You may already know that sleep is key to your productivity.  It is impossible to remain focused and, on your game, when you have had just one night of restless sleep.  But research is also showing it is essential for leaders to perform.

It is well published that sleep can help maximise employee effectiveness.  However, it has been shown that team leaders lack of sleep can diminish perceived charisma in the eyes of their employees (Barnes et al., 2016).  And the body of evidence is growing to show that leaders need adequate sleep to perform to the high standards necessary to motivate and inspire.

Essentially, a good night’s sleep is essential for every system in the body.  From how we are motivated, our ability to respond to real or perceived stress, down to the functioning of the immune system.

So how do you we get the best night sleep?

Set a Routine

You need to establish a fixed sleep schedule, seven days a week.  This means going to bed at the same time every night.  This process is even more impactful when you marry it the signals your body gives you when tired. 

To improve on this routine, even more, set up a good transition into sleep.  Create a wind-down routine.  Cue your body into knowing it is going into a restful night’s sleep.  Turn off your devices, stop the intake of news and information.  Take a shower or bath to calm yourself and signal your parasympathetic nervous system; it is time for rest.

It’s crucial to keep regularity in the hours you sleep and wake up.  When your sleep is in sync with your rhythm, the quality is better.

Don’t Toss and Turn

Waking up at night, particularly if you are worried about an issue, is normal.  The problem is when you toss and turn in bed as you try to fall back to sleep.

If you can’t get back to sleep within 20 minutes of waking up, you should get out of bed.  Being restless in bed potentially reverses the conditioned arousal you have set up that allows your brain and body to associate your bed with sleep.

You must reset yourself.  Attempt to wind yourself down again.  Read – I always find a scientific journal does the trick!  When you start to feel the tiredness take over, go back to bed. Capitalise on the conditioned response. 

Warning – do not get up and start looking at your emails or surfing on the net.  It exposes you to light that sets your brain in motion, believing it is daytime.  It’s also a guaranteed way to destroy any sort of quality or beneficial sleep afterwards.

If you have a meditation app, you can play a track to help you get back into a relaxed mode.  This is more effective when you have previously practised the technique as a part of your daily routine.

Make Sleep a Priority for Yourself and Your Team

This is essential for leaders.  The way you help structure your employees’ days can set the tone for their nights.  Let your employees and team members know that their wellbeing, including their sleep, is valued.  Don’t send out late-night emails with the expectation that they will respond immediately.  And don’t set meeting times early in the morning without ample time to prepare, as it may cause your team to lose sleep. 

Supporting you and your team’s ability to get a quality sleep can have a massive impact on your company’s culture and productivity. 

Remember, if you’ve had a bad night, you’re likely to have a worse day.  If you get better sleep, that’s enough to reduce anxiety and stress going into the next day.  It is such a simple fix.  Don’t let it be the downfall of your performance as a leader or a person.

© Human Resources Global

Categories: Leadership

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