A better version of me: Sleep and leaders’ effectiveness
“A Better Version of the Present Me is the spacecraft that will transport the Present Me to the much desired Future Me. The spacecraft moves faster if the Present Me agrees to be a Better Version of Me.”
Like most business leaders, I see three (3) versions of myself.
The Past Me is who I was yesterday. Despite my past failures, I don’t look at the Past Me in regret but rather in amazement, thankful for how I thrived, despite my naivety. I am immensely proud of the Past Me.
The Present Me is who I am today.
The Future Me refers to whom I want to be tomorrow – family, health, career, businesses, and all. The Future Me lives the life of my dreams but in a completely different world.
However, A Better Version of the Present Me is the spacecraft that will transport the Present Me to the much desired Future Me. The spacecraft moves faster if the Present Me agrees to be a Better Version of Me.
Counterintuitively, a lever that enables a Better Version of Me is sleep. A global study conducted in 2017 by the Belgium-based Centre for Creative Leadership found that over 55% of business leaders get less than 6 hours of sleep (versus 8 hours recommended). This is bad because Neuroscience experts agree that sleep deprivation impairs brainpower, creativity, and people management skills – exactly what is needed to lead organisations profitably in our highly competitive world.
Unknown to many, sleep deprivation experienced by leaders gets organisations in a downward spiral, impacting returns to shareholders. Recent research, published by Harvard Business Review, “Sleep Well, Lead Better” says that leaders not well-rested “act in abusive ways” (resulting in) staff also sleeping shorter hours and behaving “unethically” at work, while of course abusing each other as well as customers.
When leaders don’t get enough sleep, business outcomes suffer.
Interestingly, many successful individuals like Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos, Oprah Winfrey, Warren Buffet, Cristiano Ronaldo, and Pope Francis get between 7 to 9 hours of sleep.
Running global Logistics businesses successfully requires adequate rest. Jeff Bezos – Founder of Amazon, at the Economic Club of Washington, said, “I need 8 hours of sleep – then I think better. I have more energy”. His Asian counterpart, Jack Ma of Alibaba, at the 2019 World Economic Forum said, “If I sleep (well), I have a better chance to fight problems”.
As a business leader, you can become more productive, enhancing the Better Version of You, by being deliberate about improving the quality of your sleep:
1. Take a Sleep Study if you feel tired even after sleeping for long hours. Over 100 million people suffer from sleep apnea. Most are never diagnosed.
2. Plan backwards & schedule your sleep. Scientists at Brigham and Women’s Hospital concluded that “people who go to bed at the same time every night are far more healthy and successful than their more spontaneous peers”
3. Track your sleep duration. There are a few apps that do that.
4. Exercise (early), not close to bedtime. Research by John Hopkins Centre for Sleep concludes that the effects of aerobic exercise on sleep appear to be similar to those of sleeping pills
5. Reduce caffeine intake during the day. “Caffeine taken 6 hours before bedtime”, a study shows, delays sleep “by more than 1 hour… and may have detrimental effects on daytime function” & cognitive ability.
6. Have short naps during the day. Spaniard’s nap during office hours while progressive companies like Google, Cisco, PricewaterhouseCoopers & Nike have remodelled offices to accommodate sleep pods or power nap rooms. It’s just smart; it’s amazing the impact a 20-min midday nap has on staff productivity.
When Vladimir Putin was asked how difficult it is to be president, he replied, “…if you like to sleep, you’ll make a healthy president”.
You are hurting yourself, your team, and the business if you think you are getting more productive hours by sleeping less. Become a Better Version of You – Sleep well!
This concludes the series, A Better Version of Me. A new series, Social Media Marketing kicks off on 22nd April 2021.