Despite regular reminders of the importance of a good nightâ€™s sleep, our collective sleep habits are getting worse. The problem has become so serious that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention haveÂ calledÂ insufficient sleep a public health epidemic.
World Sleep Day is an annual, global call to action about the importance of healthy sleep. Business leaders would be wise to view sleep as much more than a health issue. Sleep is part of a broader challenge to be holistic in our approach to being our best in our professional and personal lives. The degree to which we meet that challenge affects the productivity of our organizations and our effectiveness as business leaders.
Good sleep practices
Good sleep hygiene is a critical element of the comprehensive wellness programs I implement with executives and their employees. Some of the essential principles include:
- Set a regular bedtime and rise time.
- Avoid alcohol, caffeine, sugar, and spicy foods 4-6 hours before bedtime.
- Include exercise in your daily routine, but not right before bedtime.
- Refrain from using digital devices as you approach sleep.
- Eliminate distractions, noise and excess light from your sleep area.
- Do not use your bed as a work station; use it for sleep and sex only.
Rest, renew, recharge
Your commitment to better sleep should be part of a larger commitment to incorporate rest and renewal into your daily routine. When we organize our days in a way that ensures the opportunity to focus on critical tasks, but also build frequent breaks, we give our minds and bodies a chance to reset and focus.
We all have different activities that allow us to renew and recharge our batteries. For some, it might be yoga or meditation, for others a brisk walk in the park or reading a novel. Whatever floats your boat, schedule it into your day. Make it as much a priority as an important meeting.