Would you like to sleep your way to a better career, a better life and a better feeling you?
No, this post isn’t about that old adage “sleeping your way to the top” and has absolutely nothing to do with sex. This post is about how getting the right amount of sleep for YOU can help boost your career.
Did you know that the average adult needs between 7 and 9 hours sleep per night and the actual amount needed depends on the individual?
Do you get these hours? Are they enough for you? There is a way you can work out just how much sleep you need and we will discuss this later in the post.
In this post, we will talk about sleep patterns and how to train your body and mind to adopt good sleep patterns.
How getting the right amount of sleep helps your body and mind. The fact that sleep is one of your basic needs to survive and thrive should indicate just how important it is yet it is something we tend to deprive ourselves of on a regular basis.
How sleeping well can help boost your creativity and productivity giving you the best chance to push you forward in your chosen career or business.
We will also discuss why all leading athletes make sleeping and rest a high priority activity in their training programmes. Especially before big athletic events.
Do you get enough sleep?
This question may seem trivial when thinking about your business or career but essentially it should be the first place to start if looking to improve yourself, your creativity and productivity.
The Impact of Sleep Deprivation
Sleep deprivation is not just about losing full nights of sleep or having gone without a few nights sleep. Sleep deprivation and ongoing sleep deprivation is caused by losing as little as an hour of good sleep each night.
Only getting 6 hours instead of the seven that your body may need is enough to cause the symptoms of sleep deprivation after even a few nights, and the longer this goes on the more these symptoms will start to take a toll on you and your life.
They say we can never really catch up on sleep that we have lost, but we can start to help our bodies recover from sleep deprivation by starting to get the right sleep and rest that our bodies need.
Sleep deprivation causes many symptoms, some more harmful than others but the longer this continues the worse the symptoms become and the more it will impact not only your day to day life but on your physical and mental health. You can not get used to just having 5 hours of sleep at night as some people think. Actually, you just find ways or get used to coping or dealing with sleep deprivation symptoms and less fulfilling life.
Sleep deprivation symptoms include but are not limited to:
- Day time sleepiness or tiredness.
- Excessive yawning.
- Low moods and when severe depression.
- Difficulty completing tasks.
- Difficulty learning new things or retaining information.
- Body aches and pains.
- Digestive issues.
The Centre for Disease Controls and Prevention (CDC) reports that at least 1 in 3 adults do not get the required amount of sleep that they need. They also state that a good nights sleep is critical for your good health! While many studying sleep and sleep deprivation associate sleep deprivation to increased risk of developing health issues such as diabetes, strokes, obesity and heart disease. You can read more about what they have to say here – https://www.cdc.gov/media/releases/2016/p0215-enough-sleep.html
The above can all become issues in a very short period of time by losing as small amount as 1 hour per night. Can you see how this can become so detrimental to your life and business? That 1 hour of sleep loss can play havoc with your life very quickly.
This can be a costly mistake for those just starting out on a new venture or trying to build a side hustle that they want to take full-time. You will hear and read many stories of changes that people make in their daily lives to work hard on their side hustle or part-time business while still working in full-time employment for paid wages. I have seen many people get up a few hours earlier or stay up later once family have gone to bed to get the time they need to work on their dream.
Now, I am not saying that this is bad, on the contrary, getting up those few hours earlier if that is when you produce your best work completely makes sense. What I am saying, however, is do not let this impact on the amount of sleep you get each night. If you are going to get up earlier, ensure you go to bed earlier. If this is difficult try to have a nap at some point during the day. This will allow you to still ensure you are getting the rest and sleep your body requires to function at it’s best.
Why Getting the Right Amount of Sleep Will Boost Your Business
So now we have seen how sleep deprivation can impact on your daily life how will you get the right amount of sleep need for you to help you boost your career and become better in business?
Well as we have seen above some of the symptoms of sleep deprivation can have serious negative impacts on you throughout your day. Struggling to focus, loss of concentration, difficulty retaining information are to name but a few. Just think for a minute how suffering from just these few symptoms on a daily basis will have you struggling to run or achieve a successful business.
The truth is we all want to be successful and put our best work out there. We want creativity to come easily and have super productive days where we breeze through most of our work in a happy and fulfilled manner. We want to make positive impacts on the people we deal with through our business, and sustain these relationships longterm.
I bet there are very few who can honestly say they get the most out of themselves each and every day whether in business or their personal lives. Juggling a successful business and person commitments can be difficult at times and this becomes all the harder when you simply don’t have the energy to sustain one let alone both. If you are putting all your energy into your business it leaves you with very little to put into relationships with your friends or family.
This can be a reason why so many fail in their personal relationships or at least put a heavy strain on the relationship when starting or growing a business. It probably has less to do with the time spent on the business and more to do with how you are when you are meant to be present with family. The fact that sleep deprivation makes you irritable and have mood swings and have low levels of energy. The truth is it is normally those that are closer to you, such as partners, children and immediate family that will feel the impact of this more. They will be the ones whom you are short-tempered with or short with. Not the people you are dealing with through your business. The fact you are putting all into that business or work leaves you even more tired and unable to give what is needed to sustain and nourish the relationships you have.
How Much Sleep Do You Need?
So as stated before it is understood that different people need different amounts of sleep. Yes, sleep really is as individual as you.
The one way to find out just how much sleep you and your body does need to is to set a time for going to sleep and wake without an alarm. If you can do this over a week and then take an estimate from there it will help you in trying to find the correct amount of sleep for you. When awakening in the morning don’t be tempted to just roll over and have another half-hour as that will impact on your results.
So if you do this for seven nights and the pattern is as follows:
Monday – 7hrs, Tuesday – 7 hrs 40 mins, Wednesday – 8 hours, Thursday – 7hrs 10mins, Friday – 8hrs 5 mins, Sat 9 hrs 25 mins and Sunday 7 hrs 35 mins.
Add all 7 nights hours of sleep up, get a total and then divide that total by 7. This will help you to get a rough estimate of the hours that your body needs sleep. So the above equates to around 8 hours of sleep per night.
Another good way to track your sleep is by using a FitBit or similar style of fitness tracker watch. These again are maybe not always 100% accurate but will give you an idea of how you are sleeping.
Now this will be an easier task for some than others as there are many people who do not sleep well or suffer from sleep conditions such as insomnia. If you are one of these people please don’t be disheartened, there are many things you can also do to help improve your sleep too and allow you to start getting more sleep and feel more rested.
You may have to work at getting into a good sleep pattern for a little longer than some others but I am sure it will be worth it when you start to see the benefits it brings to your life. Including your work and productivity.
Good Sleep Patterns
The best way to ensure your body is getting the rest and sleep it requires is by working our the amount of sleep you need and then developing a good sleep pattern.
There are many things you can do to enhance or even get a good nights sleep. Your sleep should be as important to you as working out or eating healthily to maintain good mental and physical health. In fact working out, earlier in the day where possible will also help you to get a better nights sleep.
So where should you start in creating a good, healthy sleep pattern? Well firstly by setting a time for bed and sticking to it. This should be individual to you as you know when you work best. If you work best in the morning, set a time to allow you enough sleep before getting up and starting on your work. This may mean being in bed by 9 or sometimes even earlier if you are wanting to put in a few hours before going to a job. If you work better later in the day allow for this. However, please remember to give yourself time to unwind before bed. You can have a different time at weekends but try not to make the difference too substantial that it interrupts your pattern and again allow for enough sleep as a later night means a later rise the following morning.
Now that you have set a sleep time it is time to start thinking about a routine for settling you and helping you to relax before going to bed. This is a routine will help you to unwind before going to bed. Things like listening to music, reading a book, journaling or relaxation and stretching exercises.
The one thing you should avoid is being in front of a screen. Whether that is your computer, phone, tablet or television. These electronic devices emit what is known as blue light and is said to interfere with your sleep. This is because blue light can delay the release of melatonin, a hormone that helps induce sleep. The National Sleep Foundation believes that with the melatonin being delayed this also helps shift the bodies natural circadian rhythm by a few hours meaning you will not fall asleep until later.
So if you are going to make reading a part of your bedtime routine try to read from paper, like a book or if you always read from a tablet invest in a blue light filtering screen. These can be purchased from here, on Amazon. It is also worth noting that while the Amazon Kindle Fire has an option to turn on the blue shade, it will only reduce the blue light emitted and not completely filter it out.
Another good way to relax with a book is by listening to it. Many people have started using software and apps such as Audible to listen to books. This can be a real time saver as you can also listen while driving or working. This is how I chose to consume most of my books nowadays. I tend to listen to business books at night and although they may help you to have ideas or think of concepts for your business because you are listening you can simply pause the book and write your idea down. Writing it down is a good way of getting it off your mind before bed and not having the worry of forgetting about it.
Journaling is a good way to unwind too, writing down what you have accomplished that day and even making small notes of what you want to work on the following or ideas that you have. Get them down on paper so you don’t forget about them and also help free some space to help your mind relax.
Often some of the best ideas we have are while we are relaxing, so no matter what you are doing to unwind on an evening before bed I would recommend that you have a pen and paper nearby to write those ideas down.
Sleep and Top Performers
As I briefly touched on at the start of this post I want to talk about how athletes use sleep to stay at the top of their game. Now it is not just athletes that do this it is all top performers in life. People may be able to sustain short bursts at being at the top without paying attention to sleep but those who really know what it takes and the importance of sleep remain at the top for longer. I have chosen to use athletes due to them being physically active and that seems to give us a clearer understanding of them needing sleep, however, they simply know sleep is a basic need for good health.
Top athletic performers and coaches pay much attention to sleep and rest. Some to the point where it is classed as an activity on their training schedule.
You see athletes know the importance of sleep for them to be able to perform at their best and train efficiently on a daily basis that is why it is scheduled into their training plan. Rest is the other big factor for them. See it is not just sleep but rest that athletes need to enable their bodies to recover from training. As easy as it may sound resting can often be a difficult task for people who are so active but in order for them to gain the most from their training and ask their bodies to repeatedly perform at such levels resting and getting proper sleep is a major role in them being at the top of their game or becoming successful.
Sleep deprivation would mean that there training would suffer. They would not be able to put as much into training due to being tired and equally, they would not get enough out of training to allow them to grow and become better at what they do. Most top performers see sleep as the starting point to all things great, to all they can achieve as they know with the right sleep they can perform at their best no matter what they are doing.
If you would like to go deeper into understanding sleep amongst both athletes and top performers I would recommend reading or you listen to Peak Performance by Steve Magnius and Brad Stulberg.
You can purchase this from Audible.
Make Sure You Prioritize Sleep
Now that you are aware how sleep deprivation can impact negatively on your life and business and how you can, in fact, sleep your way to a better career and life make sure you make it a priority in your life.
It may take a little while to find out what amount of sleep you need and get a good sleep pattern in place but once you figure it all out you will certainly reap the rewards.
You will be more alert, more driven, more focused and have more concentration, tasks will become easier and ideas and concepts that you can implement in your business will flow easier and quicker than they did before.
Once you prioritise your sleep and start getting enough you will find that other areas in your life start to improve and you start to manage your business with more proficiency and gusto than you now do. Not only will your business, career or work improve all other aspects of your life will improve too, but you will also become more present in everything you do allow you and others to get the most and best from you.
Remember that sleep is a basic human need the same as food, water and shelter and you should prioritise it as such.