According to a recent article shared by The Harvard Business Review, there's a proven link between getting enough sleep and having adequate skills as a leader. And according to Arianna Huffington's new book The Sleep Revolution, “more than 40 percent of Americans get less than the recommended minimum seven hours of sleep per night”. The stats are consistent worldwide. Bottom line: we aren't getting enough sleep.
It's a no-brainer that the less sleep you have, the less focused you will be when performing your day-to-day tasks. But leaders, specifically, can really hinder their efficiency and effectiveness if they're not getting enough zzz's. A lack of sleep can result in an inability to solve problems, think strategically, make decisions, and work effectively with others – all imperative skills to achieving success in a leadership role.
“A wealth of scientific studies have highlighted the impact of sleep on all three stages of the learning process: before learning, to encode new information; after learning, in the consolidation stage, when the brain forms new connections; and before remembering, to retrieve information from memory.” Source
In order to ensure that your leaders are performing at their highest capacity, it is important to establish a corporate culture that helps your people harmonize their balance between work and life. That means creating an environment where sleep, rest and rejuvenation are as coveted as getting great results. In fact, communicating the correlation between rest and results is paramount for the long-term success of your people and your organization. Burnout shouldn't be an option.
The problem is that many people believe that success is a direct result of how many hours you put into your work. In fact, it's not the quantity of time you work, it's the quality of work you do that will help you to succeed. Lack of sleep has become a badge – people bragging about how tired they are from working so many hours.
Make sleep a priority – both for your own well-being and your competence as a thriving leader. To help ensure you are getting enough sleep, here are 3 things you can do:
1) Establish a routine. Like children, we need to establish (and follow) a strict bedtime routine for ourselves. Force yourself to go to bed at a certain time each night.
2) Make darkness a priority. Cover your windows, turn off your lights – and most importantly: leave that phone alone!
3) Make your room your sanctuary. Surround your sleep spot with calming decor. Keep it clutter-free and keep your computer away from where you rest your head.
Make sure you get enough rest – you'll thank yourself for it when you see your success-level soar as a result.
Lisa Martin International is a boutique leadership development firm with global scope. We help organizations unlock people potential and catapult business results. We equip companies to deliver powerful leadership development in-house with our licensable turnkey leadership solutions.
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