Go The Fu#k To Sleep!

I’m waving the white flag.

Can we all please just stop the corporate arms race that is sleep deprivation and commit to doing what’s actually good for us?

While you may think it’s bad-ass to sleep for four hours a night and “get a head start” on the day, the only thing you’re really beating is traffic.

When we get less than our required amount of sleep, one very important connection in the brain is dropped.

The amygdala, your brain’s emotional centre, is connected to your prefrontal cortex, which is your brain’s executive control centre.

When you get less than the required amount of sleep, that connection is lost, which means the moment something unexpected is dropped on your desk, inside, you go postal.

So how much sleep is enough sleep to ensure that you or anyone of your team members isn’t walking around ready to snap the moment something doesn’t go as planned?

There are all sorts of arguments about this, but in his interview with greatergood.berkely.edu,

Matt Walker, associate professor at UC Berkeley and principle investigator at the Sleep and Neuroimaging Laboratory, says “Anything less than seven hours, we can start to measure biological and behavioural changes quite clearly.”

Some may argue that they can operate at a high-level on only 4 hours, but drunks also claim they can drive.

So what are some ways we can help ourselves and our team members hit that required number?

1. Start a sleep challenge.

For 21 days in a row, mark the amount of hours you sleep the night before. Award 1 point for each hour slept, and at the end of the 21 days, the person with the highest number wins.

Make sure the prize is something meaningful to the team. A paid vacation day. A paid night-out with their loved one. A prime parking spot… get creative. Just as long as it’s enough incentive for everyone to start sleeping.

2. Use a sleep app.

If it takes you five hours to actually fall asleep, try a sleep app. There are lots of good ones out there that will help turn down the voice in your head and usher you off to a peaceful nights rest.

3. Make it a priority.

If there’s a TV in your room, take it out. If you like to “unwind” with some tube-time when you get home, take a warm shower instead, then hop into bed.

You can PVR your favourite shows and save them for Saturday afternoon. That’s what PVR is for.

If you still find the distraction too much, take your batteries out of your remote and hide them in another part of your house.

If internet browsing is your poison, unplug your connection before you leave the house in the morning. That way it’ll be easier to ignore your tablet when you get home.

4. Encourage naps.

Google did it and they’re doing alright. So what’s stopping you? Nap pods, a cot or a couch with a throw blanket… who cares. If you or one of your team-members is getting snippy, send them for a 20–30 minute snooze. They’ll be way more productive and easier to work with when they return.

When you start to take your sleep seriously, the handful of triggers that set you off during the day just don’t seem to be as plenty as they are when you’re in a go-go-go cycle.

If you want clearer thoughts, smoother collaboration, and a more harmonious work environment, invest in your team’s shut-eye.