Sleep yourself to a better tomorrow
Sleeping better is one of the fastest and most efficient ways to improve our performance, our mood, our focus and our energy levels. Research however shows that we now sleep on average a whole hour less than we did in the 1940s and as we climb the corporate ladder our sleep often suffers even more.
Sleep loss has a very negative impact on neurocognitive functions like short-term memory and more complex mental tasks such as multi-tasking, decision-making and problem-solving. When we sleep our memory performs a cleaning shift. The neural connections that collect important data are strengthened and those created from irrelevant information are removed.
Even a reduction in sleep of just a few hours has a real impact on our impulsiveness, coordination, focus and slows down our speed of response significantly; we might find ourselves slurring our words when speaking as if we had had a few glasses of wine.
- Staying up for 24 hours has a similar effect to having 4 glasses of wine—facts worthwhile considering before pulling an all-nighter at work.
- If we are awake for more than 17 hours our response speed is up to 50% slower and we would not be considered able to safely drive a car.
- 37% of people with severe sleeping problems also are at risk for a burn-out.
Sleep and career—Debunking the myths
What are the myths surrounding sleep and your career and performance? Dr. med Lutz Grauman, Phd & specialist in sports medicine, nutrition and chirotherapy and member of the Dagsmejan medical advisory board, debunks the common myths and shares the real story behind how sleep impacts our career.
The impact of a healthy restorative sleep on your career
There are still a lot of myths around the quality and the quantity of sleep needed to be able to perform at our best. But one quote by Bill Clinton illustrates the impact sleep has on our performance. When Barack Obamas was elected into office Bill Clinton was asked what his number one advice to him was. His answer? Don’t take any decisions when you are tired. In his long career he only made terrible mistakes when he was working too hard and sleeping too little. There is a direct correlation between the occurrence mistakes and problems and sleep deprivation.
Let’s look at the myths surrounding sleep and performance:
1. I can learn to get by with little sleep
A lot of consultants still think that they can learn to get by with little sleep. A survey with a big consultancy group showed that half of the consultants slept 5 hours or less during the week.
However, we know from human physiology that we need at least 6 hours of high quality sleep to have a normal next day, not even a high performing next day. If you are sleep deprived for more than 2 days it’s equivalent to be drunk.
That’s why high performers, such as Jeff Bezos, prioritize getting at least 8 hours of sleep very night.
2. Early bird catches the worm
The second myth to bust is that only the early bird catches the bird. A lot of young managers still think that they have to be the first in the office and the last one to leave. They wear their long office hours as a badge of honor but that’s not how it works.
We need to understand our own circadian rhythm to be at our creative best. That might mean coming in later in the morning if we are more of a night owl.
We can’t do creative work during 12 hours, performance at the workplace is not a linear thing but rather an oscillation curve where we have ups and downs during the day.
3. Recovery breaks are for losers
Some people still think that recovery breaks are for losers but studies show that it’s the opposite.
Anders Eriksson did research for over 10 years on high performance individuals from different fields- sports, business and the creative arts. He measured a number of variables and 2 things stood out as a commonality for high performers. The first one was deliberate practice, they deliberately work on things that they are not yet good at as part of a growth mindset.
The second variable that high performers have in common is that the find a way to integrate power naps into their everyday rhythm. They bring down their automatic nervous system to rest and digest the learnings from the morning so that they are available for the afternoon hours.
Experience it for yourself
Combining the finest natural fibres with the latest sleep technology Dagsmejan sleepwear is scientifically proven to help you sleep longer and deeper. By staying longer in the ideal climatic zone we can ensure that we can enjoy truly restorative sleep to wake up with focus, energy and clarity to take on whatever the day may offer.