It's not just quantity when it comes to sleep, it's quality. Your brain needs those zzzs more than you know to be your most productive and it's something that Sleep Number Chief Strategy and Customer Relationship Officer Melissa Barra knows plenty about.
Studies have endlessly shown that pulling all-nighters is bad for business and that sleep health is key to mental and physical well-being.
Melissa, who has a Sleep Number setting of 30, shared that "quality sleep is essential for health and for performance. Sleep affects all aspects of our life – from mental agility, to physical activity, to general wellness. I am excited to see the beginnings of a cultural shift that recognizes that sleep at the center of a healthy life. A person that sleeps well performs better!"
WE KNOW PERFORMANCE AT WORK IS AFFECTED BY SLEEP
Like most of us, Melissa says that she feels a difference at work when she doesn't get enough shut-eye. "Sleep is core to performance in every part of my life.”
"When I’ve had a good night’s sleep, I feel energized, alert and more creative. My problem-solving and decision-making skills are better."
Some of us think we don't need more than five hours. Others think if we don't look at what time we finally close our eyes, we can trick ourselves into thinking we slept longer. But the body knows and so does your brain the next day. Skimping on sleep means skimping on you.
The right kind of sleep also matters. So...
IF YOU'RE NOT SURE HOW YOU’RE DOING, TRACK YOUR SLEEP
If you lay in bed, wide-awake tossing and turning, you’re not getting quality and restful sleep. A restless state of sleep can have damaging effects on the next day's productivity.
Melissa explains, "Because I track my sleep, I know that on days I haven’t sleep well, it ends up being the start of a vicious cycle. My workout isn’t as powerful; I don’t eat as well as I typically do; and my productivity suffers! Knowing and feeling that difference really drives me to try to get the best sleep I possibly can."
Tracking your sleep can help you with your sleep goals, which in turn will help you with your career goals.
WAYS TO PROTECT YOUR SLEEP
Studies have shown that consuming caffeine six hours before you plan to hit the hay can have haywire effects. You may be technically asleep, but void of the full benefits you should enjoying.
"While I love coffee, I won’t drink it after 3 p.m. because I know caffeine will still be in my system by the time I go to bed and can disrupt my sleep," says Melissa.
Likewise research has found that exposure to the blue light from phones, tablets, and other screens can disrupt sleep and the content can lead to a ‘racing mind’. Melissa addresses this issue by shutting "down my email and texts one hour before I go to sleep – this also helps me wind down from the day and protects my sleep."
REMEMBER: THE HUSTLE DOES SLEEP
If you want your brain to be on it's best behavior, you have to treat your body right.
"I feel most productive on the mornings when I’ve gotten great quality sleep," says Melissa. "When I arrive at the office before anyone else is there. I find that I get my best thinking and best work done during that time."
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