In need of a vacation? Try this in the meantime
Yes, it’s true that we all need a good break. It’s good for the soul, it’s good for the family, and it’s good for your mental health. Christmas is just around the corner and we are all looking forward to some time off after a big year.
However there are many periods during a year where we are desperate for a break, but we cannot take one. It happens to us all and we have to work out how to re-charge the batteries – without a holiday in sight.
Personally I have found the answer, and it is sleep. Over the years there has been a lot of talk about how much sleep high achievers should have. Unfortunately most of the articles and commentary have held up the leaders who can live off four and five hours per night, which in turn has created a culture where big thinkers don’t sleep enough for fear of being left behind.
I remember being a younger man and doing a lot of reading on the number of hours successful people slept. Former British PM Margaret Thatcher slept five hours per night, as did many others. None of them slept more than six hours, leaving me feeling guilty that I was wasting my life away in bed.
Sleeping is a waste of valuable time, right? If you’re sleeping you’re losing productivity, or so was the thinking. It never worked for me though. I have always needed a solid eight hours of sleep to stay just to manage life, let alone stay at my peak. I’ve tried being up before the sun, but my working style with different time zones with the way our company works means that I’ve always been up late to make calls to the other side of the world.
Now the studies are proving that you need close to seven to eight hours to rest your body. Recovery from stress is one of the big things that sleeping does. Research shows that consistently getting seven to eight hours of sleep per night is beneficial. Any more or less can increase your risk for serious conditions like diabetes, heart disease, and even death. Getting enough quality sleep is also key to a healthy lifestyle.
So rest up. You may have a lot on your plate, but you cannot manage it all if you’re tired. If you need less sleep, then more power to you. But if you’re like me, then rest up guilt-free, safe in the knowledge that that extra time under the covers will actually increase your performance.
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