Many executives and senior leaders are getting by on little rest and see no way around it. In a hyper-connected culture, we try to squeeze out more and more from ourselves and others. We push for productivity, an edge, the next new thing. When it seems there are not enough hours in the day, something has to give, and often it’s sleep.
But sleep is not a luxury. Sleeping less reduces brain power, productivity, and the ability to communicate. It also diminishes concentration, lowers creativity, and impairs memory and motor skills — including people skills.
Lost sleep triggers moodiness, increases pressure and anxiety, and is related to a variety of serious health problems and increased healthcare costs.
If all of that isn’t enough of an argument for sleeping more, consider that as a lack of sleep hinders leadership performance, it can put your organization at risk as a result. A recent study concluded that fatigue-related productivity losses cost an estimated $1,967 per employee annually. And it limits the ability to respond to complex organizational challenges.
Even small amounts of sleep deprivation can take a toll on our moods, cognitive capacity, health, and productivity.
Bottom line: Managers, executives, and many others are working long and hard, dealing with complex issues and facing unknown challenges. Not sleeping enough limits the ability to respond to complex organizational challenges.
- Share articles, tips, quizzes, and helpful links via existing employee communications.
- In routine meetings or trainings, discuss the sleep dilemmas that teams face and possible solutions.
- Meet with managers whose people are especially prone to long hours and travel. Help them understand the value of sleeping more for themselves. Encourage them to tout sleep as a way to be more effective.
- Sponsor a “take back our sleep” week to educate and support time to sleep more, power down, and find solutions for lack of rest. Alternatively, have departments pick a week each month to power down and get more sleep — some of the habits may stick.
- Test the “sleep more” theory for yourself. Get enough shut-eye each night. Take naps.
Additional Contributing Author: Carol Connolly is a former member of the Center for Creative Leadership’s Senior Design and Delivery Faculty. She holds an MBA from the A. B. Freeman School of Business at Tulane University.Download White Paper