The Sleepy Secret to Great Performance
“Short sleep equals a shorter life.”*
The strong response to, “9 WAYS TO FALL BACK TO SLEEP WHEN YOU WAKE UP IN THE NIGHT,” motivated me to look more deeply into sleep.
“Every disease that is killing us in developed nations from cancer, alzheimer’s, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, stroke, even suicide, all have significant and causal links to insufficient sleep.” Matthew Walker Ph.D.*
Other results of lack of sleep include lack of productivity, low creativity, and irritability.
If you struggle to fall asleep at night, don’t take naps during the day.
We build up sleepiness during the day. Taking a nap makes it more difficult to go to sleep at night.
Healthy regular naps can increase productivity and alertness by about 34% and 50% respectively. This is true if the naps are part of your regular routine. (Nasa Nap Study)
7 Sleepy Tips:
Over 1 in 3 Americans don’t get enough sleep. (Center for Disease Control)
Women need about 20 minutes more sleep than men. (National Sleep Foundation)
- Go to bed and get up at the same time.
- Go dark. Turn the lights down an hour before bedtime.
- Keep it cool. Keep your bedroom between 65 to 67 degrees fahrenheit.
- Get up if you wake up at night. Keep the lights dim. Read. Return to bed when you’re sleepy.
- Don’t drink caffeinated drinks after 2 p.m.
- Avoid alcohol at night.
How might leaders get enough sleep?
Dr. Matthew Walker’s book, “Why We Sleep.”
* CBS News
First off I agree that sleep is very important but how do you reconcile that many of today’s celebrated leaders espouse the fact that they don’t sleep much. They get 4 to 6 hours of sleep, get up very early and get started before everyone else. There success is actually promulgating poor behavior for those who think this is what you have to do to be successful. I’m sure there are many successful people who do get enough sleep but it doesn’t seem like this gets much media attention.
That’s a great question, Brandon. I’m in the category of early rises. But, I also go to be early.
I think we can function on less sleep. But, I wonder if these people might function even better on a healthier amount of sleep?
Having said that, your point about celebrating poor behaviors is an issue. Perhaps it reflects how enamored we are with “success” at any cost.
Glad you jumped in.
I agree. I met Margaret Thatcher (who was said to manage on four hours per night) and she cut a most uninspiring figure – vague, unfocused and seemingly unaware of what was going on around her.
Thanks Mitch. The other thing that came to mind is that there may be some unusual people who need less sleep. We shouldn’t use exceptions to make rules.
This is probably the one single thing that I struggle with most right now, not getting enough sleep! Then, because I don’t have enough rest I’m not as productive which means I have to work longer hours which means, you guessed it! I don’t get enough sleep!
Hi Mike. Wow! Your said that well. How to break the cycle?
For those of us that work in worksite wellbeing, thank you for this post. All elite athletes understand the competitive edge good sleep gives them. I recommend Dr. Micheal Breus’ work on the topic of sleep. He is an expert in this area.
Thanks Mim. If you want a competitive edge, go to bed. 🙂 Love it.
Is there a good solution to this? The working day isn’t going to get shorter, the commute is unlikely to reduce and realistically the demands on people outside work (cooking, cleaning, maintenance etc) aren’t going to go away. The only place the extra hours come from is by reducing leisure/family time. I’m not sure that’s a good tradeoff.