woman sleeping

The Secret Weapon High Performers Underutilize

Why is it that when it comes to our own performance and wellness one of the most forgotten tools is the amount of quality sleep we are getting on a consistent and daily basis. For most, we have been programmed to believe that if you are sleeping too long that you are considered lazy and unproductive. But is that really the case?

I know for me personally I am guilty of having this limiting belief for years even decades of my life. I grew up hearing things like “you can sleep when you’re dead”. Yet statistics would argue otherwise.

Now I know many of you that follow me are saying in your head right now, “But Ryan you always preach about rising early and how important your morning routine is for you” or maybe you research and read about many of the high level achievers across the world and how they all get up before the sun rises. And this is all true but you will see how important their daily routines are to them while still getting quality sleep.

Let’s be honest too that some of it is not your fault but the vast majority of it is within our control. It’s about taking action on what we know is important within our heart and I believe you know how important your sleep is to get the right amount of sleep but we fear being judged by others.

What the facts are saying

If you are a leader or manager of people, how closely are you looking after all the people around you? In working with corporations and leaders across the country I continue to find that most of them are performance driven first!

And while performance is an important element of growing teams or organizations if it is your primary focus you and your teams will struggle in the long run. Why? Because when you only focus on performance it comes physically and emotionally draining for you as a leader as well as everyone else.

But when you make them feel safe first and talk about things like how they are taking care of themselves their long term performance will skyrocket. And a huge piece of their self care includes sleep. As you can see below people we are not taking their sleep serious which is ultimately costing you money and having a high level performing team…

  • Roughly 1/3 of Americans do not get enough sleep.
  • Sleep deprivation is a productivity killer that costs the U.S. economy $63.2 billion each year.
  • Establishing a healthier sleep pattern can make you a better worker and happier person.

Time to Take Sleeping Serious

When you are running or managing a team what is one of the first things to suffer when trying to drive nothing but performance? Sleep! 

We constantly demand more and more out of individuals and we will either directly or indirectly work them to the bone to get a certain result.

Now let me ask you another question how long as a leader or person do you truly think that is sustainable? My guess would be deep down you know that we all have a breaking point where it is going to affect your mood and performance.

We seem to have become so accustomed to this fast paced world we live in and far too often forget about the well being of ourselves and teams. 

So what is it that makes sleep so important for our productivity and performance?

Sleep For Performance

Sleep is a vital part of you staying focused throughout the day and as we begin to lose focus our ability to work effectively diminishes. We here it all the time in so many areas of our lives about making sure we are present and in the moment, but as we lose sight on our tasks and goals we become less present. 

Even more so sleep deprivation as huge effects on your health and literally being physically present at work. Individuals that are sleep deprived increases the likelihood of missing work.

Another critical element is how important sleep is for our brains. Our brain is a vital organ for our ability to function and when you deprive yourself of sleep in puts tons of stress on your brain. 

 As Katharina Lederle, a sleep therapist, states that when you do not allow your brain to get the appropriate amount sleep it causes the neurons in your brain to fire at a slower rate. Meaning that it takes longer for you to think and react to any situations going on around you.

 We have seen this become an increasing problem across the nation. 

From 1975 to 2006, the number of “short-sleepers,” those who get six or less hours of sleep nightly, increased 22%. This lack of sleep has a costly effects on the economy, translating to roughly $2,300 in lost productivity per worker each year. That’s a total cost of $63.2 billion nationwide annually.

 Other Areas Sleep is hurting us

According to the American Sleep Association sleep deprivation is having other devastating effects on our lives. Some other areas include:

  • Diabetes 
  • Moodiness
  • Hunger
  • Working Memory and Attention

 We can clearly see the effects that a lack of sleep is having on our lives yet we still seem to not take it seriously and why is it one of the first things we give up when we take on heavier workloads?

 It is time to take about control of ourselves and teams overall wellness. It does not take much to implement some strategies to begin sleeping more and also getting quality sleep. Not tossing and turning all night or waking up every few hours.

Sleeping For Our Own Health

First off, as you saw above so many people are getting less than 6 hours of sleep per night. We should begin shooting for 7-9 hours of sleep as a healthy amount for most people.

Then the next and most effective step would be to start implementing quality sleep habits and routines…

The first piece of that puzzle that most people do not even have is an actual sleep routine. You might roughly wake up at the same time each day but when you are getting to sleep seems to be all over the place. This puts a ton of stress on your brain and body.

 I encourage you today to choose a time to get to sleep and wake up at roughly the same times each day. 

 And yes this includes your weekends as well! 

Far too often I work with companies, teams and individuals who follow this strict Monday-Friday and then on the weekends are staying up until midnight and sleeping in past when they normally wake up.

Then you wonder why Monday morning getting up for work is so difficult! You continue to throw your body off every single week! Choose your routine and stick to it! It will pay massive dividends on your energy levels each morning.

Another mistake people are make causing them to throw their sleep patterns off is the TV and gadgets. Either right before bed or even worse while you’re in bed. 

 This is causing multiple problems. First, while we watch TV it’s causing tension or excitement as you watch them. Keeping you from getting to the proper sleep you need.

 Secondly, the blue light has massive effects on the release of melatonin, an important chemical in helping you fall asleep.

 I could make a list that is pages long but I think you get the point. Deadly effects we are doing to ourselves causing us to become sleep deprived.

 What Really Matters

 Think about it we are constantly craving more out of our own lives. As leaders we want to see the people around us achieve high levels of success. Because ultimately it has wonderful effects for your team and organization.

 Yet we are constantly fighting the urge to drive performance first! I promise you that if you take a step back on work in the self care and well being of you and your team members the long run performance will be much greater than it would be working everyone to the bone.

I will be the first to admit, this is a limiting belief that I personally had to overcome myself! You posts on social media and from people around you that if you aren’t working you must be lazy. I had that belief as an entrepreneur that you had to work until one or two in the morning. Then turn around and get up at four or five. That’s what it took to be successful.

 I began to notice how it was crushing me from my mood swings and emotional energy levels. As the day went on and worst of all how I was treating my clients and team members.

 I realized that I was actually doing myself and all those around me a huge disservice. And as a company how much stress I was putting on team members which caused them to stress. Not wanting to be around be so ultimately our performance was falling apart slowly not getting better.

 That same stress is causing team members sickness and illness. It’s causing them to eat junk food to stay up late. Work on projects day in and day out causing them to either not show up to work or underperform. It’s costing healthcare dollars!

 The reality is we are smarter, more effective, efficient and have greater awareness when we are getting the appropriate and quality amount of sleep!

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