Snooze or Loose

"I love sleep. My life has the tendency to fall apart when I'm awake, you know?"

- Ernest Hemingway

Man Sleeping by The Alieness, Gisela Giardino Man Sleeping by The Alieness, Gisela Giardino

I never imagined I would be writing on the topic of sleep, but I know what the impact is of not getting enough sleep has on my ability to think and act and react. I also know how getting enough sleep makes me feel ready, confident and capable. I prefer getting enough sleep.

Most importantly, as Hemingway implies in the above quote, sleep allows me to get away from it all.

I was surprised to hear that one third of us have bad sleep habits. I really thought this number would be higher. I guess I just move around in a community that is very stressed, as this is one of the greatest causes of bad sleep and so many people complain about being stressed lately. Other bad sleep habits include irregular sleep times, too much caffeine late in the day, having your laptop in bed, watching TV in bed, and not having a comfortable sleeping environment and physical factors, to name a few.

"The best cure for insomnia is to get a lot of sleep."

- W. C. Fields

At the most recent Neuroscience of Leadership conference I attended, Dr. Jessica Payne, spoke about the importance of sleep.

Here are my take-aways of the impact of getting a good night's sleep:

  • Sleep needs to vary from 4-12 hours. You must find your own healthy length of sleep.

  • Our brain is highly active in ways that only occur during sleep.

  • Sleep improves our memory and creates long term memory.

  • Our creative cognition is improved with a good night's sleep.

  • Sleep helps our brain in its capabilities to make connections.

  • Sleep develops our insight. That's why some people get their best ideas upon awakening.

  • It helps us regulate our emotions.

  • If we are sleep deprived, we more easily remember negative information and not positive or neutral information.

The best news from this lecture is that napping 20-30 minutes and no longer than 40 minutes, is as good as a whole night's sleep. Even a seven minute nap is good.

I think as leaders, it is our responsibility to turn our environments into nap-friendly environments for our and our organization's benefit.

It's the right thing to do.

"Sleep is the best meditation."

- Dalai Lama


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