Sleep your way to successful leadership25 May 2016
It’s 1 pm and you are staring at a screen trying to find a solution to a workplace problem. As you finish, you realise you have an important email in your inbox and decide to tackle it tonight. Does this sound like you?
Many leaders believe that sleep has no effect on their performance, however, without proper time management skills training, a leader’s ability to function can be severely restricted.
Sleeping is the father of performance
According to a survey of 196 business executives by McKinsey & Company, sleep-deprived brains have a lower decision-making capability, which can lead to inaccurate and rash judgements.
Leadership training is one way to learn to schedule time for sleep.
Unfortunately many leaders still believe that sleep has no effect on leading. Specifically, the McKinsey’s survey found that 46 per cent of respondents believed that a lack of sleep is of little consequence to their leadership performance.
Yet, a 2005 paper by Durmer and Dinges drew on previous studies to show sleep deprivation is a drain on the cognitive performance of people and can lead to increased errors, memory and deterioration of performance.
Luckily there are a number of ways you can schedule sleep into your routine and avoid the pitfalls of a quick fix. Follow these two tips to get a better sleep.
1. Turn it off
The survey by Mckinsey also found that 47 per cent of respondents believed their organisation expected them to be too responsive to emails and phone calls.
Unfortunately, phones and computers are one of the main drivers of sleeplessness. A Harvard study showed that blue light subdued melatonin (a hormone needed to sleep) for nearly twice as long as green light.
Many leaders become stuck in a cycle whereby they are under pressure to constantly check their phone and when they are ready to sleep, they are unable to and thus return to their phones and computers.
One simple way to avoid this is to organise times when your phone and your computer will be turned off. This means talking to peers and employees about when they can communicate with you and when they cannot.
2. Avoid the sleeping pills
The contemporary world can be characterised by its consumption of pills. From paracetamol to Ritalin, the world is a little pill crazy.
Sleeping pills are another of those quick-fix solutions that busy people love to use. Yet, recent studies have shown that sleeping pills don’t in fact make you sleep better, they instead reduce the brain’s ability to create short-term memories, the Guardian reports. What this means is that people who take sleeping pills simply forget they have tossed and turned all night. When they wake in the morning, they believe they have had a great sleep when really they cannot recall the events that transpired in the night.
Relying on pills can lead to detrimental behaviours that rely on amnesia as a solution to over-work. Instead it is better to manage time and allocate spaces that allow you to relax and sleep.
As a leader, it is essential that you’re refreshed and clear-thinking every day. Being able to manage time properly is one part of this. If you would like to learn more, talk to an experienced time management training provider today.