Aside from providing design services and creating content, I also lead a remote team of 13 people from the United States and across the globe. I often speak and attend one to two industry conferences a month. Running a business, especially one that relies on my creative and technical skills, requires me to be mentally and physically at the top of my game. Many people have asked me what's my secret for staying productive. To be quite honest, there really is no secret. No matter how busy I get, I always make sure to get at least six to eight hours of sleep a night. As a morning person, I always get to bed early, so I can start my day fully recharged and refreshed.
Does Less Sleep Mean More Success?
Many people think most business owners who forego sleep are more successful. I can understand why people have that opinion. Some argue that the longer they are awake working, the more they can get done. With the current state of the global economy, I can also see why business owners embrace maintaining a very lean team and reward employees who work long hours with little rest. While you may think sacrificing a goodnight's sleep allows you to get more done, it will eventually hurt your business.
The Problem With Sleep Deprivation
What would you rather have: employees who go home on time because they are productive and do quality work while at the office, or tired and unproductive employees who have to stay after hours and do subpar work? Chronic Sleep Deprivation affects health, performance and safety. Staying awake longer than 18 consecutive hours will significantly decrease your reaction time and memory. It's much harder to focus when you're tired, and your decision making capacity is often adversely affected. Even worse, sleep deprivation accumulates over time. Over time if this pattern continues, hyper tension, obesity and heart disease is often the result. See crazy facts about sleep.
How Much Sleep Do We Really Need?
There are varying opinions on what is the right amount of sleep. According to the National Institutes of Health, the number of hours really depends on age and lifestyle. The chart below can be use as a guideline. Note that adults over the age of 18 should be getting at least 7.5 to 9 hours of sleep a night.
Want Success? Sleep More
Arianna Huffington of the Huffington Post says "sleep your way to success" if you want to be successful and I agree with her. Incubating ideas and innovation is key for growth. One simple way to make sure that we stay on top of our game is to be well rested and consistently get the right amount of sleep. I have found that the following practices have worked well for me and may help you too:
Here are simple sleep promoting techniques that can help you get the rest you need:
No matter what type of business you run or work you do, I highly recommend you make work-life balance a high priority. If you want to raise your own level of performance as well as your organizations, make sure everyone is getting the proper rest (see my thoughts on quantified self -- living a data-driven life). Sleep deprivation is a serious problem. Brain power is key to creativity and mental alertness. If you and your team are well rested, then you will be able to perform at your peak, avoid mistakes and be happier on the job. How much sleep do you get at night? Are you sleep deprived? What steps are you taking to promote better sleep patterns?
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