Sleep Habits Top Executives Use to Maximize Productivity
Along with proper exercise and a healthy diet, quality sleep is an integral part of staying fit both psychologically and physically. Without adequate sleep, the body suffers from various maladies. A study on the effects of sleep debt showed that not getting enough sleep was associated with exaggerated stress responses and extreme fatigue as well as cognitive, emotional, and somatic complaints from the participants. The most intriguing part of the study was that it was only run for 7 days and sleep debt was defined as 4-5 hours of sleep a night (the average sleep time was 4.98 hours).
You may be asking yourself what this all has to do with you. Well, let’s be honest with ourselves: How often do we go with only 5 hours of sleep a night?
Now, have you ever wondered how top executives manage to maintain such high productivity levels? They do so by making sure that they get the right amount of quality sleep each night. This may seem like an impossibility for you with important deadlines to meet or a hectic schedule that does not allow for proper sleep; however, you are simply not able to function to your best capacity when sleep deprived and, as such, all that effort you are putting in is never going to be your best work and the finished product or performance will reflect this fact.
So, how do the bigwigs do it? What is their big secret? Here are some of the simple habits that top executives use to get the recommended 7-9 hours of quality sleep.
- Exercise: Exercise is the most important part of maintaining a proper, quality sleep schedule. Exercise releases dopamine and serotonin, the neurotransmitters that regulate our circadian rhythm. Lethargy not only leads to poor physical health, it can also promote insomnia.
- Refrain from Late Night Alcoholic Beverages: It may seem like alcohol helps you sleep. The fact of the matter is that the sleep you get is not quality sleep. Sure, you fall asleep quickly from the somnolent effects of alcohol; however, studies show that you generally wake up after about 4 hours and have fitful rest thereafter. It is best to avoid nightcaps. Having a drink with dinner is OK, as long as it is 3 to 4 hours before your bedtime.
- Avoid Excessive Screen-Time Before Bedtime: It is great to relax by browsing through your favorite apps or websites on your phone. Or, maybe you use this time to check and answer your ever-increasing email inbox. This habit is one of the main causes of sleep disorders. Holding a bright screen inches from your face throws your circadian rhythm completely off. Your body sets its sleep cycle by the amount of light it perceives throughout the day. Sitting with a mini sunlight producing device in front of your face tricks your body into thinking that it is still daytime and keeps you from being able to fall asleep. Experts say that you should avoid electronic use approximately 1 hour before bedtime. If, however, you cannot live without your phone for that long, try using a blue light filter. Many newer phones come standard with them. If not, there is sure to be an app for that. A blue light filter keeps your phone from emitting the light that makes your body think it is daytime. Try it out, you may be pleasantly surprised by the results.
- Make Your Room “Sleep-Friendly”: Your bedroom should be as dark, quiet, and cool as possible. Even the smallest amount of light or noisy disturbance can drastically affect the quality of sleep you get. Try blackout curtains to prevent outside light from entering your room. If you live in a noisy area, white noise machines or fans work very well to mask outside sounds as well.
- Sugar is Your Enemy: Having a late-night sugary snack can cause you to have irregular sleep patterns due to high energy bursts and the resultant crash thereafter. Keep to protein-rich late-night snacks that deliver a slow release of energy through the night and you should get a better quality of sleep.
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