The Importance of Sleep

Get Up EarlyPersonally, I regard myself as someone who needs to get enough sleep.  If I fail in getting enough sleep it soon catches up with me and it's clear for every one to see. The quality and attention to detail of my work suffers and I am more stressed and less than happy.

Doctors have stressed the importance of sleep for good mental and physical health as it provides an opportunity for both the brain and the cells of the body, which have all been working flat out during the day to repair and recuperate.

I am sure this is not new news for any of us, but how does lack of sleep affect our performance on the job each day, our relationships with those around us and our ability to concentrate and produce quality work.

Sleep is known to directly impact on our mood, our energy levels and how able we are to concentrate.  So if your colleagues call you Miss Grumpy - you need to ask yourself if you are getting enough sleep?

It has been scientifically proven that women need more sleep than men do.  Here is a recent study conducted by researchers from Duke University in Durham, North Carolina on just that subject.  Follow this link to read more.

Although I did not need this report, I've been telling my husband this for years.

Many of us probably spend less time sleeping that we used to, for a number of reasons.  For example we have 24 hour access to TV, videos, documentaries, movies,  series that never come on at a good time and large number of entertainment options, which sometimes we feel we cannot miss out on. Then there is social media.  

If you're like me, social media has become part of the job, so you're not only updating on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook or any of the many other social media options available to us now to keep up with friends and family, but it is also an important part of how we do business.

Most of us now have access to all of these things via our smart phones, (another part of the world of social and business life) with our emails reaching us wherever we are at at all hours.  We keep our phones stuck to us like an extra body part.  So much so that it is probably the last thing we look at before we go to sleep.  Forget kissing the partner goodnight before we close our eyes, it may well be our phones.

And this is the point, that we have to tear ourselves away from this information interaction to get enough sleep.  Life is 24 hours - and I know, it always has been, but the human body was not made to operation at full pelt 24 hours.

The increase in stress and the need to be 'on top of our game' all the time can reduce the amount and quality of sleep that we find we're able to get.

So when I saw this picture for at least the second time, I thought I might put a few sentences together around this top and its impact on our behaviours, performance and quality of personal interactions we have, due to sleep deprivation.  I guess it also brought back to me my own struggle a high achiever and to put in enough hours for rest and sleep.  I also wish to note that I have no idea where this image came from, so can't give the appropriate credit.

Sleep is a strong component to the success of your business, your career and the quality of your relationships.  Actually it could easily be said, I believe this to be true, that amount and quality of the sleep you get will impact on the amount of  success you experience, your creativity and in general your own life. Sleep deprivation

Well if you'd like to improve your effectiveness in home and work, then here are a few points taken from Harvard Health news published a few years ago, on the benefits of getting enough sleep.

The Harvard Women’s Health Watch suggests six reasons to get enough sleep:

  1. Learning and memory:  Sleep helps the brain commit new information to memory through a process called memory consolidation. In studies, people who’d slept after learning a task did better on tests later.
  2. Metabolism and weight:  Chronic sleep deprivation may cause weight gain by affecting the way our bodies process and store carbohydrates, and by altering levels of hormones that affect our appetite.
  3. Safety:  Sleep debt contributes to a greater tendency to fall asleep during the daytime. These lapses may cause falls and mistakes such as medical errors, air traffic mishaps, and road accidents.
  4. Mood:  Sleep loss may result in irritability, impatience, inability to concentrate, and moodiness. Too little sleep can also leave you too tired to do the things you like to do.
  5. Cardiovascular health:  Serious sleep disorders have been linked to hypertension, increased stress hormone levels, and irregular heartbeat.
  6. Disease:  Sleep deprivation alters immune function, including the activity of the body’s killer cells. Keeping up with sleep may also help fight cancer.

And here are a few personal tips from me:

  1. Sleep is as important to your health and well being as food and water.  Plan quality sleep time into your life.
  2. Appreciate that people require different amounts of sleep.  Find out just how much sleep is good for you, make sure you get it.
  3. Put down, turn off or hide your smart phone at least 1 hour before you go to bed to sleep, to allow your mind and body enough time to wind down.
  4. Ensure at least 3 time per week you go to bed earlier than usual to enable your self to catch up with your sleep allowance.
  5. Find your own person winding down route.
  6. Ask those around you to help you get your sleep patterns under control.

Successful women, ensure they get enough sleep.

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