You might be considering ways to work more efficiently into the night, but the reality is that many of us could benefit from MORE shut-eye. For years people are told that nothing gets accomplished whilst you are asleep. Profiles of accomplished people claim they operate perfectly on little sleep, a badge of honour, so it was inferred that sleeping less and working more is a good thing.
Wrong. Self confessed workaholic Arianna Huffington, (she of the Huffington post), suffered facial injuries when she collapsed from exhaustion, now preaches about the virtues of healthy sleep, and I’m a convert. Since hearing her TED Talk on the subject (LINK), I’ve been going to bed much earlier. Getting my ideal eight hours means I wake up feeling well rested, which results in more energy and is helping me working better.
You may wonder why I’m writing about this in a blog of business stuff.
Well, it’s something I’ve never read in one before and I found it a little odd that there isn’t more about it. My dad suffered from mental health issues. He’ll never admit it, but it’s true. Chronic depression is bought on by several things, least of all a business that failed or the feelings of not being able to provide what he wanted for his family because things just weren’t working out the way he wanted. So to avoid an issue of how rested you are in order to give as much energy as possible to your business seems daft to me.
If you won’t take it from me, take it from some people who know what they are talking about. The mental health charity MIND, describe some genuine characteristics that happen everyday in the business world and how they affect sleeping patterns.
There are number of different ways that a mental health problem can have an impact on your sleep. For example:
Stress and anxiety can cause you to have thoughts racing through your mind, making it difficult for you to sleep. If you are stressed or anxious you are also more likely to experience disturbed sleep, perhaps experiencing nightmares, sleep paralysis and sleep walking. If you have sleep problems over a long period of time, you may also develop anxiety or phobias about going to sleep which can then cause insomnia or make existing insomnia worse.
Depression can mean that you find it very difficult to face your day-today responsibilities, and you may find yourself sleeping more in order to avoid them. This can lead to oversleeping – either sleeping late in the morning or a lot during the day. Oversleeping can cause fatigue and lethargy, and make it difficult to sleep well at night. If you experience difficult or troubling thoughts as part of depression, this can also cause insomnia. You may find it harder to fall asleep, or you may wake early and be unable to get back to sleep.
So if you think back to people you have worked with have you seen them anxious and stressed? The reason I pick those two is that they are ‘easier’ to see than depression. People who are depressed, can hide it very well until it all becomes too much and just ‘break’. Please don’t think it’s a ‘cop-out’ on daily life…it’s not. It’s hard. It’s painful and one of the worst feelings in the world, so be kind.
But as I look further into why peoples sleeping patterns or lack of, affect people in business, some of the results are fairly apparent and should certainly be guarded against as you continue your self employed or entrepreneurial journey.
Over a long period of time, a severe sleep problem could lead to a mental health problem, or may make an existing mental health problem worse.
Sleep problems can lead to any of the following:
Struggling to deal with everyday life – tiredness reduces your ability to deal with difficult situations as well as the challenges of day-to-day life. This may lower your self-esteem, make it harder to cope and cause your mental health to deteriorate.
Feeling of loneliness – fatigue can cause you to stop carrying out your usual social activities, leading you to become socially isolated. Social isolation can then lead to mental health problems such as depression or anxiety.
Low mood – if you don’t get enough sleep, or if your sleep is disturbed, this can affect your mood, energy levels and ability to cope with daily tasks. If this occurs over a long period of time, it can start to have an effect on your mental health, and lead to mental health problems, such as depression or anxiety.
Negative thoughts – if you are tired, this can affect your ability to rationalise anxieties and irrational thoughts, which can feed into negative thinking patterns associated with mental health problems.
Psychotic episodes – if you have a psychotic disorder, or bipolar disorder, a lack of sleep can trigger mania, psychosis and paranoia, or make existing symptoms worse
These were the results of a ‘Headline’ study by The Sleep Council.
The odd thing is that we all KNOW that at least 8 hours sleep is good for us, our minds and bodies. Unless you’re a teenager or at University where apparently its the right thing to sleep most of your life away. However, back to the real world and i was genuinely fascinated tht even though we know that and even though we know that lack of sleep affects our productivity, or businesses, our relationships and even our health, we seem to WILLINGLY ignore it.
Now whilst that’s interesting if you then take a look at the ‘Average sleep in Cities Around the World’, but specifically where Stock Exchanges are and ‘hubs’ of international business, it could start you thinking that the people that work in those cities are a little ‘close to the edge’ when it comes to their health and their ability to make decisions.
So having completed a little experiment over a week, here are some ideas that peers and ‘experts’ recomended for getting enough sleep.
No caffeine after 7pm
Review your diary for the next day early in the evening; identify the MUST DO tasks or goals for the day.
Shower BEFORE bed instead of next morning.
Get the kids bags and lunch boxes ready.
Choose what you’re wearing for the following day and sort it before you go to bed.
Take 10 minutes to tidy up, especially the bedroom so you wake up to a neat space.
Spritz pillows and sheets with Lavender spray, associated with calm.
Read before sleep.
ShUt down ALL electronic devices an hour before bedtime. (The light tricks the brain)
Dim all lights an hour before bedtime.
Place a notebook by the side of the bed, so if you do wake up with an idea, write it down…then go back to sleep.
An orgasm before sleep (seriously..someone suggested that. So most men, that won’t be a problem then!)
Until next time,
Sleep on it and be brilliant,
Marc is running a workshop on Monday July 11th on Brilliant Marketing. We’ll be looking at the role of positive psychology in marketing; the unfair advantage small businesses have over their larger competitors; the customer journey and what it takes to build a brand. Click HERE for more information.