep less but the opposite is true. Here are some good tips for anyone with insomnia or sleep issues


  23. Ramin Rakhamimov Says:

    I always schedule 8 hours to my sleep but end up getting around 6-7 hours. I end up feeling tired a lot of the time. I am interested to try the “paradoxical intentional” method. I tried counting backwards from 300 subtracting 3 each time (300,297,294,…), as was suggested on the Dr. Oz show. But it never seems to work.

    Love your blog, very intriguing and captivating posts!

  24. VaNessa pinter Says:

    Very interesting stuff and infographic! Or at least I think it’s probably cool because I can’t see it on my iPhone because that header keeps intruding. Please fix that thing, it just wont get out of the way.

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