Making sure you’re performing at your best is a constant battle with yourself. That is a battle with your habits, professional and personal demands on your time, and the everyday challenges that keep us playing catch-up with the clock. In this article, I will speak to why high-quality sleep is important!
With nearly a third of Canadians reporting that they’re so overworked they’re on the verge of burnout, perhaps it’s time to ditch the obsession with new productivity software and stronger brands of coffee and focus on the simpler matter of making sure you get enough sleep.
Here’s a closer look at why high-quality sleep is important to hit high-performance targets, and how you can ensure a higher quality of sleep to keep performing at your best, showing up every day, and maximizing your productivity.
Why Sleep is Important for Performance
Your quality of sleep has a direct effect on almost everything your body does. The relaxation, repair work, and rejuvenation that takes place during sleep is essential for the functioning of your immune system, cardiovascular health, as well as the functionality of the brain’s neurons, which determines our ability to think clearly, retain new information, and regulate emotions.
Simply put, sleep allows our bodies and minds to perform as they should. Just like a lack of food, water, or other physical necessities, a lack of sleep means you’re not getting what you need in order to feel right in your own body, which in turn makes it harder to keep up the levels of focus and vigilance you need to perform…
Sleep Deprivation at Work
Though losing an hour or two of sleep in a night may not seem like much, if this becomes a regular occurrence it can quickly feel like you’ve gone several days without so much as a nap.
We all know what it feels like to be a little groggy from poor sleep, but many people don’t understand just how damaging the effects of sleep deprivation can be. Not getting enough sleep can lead to a serious detriment in cognitive function, and unintentional carelessness or difficulty performing your professional duties.
Studies published by The Sleep Foundation have shown that sleep-deprived employees are a massive 70% more likely to be involved in workplace accidents than those who are well-rested. Furthermore, severe cases of sleep deprivation can lead people to experience a state of euphoria similar to being intoxicated on drugs or alcohol. Just like substance misuse, this can cause people to experience anxiety or mood swings, and make them more likely to engage in risky behavior.
This carelessness and sup-par performance brought on by sleep deprivation can be a problem at any level of an organization, but when it starts to affect high-performing business leaders, the results can be catastrophic.
How to Improve Your Sleep
Now that we understand the tremendous impact that shut-eye can have on your professional performance, it’s time to fix your sleep! Here’s 4 tips on how to improve your sleep and start enjoying a higher level of performance at work.
Consider the Causes
For many people, poor-quality sleep is caused simply by trying to cram too much into their day and going to bed later than they should. However, if you’re sticking to a healthy sleeping routine but still experiencing trouble, it may be time to look at other causes.
Stress and anxiety is a common cause of insomnia. With around 10% of all people experiencing a debilitating anxiety disorder according to treatment providers like LuxuryRehabs.com, tackling these kinds of underlying causes is one of the most important first steps for anyone experiencing difficulties getting to sleep.
Acknowledging struggles with your mental health and getting the help you need can be a daunting decision, but it’s an essential first step of progressing toward a healthier, more consistent relationship with sleep.
Try to Sleep and Wake on a Consistent Schedule
Our bodies’ circadian rhythm tries to operate on a set loop, aligning itself with exposure to light. Therefore, trying to stick to consistent times when you wake up and go to bed can help you achieve a better all-around sleep quality.
People who maintain a consistent sleeping pattern during the week but then go to bed late on the weekends tend to report poor quality of sleep, and studies have shown that irregular sleeping patterns can drastically alter a person’s natural circadian rhythm and their levels of melatonin, the hormone which tells us it’s time to sleep.
Staying disciplined with your sleeping schedule can be tough, especially for high-performers on the verge of workaholism. Still, if you can make gradual adjustments and settle into a consistent sleep schedule, you’ll have a much easier time of achieving higher-quality sleep in a natural, healthy way.
Cut Down on Drinking
If you have a tendency to have a drink or two when you’re winding down for bed, this could also be having a negative effect on your sleep.
Regular consumption of alcohol is known to have a link with sleep apnea, and an increased likelihood of snoring, both of which are associated with irregular, unhealthy sleeping patterns.
Aside from this, alcohol can also disrupt the normal potency of melatonin, thereby throwing your body off its natural circadian rhythm.
Though many people associate a drink with relaxing and getting ready for bed, limiting the amount of alcohol in your diet can be a great way to get better sleep and achieve a higher standard of performance in your working life.
Set Up Your Sleeping Environment
It doesn’t take a genius to understand how light sources, noise, and other kinds of stimulus can bring down your quality of sleep.
Totally overhauling your home decor probably isn’t practical. However, taking some time to review the lighting, noise, temperature, and furniture arrangement in your bedroom can help insulate the things that are keeping you from getting a good night’s sleep.
Though other lifestyle habits getting in the way of your sleep may take some time to adjust, once you’ve managed this, a properly set-up sleeping space will be there waiting for you!
Though it can be easy to forget about such a routine part of your life, sleep can have a tremendous effect on your professional performance, and should be taken just as seriously as your diet, time management, or anything else that influences your work.
We hope this guide has helped you better understand your relationship with sleep, and helped guide you toward healthier, more consistent sleeping habits.
If you need professional help with this matter please consider booking a no-obligation call with Lisa Jeffs Professional Coach for Leaders