Sleep is important to your health, it is a well-known fact.
But beyond that, having a quality rest is one of the secrets of business success.
Remember the interviews of all the cool leaders you read.
Despite the difference in character traits, all these people are similar in one thing: they do not underestimate sleep and give themselves time to recharge.
And you should too.
This article shows how exactly sleep makes you a better leader and why you shouldn’t neglect it.
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1. You Will Manage Stress Easier
Being a business owner is pretty stressful.
Indeed, watching the stages of the project development and maintaining a healthy climate inside the team, as well as taking into account a ton of little things, just won’t keep you relaxed.
So, it is not surprising that according to recent studies, CEOs, and team leads usually sleep 2-3 hours less than average.
Which results in lower productivity and effectiveness as an executive.
See for yourself:
- Lack of quality sleep puts you into sleep debt and is perceived by the body as an additional stressful situation;
- An elevated level of stress neurotransmitters leads to anxious thoughts and prevents normal sleep;
- Sleep deprivation builds up and directly affects your productivity and mood.
It is unlikely that in such conditions you want to think about the long-term prospects, achievements, and missions of the company.
At the same time, entrepreneurs who get enough sleep cope better with unforeseen situations that are common for an intense work process. Plus, they are able to make informed decisions faster.
So, stop wearing your sleep deprivation as an honor medal and get good sleep!
2. You Will Boost Up Your Creativity
We need sleep not only to recharge but also to help the brain process things it has learned during the day.
This mostly occurs during the REM stage. Scientists have found that brain activity at this time is the highest in the areas that are responsible for:
- idea generation.
So, if you want to pump your creativity in order to be invincible during brainstorming or in order to come up with a development plan that will put your competitors behind, then good sleep is your best friend.
“Try to switch off thoughts about work after you leave the office. Physical activity works best with it: it increases the levels of endorphins in your blood, which makes you more relaxed and happy. But you can choose your own way of relaxation too.”
3. You Will Become More Socially Flexible
Good social skills are one of the key traits of an effective leader.
After all, during the working day, you have to communicate with many people, clients, partners, and subordinates and you need to find an effective approach to each of them.
Restorative sleep may help you find that approach in seconds.
The connection between these two things is pretty simple.
You probably know that non-verbal signals play a much larger role than words in interpersonal relationships. This may be:
- body language;
- facial expressions;
- voice intonation.
A successful leader can get along with anyone thanks to recognizing these non-verbal signals and responding to them correctly. However, some studies confirm that a prolonged lack of sleep affects the brain structures responsible for that. This is why people who do not get enough sleep might seem less appealing to talk to.
And the dark circles under the eyes often add to that impression.
“Make a good rest your priority. Don’t squeeze it between the meetings and briefings. You will see that a more serious approach to sleep can eventually lead you to success.”
4. Better Sleep for Better Leadership
Based on a McKinsey study of 81 organizations and 189,000 people around the world. For more, see Claudio Feser, Fernanda Mayol, and Ramesh Srinivasan, “Decoding leadership: What really matters,” McKinsey Quarterly, January 2015, mckinsey.com
Source: McKinsey analysis and synthesis of neuroscience research. See the article for additional citations.
According to several recent studies, the quality of sleep directly affects your leadership skills.
Here are just some of them:
- A 2017 study asked a sample of 40 managers to create reports on a daily basis for three months. This report included the amount of sleep, the rating of its quality, and the rating of team relationships during that day. This sample showed that managers who were sleep-deprived were more impatient, irritable, and antagonizing than their colleagues with a normal schedule, and as a result, their teams had significant worsening of the “leader-follower” relationship.
- Another study conducted in 2014 asked a sample of 88 managers and their subordinates to complete a small survey. The results of the survey showed that if the boss had poor sleep, then the abusive behavior was more likely to be executed the next day. As a result, their subordinates had less motivation and engagement in the working process.
In addition, lack of sleep adversely affects a person’s ability to:
- Optimize workflow and delegate tasks;
- Motivate and inspire the team;
- Make informed decisions;
“A boss who prioritizes quality sleep can set a good example for the whole team and may help them develop proper sleep hygiene.”
5. Sleeping Better Will Make You Less Moody
Finally, no one is surprised by the connection between bad sleep and emotional disorders. Lack of sleep is one of the causes of excessive irritability, anger tantrums, and repulsive behavior.
And that’s not what makes you a good leader.
See for yourself:
- Sleepless people have less control over emotions. When you’re on your own, it may be tolerable, but snapping at subordinates or making rash decisions during important negotiations may entail serious consequences for you and your company’s reputation.
- Your subordinates won’t be happy to see a boss who’s constantly grumpy. In the long run, this can create discord in a team or even lead to staff turnover, which is not the best indicator of a reliable company.
- It is more difficult for a sleepy person to accept criticism. Therefore, if you deliberately deprive yourself of sleep in favor of work, you may find yourself to be too sensitive toward reasonable criticism.
- Prolonged sleep deprivation very often leads to depression. One of the symptoms of this disorder is apathy, that is, loss of joy in life. It is obvious that in this state you might hardly be able to maintain good leadership qualities.
“Quality sleep restores your body’s reserves of glycogen and glucose, which are the main substances used by the brain to work. And during sleep, beta-amyloid fragments of amino acids associated with such brain diseases as dementia and Alzheimer’s disease are removed from the brain, so you’re literally waking up with a fresh head every morning.”
The correct balance between emotions and rationalization is important in business more than everywhere else. Bad sleep disturbs this balance, turning you into a hot-tempered and nervous person. To avoid that, be sure to make time to sleep well.
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