Sleep is the best meditation. – Dalai Lama
In today’s fast paced corporate world, our entire workforce deals with multiple challenges. As leaders, we expect our team to be thoroughly equipped with the right amount of skills to conquer these challenges. These skills could vary from getting along with others to making important decisions, handling changes to solving problems, and managing emotions to leading teams.
Delivering results in today’s highly competitive world is pushing us to spend extra time and mental power into official matters. To make the situation worse, traffic conditions and other challenges of urban life play a large role in deteriorating the quality of life.
A medical doctor of the Boston Sleep Care Center said, “Sleep is not a luxury but a necessity for optimal brain functioning.” Sleep is important for various aspects of brain functions including concentration, reasoning, efficiency, and performance. The way your team members feel, behave, and perform largely depends on their sleep pattern.
Professor K. Anders Ericsson’s study shows that leading performers spend 10,000 hours of disciplined practice to be the best in their fields. According to him, there is one more factor that significantly influences peak performance – sleep. On average, the best performers slept for 8 hours and 36 minutes.
Studies show that ongoing sleep deficiency affects the functioning of the brain, resulting not only in chronic health problems but also in a sluggish thought process, slow reaction time, delayed learning pace, and not getting along well with others. The fact is that shortened sleep not only impacts individuals, but also the organization growth.
While sleeping, our brain processes the entire day’s activities and releases hormones that control our energy, behavior, feelings, and actions when we are awake. Studies show us that an adult brain requires 7 to 9 hours of sleep to process. When we sleep less over a period of time, our overall performance takes a dip. In India we get an average of six and half hours of shut-eye.
The good news is that the number of zzz hours is not the only factor that affects our mood and functioning. If you are unable to invest 8-9 hours of sleep, you can still manage to sleep less and do more with high-quality sleep. There are two important factors that define the quality of our sleep: deep sleep and REM (rapid eye movement) sleep.
Our brain and body experience the most relaxed state during deep sleep. Our brain is the most active during REM sleep – this is the stage where we start dreaming. A lack of REM sleep lowers reasoning power and creates problems in concentration. Good quality sleep ensures that we spend adequate time in both these stages, giving us the benefits of 8-9 hours of sleep in less time.
The National Sleep Foundation suggests these tips for healthy sleep:
- Stick to a sleep schedule, even on weekends
- Exercise daily
- Evaluate your bedroom to ensure ideal temperature, sound, and light
- Sleep on a comfortable mattress and pillows
- Beware of hidden sleep stealers, like alcohol and caffeine
- Turn off electronics before bed
Let’s sleep better and get ready to be more productive at work and in our daily lives.