In the July 2011 Newsletter
Five Tips to Better Sleep and Results / Events / News
"How do you sleep at night?" That was a question a Venture Capitalist asked the soon-to-be CEO of our previous start-up. The answer, "Pretty well, until I wake up at 3:00 AM and think about work and can't fall back to sleep." Too many business leaders and others with important responsibilities on their shoulders, including me, know this scenario and start the day sleep-deprived.
The Sleep Situation
If you don't get enough sleep, you're not alone. "40% of Americans (100 million people) are moderately to severely sleep-deprived! High school and college students are among the most sleep-deprived people in our population. 60% are sleepy during the day and 30% fall asleep in class at least once a week," says Dr. James B. Maas in Power Sleep.
Sleep's Impact on Your Business
In his New York Times bestseller, Brainrules, Dr. John Medina shares, "Bad things happen when we donít get any sleep. Brainrule #7: Sleep well, think well."
Medinaís book has had a significant impact on me and my sleep behavior. I always burned the candle at both ends, working hard and playing hard. With more demands at work, I just reduced my sleep hours without realizing the impact it was having. As Mitch Albom, New York Times Bestselling author of Tuesdays with Morrie explains in his new book, Have a Little Faith, "There was a stretch where I could not have worked more hours in a day without eliminating sleep altogether. I piled on accomplishments. I made money. I earned accolades. And the longer I went at it, the emptier I began to feel, like pumping air faster and faster into a torn tire."
Medina summarizes, "When people become sleep-deprived, their ability to utilize the food they are consuming falls by about one-third ... you appear to accelerate parts of the aging process. Sleep loss cripples thinking. Sleep loss hurts attention, executive function, immediate memory, working memory, mood, quantitative skills, logical reasoning ability, general math knowledge. Sleep is rather intimately involved in learning. Some kind of offline processing is occurring at night."
Medina asks, "What if businesses and schools took the sleep needs of their employees and students seriously?" Here are a few suggestions.
Five Tips to Better Sleep and Results
||SLEEP IN A STORM. Albom shares a sermon from an eighty-two-year-old rabbi in his book, Have a Little Faith. "My friend, if we tend to the things that are important in life, if we are right with those we love and behave in line with our faith, our lives will not be curses with the aching throb of unfulfilled business. Our words will always be sincere, our embraces will be tight. We will never wallow in the agony of 'I could have, I should have.' We can sleep in a storm." Business leaders, consider what you can do to follow this advice so you can sleep through the night regardless of the challenging storms in your work. Does it include getting the right help, delegating, setting reasonable goals, letting go of control, and believing that things will work out?
||NAP. Medina states, "People vary on how much sleep they need and when they prefer to get it, but the biological drive for an afternoon nap is universal. One NASA study showed that a 26-minute nap improved a pilotís performance by more than 34 percent." Why not treat a nap similar to addressing other biological needs such as having lunch or taking a bathroom break. Rather than having employees hide their naps in their cars, companies could provide a space for and encourage a daily half-hour nap.
||SLEEP ON IT. When people are allowed 12 hours to pass from being given a challenge to providing a solution, they will have more insights. If they are allowed to get eight hours of regular sleep during this period, they perform even better. When presented with a problem, give employees a chance to get a good nightís rest before presenting a solution.
||HAVE A FLEXIBLE WORK SCHEDULE. Medina recommends allowing employees to choose their work hours so they can experience their major productivity peak. As explained in Kenneth Thomas' book, Intrinsic Motivation, four rewards ignite internal enthusiasm a sense of meaningfulness, choice, competency, and progress. Providing people the ability to choose is important. If people find meaning in their work, have choice over what or how they work, get feedback that they are competent at this work, and see progress being made, they are more intrinsically motivated and ultimately more productive. This is good for both the individual and the organization.
||MEDITATE, JOURNAL, EXERCISE, TAKE A BREAK. When you canít sleep what helps you? All work and no play, makes you and me more stressed and sleep-deprived. The week is designed with a weekend for a purpose. Are you taking a break so you can recharge? If so, you may sleep better and think better as a result.
Upcoming Public Events
Tuesday, August 23, 2011. Theresa is a nominee for an award from the Denver Business Journal. Join me at the Outstanding Women in Business Luncheon. 11:30 AM - 1:30 PM MDT at the Marriott City Center Hotel. Register at www2.bizjournals.com.
Wednesday, August 24, 2011.. Join Radish at the Innovation Quotient (IQ) Awards sponsored by the Boulder County Business Report. 5:30 PM MDT at the Boulder Theater. Register at www.bcbr.com.
Tuesday-Thursday, September 13-15, 2011. Hear Theresa speak in Austin, TX about Radishís ChoiceView and how it enhances collaboration, business conversations, and social media. Learn more at itexpo.tmcnet.com.
Good News and Practical Information for You
RADISH. Interested in more of the Radish story? Follow Radish @RadishSystems or @ChoiceView on Twitter. And subscribe to Radish's RSS feed.
BLOG. Check out my Radish Sprouts blog posts about business, career, and life performance. The latest posting is Seven Pointers from a Canoe Trip.
Believe, Visualize, and Act!
Theresa M. Szczurek, Ph.D., CMC®
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Radish CEO, Entrepreneur, and Speaker
Theresa M. Szczurek, Ph.D.
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