Who knew we’d have a whole new genre of research on leadership and the importance of sleep! Arianna Huffington has a new book coming out titled The Sleep Revolution: Transforming Your Life One Night at a Time. This follow her TedTalk on how to succeed by getting more sleep. In addition, McKinsey and Company posted a piece on the organizational cost of insufficient sleep. And, Harvard Business Review has an article on the link between effective leadership and sleep.
Their collective message is that there is a national trend of leaders convincing themselves that they don’t need that much sleep. Almost 46% of leaders say that lack of sleep does not have an impact on their performance. Yet four of ten report that they do not get enough sleep at least 3 nights a week. Furthermore, there is credible research on how attention, concentration, creativity, emotional reactions, seeking different perspectives and decision making is impacted by lack of sleep. As leaders we have an opportunity to advocate for good sleep management and McKinsey lists some ideas:
- Offer Sleep Management Trainings at organizations. 70% of people in their survey said they would encourage trainings as part of leadership development programs. This is particularly helpful for people who travel a great deal as part of their work life.
- Impose email black-out times from 6pm-7am. A challenge with international firms but a good conversation none the less.
- A Planned Night Off where no one does email or phone calls allowing people to unwind, relax and get a good nights sleep. Studies showed that with a full night off that productivity increased the next day.
- Sleep Pods or Nap Rooms have shown to be very effective at increasing productivity during the day. One study found that 20-30 minutes of rest can recharge an individual and increase productivity.
- Disconnect. Can you take a retreat where there is no technology like this beautiful forest service cabin in Hells Canyon?
We know that leaders make mistakes, get easily overwhelmed, and overuse their strengths when tired. Perhaps, it’s time that we get strategic about getting some sleep. A Harvard Medical study found that 96% of senior leaders are experiencing some level of burnout. Would regular sleep and some boundaries around when, where and how much we will work help? How often do you get a good night’s sleep? How do you manage your boundaries?
Let me know what you are doing to manage your sleep and get a good night’s snooze!