The Surprising Relationship Between Entrepreneurship and Sleep

Peter J. Burns III urges entrepreneurs to get sufficient sleep. Burns is a serial startup entrepreneur who has started over 150 innovative businesses since his teenage years. He was recently interviewed on The Kim Pagano Show about his past and current ventures. 

During the interview, Burns says that he tries “to get a lot of sleep because its very productive.” It might be surprising to hear this from someone who has started so many companies at such a startling rate. That’s because there is a misconception that entrepreneurs work around the clock, which Burns also address in the interview. According to Burns, if entrepreneurs do not get enough sleep, they do not tend to be successful.

“Sleep is actually a regenerative period,” Burns explains during the show, “It also allows you to assimilate all of the concepts and ideas that have come from multiple sources.” Based on research studies Peter J. Burns III is right; sufficient sleep is positively correlated with both productivity and creativity. The American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM) reports that “poor sleep at night could mean decreased work productivity in the morning” (Yang, 2018).

The AASM describes the following information gleaned from a study of over 1,000 people:

  • Individuals who slept 7-8 hours were the most productive group.
  • The subjects who slept only 5-6 hours experienced a 19% decrease in productivity when compared to the aforementioned group.
  • People who slept less than 5 hours were 29% less productive that the individuals who slept 7-8 hours.

As Peter J. Burns III advises, getting enough sleep is definitely crucial for entrepreneurs. Starting and running a business takes a lot of focused energy. Without enough sleep, entrepreneurs can become too drained to be efficient. It can be tempting for entrepreneurs to stay up late; these individuals actively work to make their visions become realities. However exciting an idea may be, entrepreneurs need to put work aside and make sure to get some snoozing in.

With regard to the relationship between sleep and creativity, Peter J. Burns III is correct as well. As reported in The Journal of Sleep Medicine “sleep facilitates creativity, and this idea has received substantial empirical support” (Ritter et al., 2012). Your body obviously tires when it lacks sleep, and your mind does as well, leaving your devoid of new ideas.

So, what should an entrepreneur do if a great idea arises in the middle of the night? Peter J. Burns III suggests that these individuals write their ideas down. “If you don’t write it down, you might not remember it the next morning,” he cautions. Furthermore, it is easier for you to go back to sleep when you are not fretting about forgetting your thoughts.

“I have a pad and pencil right next to my bed,” Burns says. If this strategy works for brilliant start-up strategist Burns, it is certainly a noteworthy technique for any entrepreneur. 

Simply put, everyone needs to sleep, but an entrepreneur may need sleep even more than the average individual. Take Burns’s advice and allow sleep to boost your productivity and creativity. You will definitely have a much better shot at successful entrepreneurial endeavors if you are well-rested.

You can listen to a recording of the interview here:

To learn more about Peter J. Burns III and his current and upcoming projects, please visit


Ritter, S. M., Strick, M., Bos, M. W., Baaren, R. B. V., & Dijksterhuis, A. (2012). Good morning creativity: task reactivation during sleep enhances beneficial effect of sleep on creative performance. Journal of Sleep Research, 21(6), 643–647. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2869.2012.01006.x

Yang, R. (2018, June 4). Poor sleep at night could mean decreased work productivity in the morning. Retrieved November 14, 2019, from

Article by L.K. Bright

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Peter J. Burns III

Starting at the age of 19, Peter J. Burns III has started, operated, bought and sold well over 100 businesses in literally dozens of niche markets. Nantucket Island was the home of Burns' first "real" business-importing mopeds from Austria and being the firrst in the country to rent them to vacationing tourists. After making $55,000 in only 10 weeks from his summer "job," Burns took his moped fleet and set up shop on Sanibel Island, Florida for the winter season.