I know a lot of people who want to get ahead at work, so they embrace things like not taking vacation days, 70-hour work weeks, engaging in office politics, and forming personal relationships outside of the office with their boss. However, there’s an easier way: sleep.
Eti Ben Simon, a neuroscientist at UC Berkeley’s Center for Human Sleep Science, points to studies that show sleep helps maximize our immune system, productivity, and employee effectiveness.
Contrary to popular belief, four or five hours of sleep is not enough. Experts say adolescents need nine hours of sleep a night, and adults need seven to nine hours of sleep. And, poor sleep is not a normal part of aging. It is a sign that something is wrong.
How can you get your best sleep?
- Set a routine. Go to bed at the same time every night and wake up at the same time every morning. Also, turn off electronic devices well before bed as these act as a stimulus.
- Manage worry. Worrying will keep you awake, so create a ‘worry period.’ This is a set time and place for worrying, say Monday-Friday from 12-12:15 p.m. on your porch. You are allowed to worry about anything and the rest of the day is a worry-free zone.
- Don’t toss and turn. If you’re unable to sleep, and you’re awake for 20 or 30 minutes, get out of bed and do something to wind down. Then get back into bed.
- Be a role model. The way you structure your employees’ days can set the tone for their nights. Don’t send emails late in the evening or give employees a 24-hour deadline late in the afternoon.
JILL, WHAT CAN I DO? Start prioritizing sleep. It’s one of the easiest things you can do to improve your health and mental well-being, maintain a proper weight, and up your concentration and performance. And, it’s in your control, so no excuses about why a good night’s sleep is not possible! If something is getting in your way, change it. My routine? 10 p.m. – 7 a.m. and I release my thoughts (not worries – I have none) into a journal before turning off the light, and resting my head on a memory foam gel pillow. I love sleep and fully believe it’s why I have the energy of the Energizer Bunny each day. Try it!