Basically, it’s the best life hack to be successful, happy and healthy!
As business owners, self-employed people and entrepreneurs we need certain attributes in order to be successful. These include:
- Ability to build rapport
- Problem-solving abilities
- Emotional intelligence
There’s one thing you can do to improve all of these qualities. Quite simply, get a good night’s sleep.
Conversely, a bad night’s sleep – yes even one – or regularly ‘surviving’ on short sleep will dramatically and detrimentally affect all of them and more!
I regularly hear people say that in order to be successful you need to be an early riser. I don’t believe this to be true.
I also hear people say, just work late, or get up an hour earlier – ‘an hour or two, here or there won’t hurt’. This is wrong!
I believe that in order to be successful you need to have enough, good quality sleep. If you make this a priority everything else will be so much easier. and the research bears this out.
I aim to help people get rid of the ‘sleep is for wimps’ badge of honour that seems to be prevalent in the business world.
Over 30 years of sleep research shows just how important it is for our wellbeing, emotional intelligence, brain function, immune system, long-term health and so much more.
Some Highlights of Sleep Research:
- Our immune system is significantly compromised by getting only 6 hours sleep night. (A week of 6 hours a night can significantly increase the chances of catching a cold, and reduce the chances of a vaccine being effective by up to 50%).
- Getting only 6 hours sleep a night can affect weight loss, causing you to lose muscle instead of fat. Getting 8 hours a night while dieting will ensure you lose fat.
- Regularly getting 6 hours sleep a night can be as detrimental to your focus and accuracy as having no sleep at all for one night.
- Getting enough sleep reduces your risk of long term and terminal illnesses including diabetes, heart disease, and cancer.
- Getting enough sleep makes you appear more attractive, alert, and younger to others.
- Functional MRI scanners show what is going on in the brain. After 16 hours of being awake our brain begins to fail and needs rest to recuperate. To be accurate, it needs sleep.
How much sleep should I be getting each night?
The scientists say to give yourself a 7- 9 hour window of opportunity for sleep each night, and aim for 8 hours of actual sleep.
Why 8 hours a night?
Firstly, the research shows that less than 7 hours a night has a detrimental effect on the functioning of your brain and increases the risk of many illnesses including dementia.
Secondly, we sleep in cycles averaging 90 minutes each. Each cycle is different as the night progresses giving us different benefits as we shift from deep sleep to R.E.M. (rapid eye movement) sleep – when we dream. When we sleep through 5 cycles of sleep we gain the most benefit from physical healing, growth, and restoration, emotional processing, memory consolidation as well as a very important ‘cleansing’ process that the brain undertakes to get rid of waste products.
5 sleep cycles of 90 minutes is 7hours 30 minutes, and you need 15-20 minutes to transition in to sleep.
So, 8 hours is the optimum.
Please, if you’re getting up earlier to do a morning routine, or just because someone told you to, think again. Make sure you are going to be bed an hour earlier to ensure you are still getting your 8 hours!
It may not be something that you can improve overnight but making sleep a priority and actively making changes that will improve it could make all the difference to many aspects of your everyday life. Here are the top 3 tips that will make an immediate different if you give them a chance.
3 Top Tips For A Better Night’s Sleep
- Create a bedtime routine. This was the number one tip of neuroscientist and sleep specialist Matthew Walker, author of ‘Why We Sleep’. Turn of the screens, turn down the lights, clear the decks and get things prepared for the next day. Then have a warm bath or shower and relax, maybe read a book (this is a great way to de-stress your body). Take a good hour to wind down and help your body to know it’s time to head to the land of Nod. This one tip could be the ultimate secret to a better night’s sleep
- Go to bed and wake up at the same time every day. Your body will get used to the rhythm and it plays nicely into the hands of the cyclical nature of our bodies and of sleep.
- Avoid caffeine after midday. We are all different in how we process caffeine but this is a good rule of thumb. Even decaf contains some caffeine, and our bodies need to process and get rid of it for our ‘falling asleep’ mechanism to work well. It can 8 hours for a coffee to get out of our systems.
Go for 8 hours night. I know most people aren’t getting this, but at the very least following these tips will improve the quality of the sleep you do get, and may help you sleep for longer too. For more my free ‘Better Sleep Initiative’ Checklist with more tips visit https://www.helenleathers.com/sleep
(All statistics have been taken from Matthew Walker’s book, ‘Why we sleep’)
Womens Coach, Trainer, Speaker & Author
Combining a spiritual outlook, a pragmatic approach, and a sense of humour Helen seeks to help you to understand, accept and develop your true self and be the best person you can be – flaws and all.
What are your thoughts or questions? Let me know below