By Jas Singh
Ah sleep. Loved by us all. Soft, snuggley, bedsheets. Warm and inviting. Relaxed like a baby. Cosy and beautiful. Great on your own, also nice with a loved one.
Sleep is something that we all do. An essential part to our daily function. The health benefits of sleep are well publicised – from birth, we insist that our children adhere to strict schedules of plentiful sleep.
Yet as adults, we like most things in life, we tend to overlook the fundamentals. We scrimp on sleep. With our ever increasing work loads and stresses we tend to work harder. Spend more time on the phone. Surf the net more. And sleep less.
But sleep isn’t just some isolated ritual only beneficial to health. Like most important things, it’s benefits are linked to all aspects of our life including the workplace and our careers.
Here are some reasons why sleep can also improve performance in the workplace.
1) Sleep reduces stress
Science has comprehensively proved for some time that lack of sleep increases stress. Which becomes a slippery circle – stress then also can prevent further sleep. Although the number of hours of necessary sleep can vary from person to person (usually between 7-10 hours), effectively not sleeping well will stress you out.
In our work lives, stress levels have never been higher. Add on top family pressures, economic woes and a million other things and the potential stressors are endless. We all need a regular escape – and our beds are often the only time we can truly get the chance to be alone and rest.
People who perform best under pressure are usually those who progress to positions of leadership. Hence it’s essential to try and prepare oneself to cope with the challenges of competitive business.
Sleep is essential to cope with the stress of leadership.
2) Sleep improves memory
Ever remember yourself sleeping more around exam time? Or notice your children sleep more than usual when they’ve been learning something new?
It’s not just because this extra energy spent means they need to rest more. It’s also something more deeper. Sleep has been shown to rapidly enhance memory processes.
Think about all the things you need to do in a typical day. Many of these can be essential but need your memory to prompt you to act. Make that call to the client. Re-check the sales figures. Post that thank you note. Remember that new starters name.
A more effective memory can be a huge asset in increasing performance.
Sleep more, forget less.
3) Sleep increases creativity
You’ve tried everything but just can’t seem to motivate the team in the right way. All attempts to win the client have failed. You’ve been cold-calling for weeks but winning that first sale just isn’t happening.
Rather than buy another self-help book or hitting Google for the thousandth time, you might be more productive having a kip.
You see another great effect of sleep is that it has been shown to increase creativity. Better for problem solving. Better for objection handling. Better for coming up with something unique.
In fact, you may have even heard of the old proverb how “things always seem better after a good night’s sleep”. That’s because sleep often brings a fresh new perspective.
Need better ideas? Invest in a better mattress.
4) Sleep improves mood
But perhaps the most important and overlooked asset of all that comes through sleep is…..a happier you.
We all know a grumpy pants whose in need for a good nights sleep. And practically all of us have longed for the comfort of our relaxing beds when engrossed in a seemingly never ending stressful day at work.
The negative effects of sleep deprivation on mood have been well documented. It makes one irritable, angry and even hostile. In extreme examples can even lead to outright depression.
Sleep improves your mood. It makes you happier, more likeable. And in the business world where building strong relationships is essential to success, being likeable and positive is a huge advantage.
Feeling like quitting? Stressed out with the deadline? Craving a beer at the end of the day?
You might be better of simply catching some z’s.
For most of us sleep and work are often a trade-off.
To excel in one, you must sacrifice the other.
Hiring managers should recognise that sleep is an essential ingredient in human performance, and that used in the optimum manner can be a powerful tool in all success.
Thanks for (yawn)….r..e..a..d..i..n..g….Zzzzzzzzzzz
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