Sleep like a world class leader

Sleep is critical for success. And the top leaders know it.

In a recent assessment of 35 000 top leaders, the Harvard Business Review found that good leaders prioritise good sleep. On the contrary, they found that non-executive leaders (or the middle men) are reported to gather a mere 5-7 hours of sleep per evening.

What advantage do those getting enough sleep and succeeding in top leadership roles have over those who are not getting enough sleep?

An extensive McKinsey research study sought to define what high-quality leadership was as well as find out how sleep impacts leadership.

Nick Van Dam and Els van Der Helm co-authors of “The Organisational Cost of Insufficent Sleep” went on to explain how getting less than 7-9 hours sleep could get in the way of performing all four of these key attributes:

Results orientation

It is difficult to complete tasks and meet goals when both your attention and concentration are impaired due to insufficient sleep. Distractibility and flitting between tasks are behavioural outcomes of sleep deprivation.

Solving problems

Leaders make a way but to do this they need to use creativity, pattern recognition and insight. These cognitive skills are severely impaired when there has been inadequate sleep. 16 hours of wakefulness shows a reduction in problem-solving ability and an increase in work errors. This means it takes longer to produce sloppy work if you woke at 6am and are still at it around 11pm.

Seeking different perspectives

Leaders must evolve and grow to stay relevant to their organization. The ability to learn and make decisions is enhanced by sleep. As Clinton famously advised Obama on his way out of office: “In my long career, most of the mistakes I made, I made when I was too tired…. You make better decisions when you’re not too tired.”

Supporting others

In order to look after those below you and build long-lasting positive relationships, you need to be able to contain your own feelings and avoid reacting explosively. One night of sleep deprivation shows a sharp increase in emotional reactivity and difficulty with socio-emotional processing. Leaders sleep so that they can contain and guide their followers rather than alienating and crating divides in the work place.

So what do the top leaders know about succeeding long-term?

Rest is best. For sure.

If you want to succeed, then you need to invest in your sleep. Visit Sealy for more information about how to get your best night’s sleep.

Get fitter, sleep more

Could those who sleep longer, actually become fitter?

This is an interesting question as it challenges what we know about most gym buffs – that they train for long hours both before and after dark. Is it truly necessary to rise-and-shine at 4am to get fitter? Or could lying-in actually be a step towards, rather than away, from fitness?

Good sleep and fitness really are great friends.

  • Exercise promotes good, deep sleep. In turn, sleep promotes healing and repair which helps the body perform better during exercise.
  • Exercise produces endorphins that help improve mental health. In turn, a good mood supports regular exercise.
  • Exercise boosts the immune system. A good immune system helps good sleep, but good sleep also promotes a good immune system.

So rather than choosing one over the other, it appears that you may need to make-the-circle-bigger and find a way to embrace both a little more exercise and a little more sleep.

Not sure what you should be aiming for? The professionals recommend:

  1. one hour of activity preferably outside per day (this could be walking your dog, riding a bike to work or chasing your kids around the park)
  2. 6 – 8 hours of quality sleep each day (this could be taken in one stretch or broken up into smaller chunks)

If you can find both a fitness regime and a bed that you love then it should be easier to achieve both of these each and every day.

To find a bed you love visit www.sealy.co.za.

Read more

Five ways that sleep impacts an athlete’s performance

10 Things to try when you just can’t fall asleep

Pure Wow has released a sleep-inducing infographic that highlights 27 things that can be done to help you fall asleep.

What was significant is that most of these things have been featured on our Sealy blog over the years.

Here are 10 sleepiest (and easiest!) things you can do before bedtime (and many helpful links if you want more information about how to apply them):

Try these 10 Sleep Tricks

  1. Make a cup of calming chamomile tea
  2. Be kind to yourself and give yourself the gift of sleep
  3. Use essential oils such as lavender
  4. Try wearing socks to bed
  5. Get your pets out of your bedroom
  6. Write a list of all your worries
  7. Download a mindfulness meditation app such as Calm
  8. Get away from bright lights an hour before bedtime
  9. Try some bedtime yoga routines
  10. Take a warm bath

We would love to hear about your bedroom routine and what is your family’s sleep secret?

If you have a tried and tested sleep remedy that gets your whole family to bed, then please share it with us by adding it to the comments below.

Sleep with better rhythm and less blues

“Join the Sleep World, Preserve Your Rhythms to Enjoy Life”.

World Sleep Day, which happens this year on the 16th March 2018 is a day that encourages us all to achieve a reinvigorating night’s sleep by monitoring our bodies’ response to its natural rhythms – and one of the fundamental ingredients is a comfortable and supportive bed, according Ras Erasmus, Sales and Marketing Executive at Bravo Group Sleep Products.

World Sleep Day emphasises how achieving healthy sleep requires us to respect the circadian rhythms that prompt humans’ age-old cycle of sleep and waking. This is so important, that three US researchers shared the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physiology and Medicine, for their recent research projects on how human circadian rhythms contribute to our health, productivity and creativity.

One of their key findings was that a wide range of human health issues result either from genetic defects in the human circadian clock or from humans trying to override it. This does not mean that everybody must become early birds or night owls against their will. In fact, these tendencies are embedded into each of us as part of our individual natural rhythm. It does underline, though, how light affects the synchronising of our body clocks and how serious the impact can be of disrupting these rhythms with shift work, jet lag or habitual late-night use of tablets and cell phones that emit circadian-disrupting blue light.

Misaligning the human circadian timing system means eating or sleeping at the wrong time of day, says Professor Debra J. Skene of the UK’s University of Surrey. Having researched this for more than a quarter of a century, she is sure that this disruption has short-term and long-term consequences. The short-term consequences include daytime sleepiness, reduced performance and a greater risk of accidents. The long-term consequence include an increased risk of metabolic diseases, including diabetes, and of cancer.

“The findings also remind us why we feel so grumpy and worn out when our sleep is disturbed,” says Erasmus. “We all know that discomfort or pain can make it more difficult to fall asleep or stay asleep, leaving our internal rhythms disrupted and impairing our enjoyment of life.”

It is vital for anyone who suffers from regular musculo-skeletal problems, to invest in the best bed possible to enhance their sleep quality and improve their pain management, says Erasmus. Even people fortunate enough not to suffer from these problems, finds that an uncomfortable bed or the wrong bedding can mean that we are tossing and turning instead of allowing ourselves to be re-energised by the sleep-wake cycle that our body clocks dictate. This is why Bravo Group Sleep Products has a range of international bedding brands, such as Sealy, Slumberland and King Koil.

“All these brands take a strong scientific approach to testing and improving their products,” says Erasmus. “Sealy Posturepedic is an international brand leader because it spends more on research and development than any other mattress brand in the world. Fortunately, we are able to benefit from these advanced designs devised by Sealy.”

To reduce your risk of depression and other mental health disorders, as well as chronic health issues, respect your body’s need for sleep and its internal sleep-waking clock, he advises. Remember also to improve your chances of a sound and revitalising night’s sleep, by replacing your mattress at least every 7 to 10 years and take time to choose the one that is best suited to your budget and your body’s comfort. Giving yourself the best bed you can, is a head start to a better night’s sleep, better health and a more productive life – think of it as better rhythm and less blues, says Erasmus.

Take a peek at the sleep forecast for 2018

Last year, we all did our best to buy into the Clean Sleep trend. This was a good trend- it highlighted the importance of good, uninterrupted sleep that lasted 8 hours every night.

Research papers examined the health benefits (there are many!); consumers downloaded apps to track their sleep data (this made us anxious) and social media platforms were used to compare sleep performance.

Frustratingly, life got in the way of all our good intentions and many found that they had family, work, social and exercise commitments that made getting 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep impossible.

And so it is no surprise that the 2018 sleep trends are a reaction to this sleep ideal.

  1. Listening to your body is in and sleep trackers are out. Feel tired? You need to sleep more. Wake up before your alarm clock? Sleep less. Your own intuition is seen as more reliable than a sleep tracking app.
  1. Sleep binging on weekends is in and setting an alarm to achieve a consistent morning wake time is out. If you wake up on the weekend and you feel exhausted, then go back to sleep. Sleep as much as you need to recover so long as it doesn’t hurt your ability to fall asleep that night.
  1. Power naps (the 30 minute kind) are in and 10-minute micro naps are out. Power naps are viewed as a way of boosting productivity, rather than as a way of catching up on missed sleep. Either way, don’t fight the gift of an extra 20 minutes on your nap.
  1. Accepting your unique sleep needs is in and sleep comparisons are out. The idea of striving for a certain number (such as 8 hours of sleep) is seen as futile, as is forcing yourself to get to bed at the same time as your partner/work colleagues/Gwenyth Paltrow. The focus is on getting to know your unique sleep/wake profile.

One trend that never goes out of fashion? Sleeping on a Sealy. Get yours today!

Sleep states – what they are and what you gain by moving through them

If all the talk about REM and non-Rem sleep boggles your mind then look no further than this blog. Here we will help you figure out what these types of sleep are and why they are necessary for your physical and emotional health.

Non-REM Sleep includes the first 3 stages of sleep. From Stage 1 to stage 3 the sleep gets deeper, the muscles get more and more relaxed and the breathing rate slows. It is during non-REM sleep that:

  • The muscles are repaired. As the muscles relax and the person becomes floppy, it is easier for blood to flow bringing oxygen and nutrients most to where they are needed.
  • Muscle memory is laid down. In the brain, successful motor pathways are chosen and reinforced. This allows us to do familiar tasks with more coordination and speed the next day. For example, how to get dressed, how to work the new safe key or how to do a side plait in your hair…

REM Sleep is the final stage of sleep and whilst the body appears relaxed, the brain is at the peak of its electrical activity – most notably in the prefrontal area of the brain. This is the area responsible for human behavior – patience, judgment, strategy and reasoning.

  • Research has shown that REM sleep helps to consolidate emotional human memories. That days data is sorted and only the pertinent information is stored for future use. This prevents a ‘cluttered’ mind and allows us to have clarity of thought the next day. It is often why you wake up with the answer to a difficult problem.
  • REM sleep also prevents chronic mood disorders characterized by anxiety and depression. It is during REM sleep that serotonin and dopamine are created and stored – allowing you access to happy hormones as and when you need them.

Both REM sleep and non-REM sleep are necessary and serve a specific purpose for the body. The primary function of both our light-sleep and deep-sleep phases is to have a regenerative effect on various processes in the body.

A good night’s sleep would involve cycling through the four sleep stages allowing the brain and body to regenerate, preferably waking at the end of a sleep cycle.

Sleep cycles in adults vary between 80 – 110 minutes in length. It is possible to have as few as 3 or as many as 6 sleep cycles per night depending on your body’s natural rhythm.

Sleep better on a new Sealy Today! Click here to find out more