Celebrate Sleep Awareness
You may not be aware that this week is National Sleep Awareness Week. Since 1998, the celebration begins with Daylight Savings Time (March 14 this year). It recognizes the impact of sleep (or lack of) on our mood and performance. And there is plenty of research on this important topic.
Why Manage Your Sleep
For instance, Nick vanDam, Chief Learning Officer at McKinsey, writes, “The frontal part of the neocortex, the prefrontal cortex, directs what psychologists call executive functioning, including all the higher-order cognitive processes, such as problem solving, reasoning, organizing, inhibition, planning, and executing plans. These help us get things done.”
Did you ever consider that you may be letting your clients and our team down when you are sleep deprived? They are depending on you to think clearly, make good judgments and solve problems. If you don’t take care of your sleep requirements, you won’t bring your best self—the one that your clients pay for.
How To Manage Your Sleep
Like other aspects of your life that you have to manage (time, priorities, energy, interruptions, etc), you must manage your sleep effectively. If you don’t do it, who do you think will?
Make sure you get enough quality sleep. Here are some tried and true suggestions that are very effective.
- Create a definite stop. When you decide to stop, STOP. Don’t linger on with checking email, voicemail and other things that delay the stop. STOP.
- Give yourself a “power down” period. It doesn’t have to be long, but it helps if it is consistent. Literally, power down: slow your breathing, slow your thoughts and physically relax.
- Don’t pressure yourself. If your body or mind won’t immediately cooperate, talk to yourself. “I see you’re not quite ready to power down. That’s ok. I’ve got some time. Just relax.” All the while, focus on powering down.
These steps aren’t novel. You’ve probably heard them before. Now it’s a matter of doing them because your sleep is essential to your professional contributions and your career enjoyment.
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