Often I get asked “what can I do to become a better leader in my organization?” The truth of the answer is, it all depends. And the response is, “What do you mean?” Well, I have never been a “magic bullet theorist”, but if you are looking to make one simple change to become a better leader, it would be ensuring you get your 8 hours.
High performing athletes have known for years the value of getting a good night of sleep. They know their performances, both physical and mental, will only improve when they give their bodies a sufficient amount of quality sleep. Yes that’s right, sleep more! Somewhere in the range of 8-9 hours of consistent good quality sleep allows the body to properly repair itself.
When you are sleeping, the mind actually starts to build neural pathways, allowing you to develop greater insights and solutions for the challenges you face at work. Have you ever heard the saying, “let me sleep on it?” Well, this is the actual science behind that saying, and it’s one of the reasons that when you do get a good night’s sleep, you are able to perform better. Some of the great leaders like Winston Churchill were known to take naps in order to be better leaders.
So given the new challenges we face in our modern day world, here are a few sleep strategies that you can use.
Yes, set one day aside without checking emails or your smartphone and you might surprise yourself by how relaxed you will begin to feel once you overcome the initial fear of missing something important. Do this, and you will see a remarkable difference in the quality of sleep you get. Just give it a try, and you will see for yourself.
Exercise and Diet
Ensure you are eating whole foods that contain the nutrients your body requires and avoid consuming too much sugar and caffeine. Combined with getting a sufficient amount of exercise, will greatly improve the quality of your sleep and will increase the rate at which you fall into a deep sleep.
Plugs and Mask
Simple and highly effective towards improving the quality of your sleep; a sleep mask blocks any outside light and ear plugs reduce ambient room noise significantly. If you live in a noisy urban centre and struggle falling and staying asleep, give this a try.
A good night of rest is often overlooked in our culture. Simply improving the amount and quality of your sleep will have a drastic impact on any goal you are trying to achieve as a leader.
All the best in achieving your highest performance.
Image courtesy of Witthaya Phonsawat at FreeDigitalPhotos.net