Yes, you did read that right. It seems that when it comes to successful business productivity, management and longevity, there's one major activity we've kept in the dark.
On average, we dedicate a third of our lives to it. We need it everyday, at least once a day and it's advised we spend between 7 and 9 hours doing it. Maggie thinks it's for wimps. The Dalai Lama believes it's the best form of meditation.
So how can we use sleep to benefit business and are you doing it right? We've traveled to the land of nod to uncover the nightmarish results of what happens to your employees and their work when they don't get enough, as well as our top kip-tips to help your team work like a dream.
5 ways to sleep your way to the top:
- Set a bedtime
- Control the temperature
- Clean the bedroom
- Switch-off from technology
- Create a dreamy ambience
Why we need sleep
There's nothing better than catching up in your jim-jams and snuggling down after a tiring day at work.
Sleep is one of the most rewarding and restorative activities you can participate in. On the other side (of the bed), if you don't have enough, it'll adversely affect concentration, memory and cognitive functioning, not to mention spur nightmarish results for your business' productivity levels.
You'd think we'd be pretty good at it by now, but what with the rise in accessible technology and the fact we now live in a 24-hour world of work and productivity, it's no surprise that we're finding it harder to nod off. Think about it. When was the last time you checked your inbox before hitting the pillow?
Quality and quantity
According to experts, it's the quality as well as quantity of sleep that's important. There are three stages of sleep; light, rapid eye movement (known as REM) and deep sleep. Technology is thought to interfere with all stages by confusing the body's internal clock - or circadian rhythm. And the effect too much artificial light and stimulation can have on our third stage - deep sleep - is something to lose sleep over.
We've worked out that our brains only create delta waves when in the deep-sleep stage of each cycle. If we don't fall into a log-like slumber, our cell recovery becomes sluggish, making it harder to store day-to-day interactions and form memories. This affects our ability to learn, lowers our immune systems and diminishes our creativity.
If you have 6 minutes, check out Dan Gartenberg's fascinating TED Talk on the science behind sleep.
Duvet days vs. routine bedtime
We've spoken about the benefits of duvet days before, but thought why not flip the mattress and reduce the need for rest days by encouraging staff to adopt a consistent bedtime routine?
We think it could help your team run like a dream. So here's our 5 ways to sleep your way to the top.
5 ways to a dreamy sleep
1. Set a bedtime
Set a regular bedtime and stick to it. Our bodies are clever and can create habits or establish a new routine in just two weeks. As part of National Bed Month, The National Sleep Council is urging us to fight off insomnia by signing up to their 30-day better sleep plan. Check it out and see what dreams are made of.
2. Open a window
Trigger your body's internal clock and influence the circadian rhythm for melatonin release by letting in some fresh air. Research shows that slowly reducing your body temperature - ideally at least one hour before you tuck in - can help to prepare your body for a flat-out snooze.
3. Don't let the bed bugs bite
We've all heard tidy house, tidy mind, but what about: clean room, clean sheets, clean dreams? It works the same way. Ensure you regularly pop your bedding on a high-temperature wash to protect against bed bugs and treat your boudoir to a slumber-evoking spruce.
4. Switch off to switch on
Ban your smart phone, tablets and technology from the bedroom. Studies show that employees who outlaw their phones to the sofa each night actually get more work done at their desks.
5. Ambient sleep
Whether it's taking a bath, listening to music or lighting an aromatic candle, it's worth adding ambience to your bedtime routine checklist. There are also plenty of mobile apps - such as Headspace or Calm to check out.
Whether it's guided meditation, audio books or the gentle sounds of the Amazonian rain-forest that helps you to drift off, each app has oodles of kip-tips to guarantee a good nights' sleep.
(Just don't look at the light.)
Set your team (and yourself) up for success and commit to improving concentration, cognitive functioning and creativity as well as immunity, mental and physical health by investing in quality sleep.
Whether you manage a team of doctors, builders, teachers or gamers, it's the same advice. We're urging you to check in with your team and endorse the snooze button. It's time to sleep smart to work smart.