Sleep your way to the top

June 30, 2016

Yes, I said that. But it’s not what you may think. I mean literally, more SLEEP.

I knew sleep was important but I was still surprised how much a lack of shut-eye impacts our productivity, creativity and the quality of our work.

According to Harvard Business Review (HBR) there is a proven link between effective leadership and getting enough sleep.

You may have heard—or experienced— lack of sleep deteriorates your visual and motor skills. What may be less familiar is sleep deprivation has an even bigger effect on higher-order mental skills such as problem solving, reasoning, organizing, and executing plans

HBR states: ‘Sleep deprivation impairs the ability to focus attention selectively: Research shows that after roughly 17 to 19 hours of wakefulness (say, at 11 PM or 1 AM for someone who got up at 6 AM), individual performance on a range of tasks is equivalent to that of a person with a blood alcohol level of 0.05%. That’s the legal drinking limit in many countries. After roughly 20 hours of wakefulness (2 AM), this same person’s performance equals that of someone with a blood alcohol level of 0.1%, which meets the legal definition of drunk in the United States.’

So next time you consider sending that late-night email you may want to wait till morning because a good night’s sleep not only ensures you are fresh and focused but it often leads to new insights.

Do you want to avoid tunnel vision, and improve decision making?

Guess what? Sleep more!

Want to get better at creative problem solving? Take a nap, you will be twice as likely to solve the problem than when you stay awake.

And the list goes on.

More sleep is one of the easiest—and most relaxing—ways to increase productivity and perform to the best of your ability.

And it’s not something that impacts you alone. Research shows ‘employees feel less engaged with their work when their leaders have had a bad night of sleep’. So now everybody gets cranky 😉

In a sleep-deprived state, your brain is more likely to misinterpret cues and overreact to emotional events, and you tend to express your feelings in a more negative manner and tone of voice. You are also less likely to fully trust someone else. Not ideal when you are building a team or forging a new relationship.

Another reason to focus on sleep is it prevents burnout. A lack of sleep leads to experiencing more stress which in turn reduces the quality of your sleep. A never-ending story.

Obviously there are many other negative effects of poor sleep on your health. So I would say there’s plenty of reason to turn in early tonight.

Of course this is easier said than done and often requires a change in both (corporate) culture and personal behavior. But it all starts with awareness and that’s why I felt called to share this with you 😉

Want a fresh perspective on how you can make room for more sleep? Click here


Literature: Harvard Business Review, There’s a Proven Link Between Effective Leadership and Getting Enough Sleep

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