How High Performing Executives Manage Their Productivity

This article explores the links between sleep and productivity. It shows, using many examples, how sleep leads to better executive function, which in turn lead to better business decisions for executives and their employees.

Do you want to know the dirty little secret of almost every successful executive? They’re probably sleeping more than you. The Harvard Business Review recently published an article which reports that the higher an executive’s rank, the more sleep they’re getting. That’s because sleep is directly tied to productivity. It’s not on accident that these CEOs sleep more, they see it as a resource that can set them apart from the competition. 

“Sleep has always been foundational for my performance,” Cees ’t Hart, president and CEO of Carlsberg Group, told HBR. “And especially to perform in a way that is required by my current job, I need seven hours of sleep, every night. Of course, with intense travel and work commitments, sometimes this is compromised, and when that happens, it comes with a cost. When I sleep less, I [have less productivity].”

So how do these execs balance a day full of work with a night full of restful sleep? We’re here to give you the lowdown on how they manage their productivity to give them the time to do both.

sleep better for better productivity

More Decisions Doesn’t Mean Better Decisions According to Jeff Bezos

Sleep helps your brain process information and make rational decisions, it’s a scientific discovery that researchers dub, “the executive skills.” Studies show that when you shortchange your sleep, you risk being a poor decision maker in your waking hours. That means that while you may be awake more hours of the day, your productivity may actually be worse than if you had slept longer. This is an idea that Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon, has taken to heart and tries to live out each day.

“We don’t need to maximize the number of decisions we make per day,’ Bezos said in a recent interview. “Making a small number of key decisions well is more important than making a large number of decisions. If you short change your sleep, you might get a couple of extra ‘productive’ hours, but that productivity might be an illusion.”

A Well Slept Team Leads to Better Organizational Leadership

For this concept we need a little background in neuroscience, so here’s your quick prep: the neocortex is a part of the brain in charge of problem-solving, reasoning, and most importantly: organization. This is why a good executive will make sure that his team is as well-slept as he is. Organizational leadership emerges from a well-slept workforce. For true productivity in business, you’re only as strong as your weakest link, and that means making sure everyone is on the same page when it comes to sleep. This isn’t new information, but now we know the organizational cost of not heeding these ideas. The Rand Corporation recently published a study that said the US could lose up to 411 billion dollars because of sleep-related productivity issues. Yes, that’s billion with a B.

This is why a good executive makes sure that not only are they getting the sleep required to make great decisions, but that their employees are as well. The future health of their business could depend on it.

The Best Business Decision You Can Make is a Good Mattress

This is why you need to make the right choice with your mattress. It’s not a matter of luxury, it’s a matter of necessity. It could lead to real results in the boardroom. Because when you feel great, you make great decisions. It’s as simple as that.

Curious as to what other silicon valley CEOs think about the importance of sleep? Peep this article and see how getting more shuteye has lead to real breakthroughs for everyone from Elon Musk to Sheryl Sandberg.

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