GREAT LEADERSHIP TAKES GREAT SLEEP

It’s no secret that work is more valued in our culture than rest. The intense focus on productivity can make it seem like the most successful people must have more time than the rest of us. As we pursue better lives and more abundant resources, skimping on sleep is simply a sacrifice that many of us accept. But anyone who’s weathered self-imposed fatigue knows that avoiding sleep is an unsustainable way to get ahead. While devoting more hours to work might have great returns in the short term, those all-nighters will come back to bite you. We invite you to join the ranks of high achievers who have discovered – through trial, error, and often pain – that satiating sleep is the only way to support a life of success.

Good leaders are good at setting boundaries.

Who has the time to get more than the recommended minimum of 7 hours of sleep? People who make the time – that’s who. Parkinson’s law demands that work will expand to fill the time available for its completion, so drawing boundaries is the only way to create a balanced life. It’s only natural that work can also contract when given less time. Making it do so demands that you be in the best possible headspace to support your best work (not to mention your confidence). Getting there requires prioritization and discipline, which will make you flex your leadership muscles. By protecting the time you devote to sleep, you improve your likelihood of success. That means blocking of your weekends, too. How do you get into the state of mind where you can easily make time for sleep? Easy – you sleep!

Why spend time on sleep?

There are two attributes of sleep that help its benefits to snowball. The first is that (for most of us) it’s easy. Your body and brain both need it, and they’re usually in cahoots to make sure that you get it. The second is that it’s self-reinforcing. High-quality sleep has the incredible power to exponentially magnify your best efforts, while getting the bare minimum – or less – will ultimately undermine them. For effective leaders, high executive functioning is key. The prefrontal cortex empowers us to focus, properly assess our circumstances, plan for the future, and execute. When our sleep is inadequate, so is our executive functioning. That’s why your progress doesn’t usually correspond with the amount of time you put in. After a certain point, sleep-deprived work delivers diminished returns. You might think your bed shouldn’t affect your business, but it does. A quality night’s sleep is the best preparation a leader can have for doing great work.

Support for the sleep you need.

The future you – the version that has more power, influence, and satisfaction – will sleep better at night. Part of that will be due to the successes you’ve achieved and your new station in life. Part of it will be attributable to the awesome, perfect-for-you, cloudlike comfort of your bed. If you’re in the fake-it-till-you-make-it stage of life, one of these things is still under your control and can happen immediately. When you change your bed, you change your life. So start your search for a better mattress today. And if you’re already successful in spite of your horrible sleep space, count your blessings and make an investment in your future. Either way, there’s nowhere to go but up!

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