Spotlight on Sleep.: Why You Need To Catch Those ‘Zzzs’

Sep 21, 2016

Spotlight on Sleep.: Why You Need To Catch Those ‘Zzzs’

He may be the single most controversial presidential candidate of all time, but there’s no denying that Donald Trump knows what success tastes like. Therefore, it’s both interesting and alarming that he claims to get by on just three to four hours of sleep a night. PepsiCo CEO Indra Nooyi follows suit with an average of four hours a night, as do Fiat Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne, Martha Stewart and former Southwest Airlines executive, Herb Kelleher. Even Margaret Thatcher and Bill Clinton were on-board, catching just five hours when running their respective countries. It gets worse, with iconic fashion designers like Tom Ford reportedly getting just three hours of shut eye a night.

You can’t blame aspiring executives for wanting to imitate a group with such impressive credentials. Yet unsurprisingly, both cognitive scientists and health professionals warn that sleep deprivation is not only dangerous, but deadly.

So why should you prioritise catching z’s above all else? Here’s three reasons why no matter how busy your schedule, sleep should always be pencilled in.

Healthy Brain Function

In the simplest terms possible, sleep helps your brain function at its peak. As you snooze, the all-important organ forms new pathways that help you learn and retain information, stay focusses, make decisions and execute creativity. Studies show that sleep deprivation actively alters activity in some parts of the brain, which can jeopardise all these skills.

Emotional Well-Being

In the same way that sleep deficiency decreases brain performance, it can also have a negative impact on emotions. Chronic lack of sleep has been linked to depression, suicide and reckless behaviour, and can also impact ability to engage with others. So, as well as keeping your overall sense of happiness and contentment in check, sleep will also help improve your charisma, communication skills and ability to connect with colleagues.

Physical Health

Physically speaking, sleep is imperative to physical health. The fact that shut eye allows the body to heal and repair the heart and blood vessels is reason enough to hit the sack. Expose yourself to ongoing sleep deficiency and you could increase your risk of heart disease, kidney disease, high blood pressure, diabetes and stroke. Interestingly, sleep also plays a key role in maintaining a healthy balance of the hormones that trigger hunger (ghrelin) and fullness (leptin), as well as regulating how the body reacts to insulin, the hormone that controls blood glucose levels. As a result, sleep deprived executives can often find themselves at increased risk of obesity and diabetes.

Deep sleep also triggers the release of hormones that help repair cells and tissues, as well as maintain a healthy immune system. So when it comes to fighting cold, flus and other ailments, sleep can be far more powerful than reaching for your pillbox.

Corporate performance

From a corporate perspective, sleep is an integral part of optimising performance. It helps to maximise productivity, heighten focus and keep your functioning at C-suite level. It also minimises the risk of slipping into ‘microsleep’ mode which is unintended, yet unavoidable.

Sleep may not be the easiest ‘activity’ to prioritise, but when it comes to heightening your overall performance, health and wellbeing, it’s imperative.



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Category: Livestyle

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