The secret of better rest
Pretty cool stuff happening here in the Airpark. But when I read about this month’s theme, it brought to mind sleep. What? Sleep? How can that be?
Let me explain.
Sleep is vital to our success. Good sleep boosts our immune system to help us fight off viruses and bacteria better.
Enough sleep helps our brains function more clearly which impacts our leadership and decision making abilities. Lack of sleep leaves us drained and grumpy and may adversely affect many facets of our lives, including personal relationships, work performance, and physical safety.
Despite the importance of a good night’s rest, many of us do not get enough of it. A McKinsey survey showed
that 66 percent of business leaders were dissatisfied with how much sleep they get and 55 percent were dissatisfied
with the quality of their sleep. According to 83 percent of them, their organizations did little or nothing to help educate employees about sleep. And yet, there is a direct link between leadership and sleep.
A key area of the brain impacted by sleep is the prefrontal cortex. While other parts of the brain may do OK with little sleep, the prefrontal cortex will not. This part of the brain is responsible for higher ordermental skills, things like attention, concentration, socioemotional processing, learning, memory, decision-making and creativity.
Now take a look at what McKinsey identifies as four qualities for good leadership: results orientation, solving
problems, seeking different perspectives and supporting others. We need our prefrontal cortex to be good leaders and our prefrontal cortex runs best when well rested.
So what is the secret to a good night’s sleep?
Once again, we turn to the brain, specifically the pineal gland which produces melatonin which regulates sleep.
So what’s the secret to a good night’s sleep
Suffice it to say, light matters. And less light is better when it comes to sleep. Help your brain prepare your body for sleep by reducing light as much as three hours before bedtime.
We all have a lot going on in our heads at any given moment.When that film keeps rollingafter we lie down to sleep, itwill keep us awake. Keep apad by your bed and whenthose thoughts thunder in, jot them down. In the dark. Write
the best you can, but get the story out of your head and onto paper.
Part 1: during the day be conscious of your actions. Limit caffeine. Limit alcohol. Exercise.
Part 2: Be deliberate about bedtime. Set a time and have a routine for getting ready for bed. This will signal to your brain that it is time for sleep.
Part 3: Make sure the room is cool and dark. Then do your relaxation exercises. You can download these from
any of the major online services.So if you are having trouble getting enough sleep, try these simple steps to
a better night’s rest.
If self-help doesn’t work or there are more serious underlying causes of insomnia, seek professional help. We all deserve a good night’s sleep.
Line of Sight would like to hear from you. What keeps you up at night? Send your questions to
firstname.lastname@example.org. Contact us for more information on the McKinsey article, “The Organizational Cost of Insufficient Sleep” by Nick van Dam and Els van der Helm.