It’s Sunday night as I’m writing this. Truthfully, it’s closer to Monday morning than Sunday night at this point. This, friends, is when most of the posts here are written. Late on a Sunday after a weekend of idea percolating has brought this post to life.
This is a bad thing.
Why? Just ask Arianna Huffington and Sheryl Sandberg. In a recent event in San Francisco they both cited being well rested as a secret to their success. Edison and Tesla might have been famous for getting by on a scant few hours of sleep, but most adults really do need eight solid hours of sleep to function at their best. So I ask you again, how are you sleeping?
Decision making, cognitive ability, and creativity are all connected to sleep
Friends of mine with the Jawbone UP bands track their sleep and let me know from all the tips the app gives them how important sleep is. Being tired doesn’t just mean you’ll be grabbing more coffee than usual, it actually means your capacity for work is diminished.
And it adds up.
Get six hours of sleep one night, four another, maybe a tad over seven the next…you’re still running close to a full night’s sleep behind after three days! So getting a little extra sleep on the weekends helps, but it doesn’t solve the problem. We, as North Americans, are becoming chronically sleep-deprived zombies. The more sleep deprived we become, the harder it becomes to concentrate on task. Everything becomes a little more muddled. So beyond trying to get to bed earlier, what else can be done to keep a better edge for the day?
How about a power nap.
Naps are okay
A friend once said to me, “I knew I was really an adult when I couldn’t think of a time I didn’t want a nap.” We often scoff at the afternoon nap, but a quick 10 to 20 minute nap can be just the ticket to bring things back into focus. If you push to 30 to 60 minutes, you might feel worse and more groggy from sleep inertia, but if you go for a whole 90 minutes you’ll complete an entire sleep cycle and be refreshed. While most of us can’t afford a 90 minute break, 20 minutes to collect thoughts, mull a problem, or just clear your head can not only give you a recharge, but also creativity and inspiration.
Maybe a bit off topic, but…
Yes, making sure you’re getting enough sleep does sound like something your mother would tell you, however it’s also something that a good leader needs to remember. You need to take care of yourself to be at your best. You need rest. You need time to recharge. You need time for family and hobbies. If people who have achieved great things cite being well rested as a secret to their success, should we ignore it because we think it’s too simple?