NextGen Know-How: How sleep impacts leadership

Not prioritizing this fundamental need affects not only your performance, but the engagement of those around you

As a leadership consultant and success coach, I believe that habits are an important element of leadership success. Our daily practices are what support our focus, results and growth, allowing us to be at our best every day so we can effectively serve those who we lead. I believe that sleep is one of the most underrated success habits, and when crunched for time, I often choose sleep over other practices I have instilled like meditation and yoga. I see a significant difference in my performance when I get a great night’s sleep.

But what happens when you slip from your routine and choose comfort over discipline?

My typical nightly routine starts after I put my three young children to bed. I read for almost an hour before I turn off my light at 9:30 p.m. to get a full night’s sleep. An ideal night of sleep for me is about eight and a half hours (sometimes nine). When I follow through on this routine, the next morning (after my cappuccino!) I feel refreshed, energized and ready to take action on my day.

Last week, my three kids were on spring break, which changed up our routine. Instead of leaving the house at 8:20 a.m. for school, we were shuffling them to a spring break camp for half the day, then over to my mother-in-law’s for the rest of the day. My husband and I didn’t take time off from work that week, and since our normal work routine was interrupted, we were exhausted at the end of each day. The first night of spring break, I told my husband I was too tired to read and suggested we watch “Billions” on Netflix. (He got me hooked on this show a couple of months ago.) We proceeded to binge watch “Billions” for seven nights in a row, going to bed between 10:30 and 11:00 p.m. A little mindless TV won’t hurt, right?!


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