How much sleep are you getting?
This may seem like a strange opening question, but it’s surprising how many people I meet who don’t really know – particularly if they are busy professionals who never seem to have enough hours in the day.
Donald Trump famously says that he can get by on as little as four hours’ sleep a night, but most of us need a lot more than that! Even if you don’t know how much sleep you are getting, you probably know that the optimum amount is between seven and nine hours. A useful tip to understand the amount of sleep you need is to record the times you drop off and wake up over a few days (alarm-free if you can!)
What happens if you don’t get enough sleep?
Like most people, I sometimes struggle to get the right amount of sleep when life is busy. Yet if I haven’t slept properly, I will spend the next day feeling grumpy and on-edge. Small issues start to magnify, and there is a general feeling of not quite being in control of my day.
Perhaps this description is something you can identify with?
Like many people I work in a people-focused role, so these tired feelings can be very damaging if left unchecked. I am lucky enough to enjoy my work, and the fact that I meet interesting new people every day – although this does mean there is absolutely nowhere to hide when I haven’t had enough sleep!
Work, rest and play for the best life balance
We all know that old adage about “work, rest and play” being equally important in life. However, from my observations, we are all too readily forgetting the “rest” part.
In today’s rushed and hectic world, I would definitely argue that sleep is the most important preparation tool we have at our disposal. Success is increasingly dependent upon our being able to think in a fluid and agile way, with the ability to adapt our approach to others’ needs.
If you are feeling guilty about spending too much time in bed, or that you simply don’t have enough time to rest, consider that getting the right amount of sleep means you can wake each morning with renewed energy, ready to approach your day with positivity and focus. Doesn’t that sound like a fair exchange?
(Of course, another option is that we try to live our lives as smoothly and as trouble-free as we possibly can, but that would just be boring!)