I’m wondering since this podcast, our main listeners are entrepreneurs, leaders, and managers. How often do you get asked as a coach about sleep? How to optimize sleep by these kinds of people — entrepreneurs, leaders, managers?
The truth is sleep can be optimized, but it’s such a young science. The science is starting to actually show that sleep massively impacts performance. It impacts interaction. It impacts your hormonal and emotional regulation and actually the massive and most important thing it does is it affects your attention, your concentration, and your focus.
When you’re in a position where you lead people, you lead organizations, you lead businesses, you need to be able to control attention and focus because you are guiding. You are effectively driving the train and you don’t want to be falling asleep when you’re driving a train, riding at 300 miles an hour.
So it’s that kind of understanding, actually, people starting to ask, “how can I optimize my sleep? How much do I need? How can I make it better? How can I start to really look and understand my sleep a bit more?” And it’s becoming more and more of a question that’s being asked. And really, I try and keep it simple because everyone has their own circadian rhythm. So, you can’t just say you get eight hours, you go to bed at 10 o’clock because it’s not the same for everyone.
People need to try and sink in. Again, some people can perform just as well on seven. There’s a rare genetic mutation out there. That means that not 0.2% of people can act and perform a really, really high level on five hours of sleep. There’s not many of them about, and it’s unlikely to be you or me and quite often the people who do they’re almost of this opinion that, “yeah, that’s me that’s me.”
What they don’t realize is you’ve got so used to performing on five hours of sleep that actually they think they’re performing at an optimal level. But what they’re actually doing is they’re tired every day. And if they actually slept properly, they’d unlock a whole other area of, you know, potential productivity performance that they’re not accessing.
We are still that human being. Psychologically, physiologically, that we were all those years ago when we were sleeping 10 hours, we haven’t changed. We’re not evolved. All of a sudden we’ve chopped off a third of our sleep and wonder why some of the issues around that emotional regulation because it causes conflict.
It causes people to swing wildly. Hormonal regulation causes people to eat poorly. It causes people to be less empathetic and compassionate about others. You gotta think about the leaders of tomorrow. They’ve got to be more focused. They got to have more empathy for other human beings. You’ve got to be more creative, more innovative. The less you sleep, you start to lose that, you start to lose that cognitive ability to do these things.
And really sleep is so important. In fact, I actually tell people it’s the cornerstone of health and performance. It’s the fundamental, it’s the first thing you should really look up because if you’re not sleeping well, if you’re struggling to sleep, you’re going to struggle to eat well. You’re going to struggle to move enough. You’re going to struggle to concentrate and have that attention where you want it, and your hormones are going to be against you. Because sleeping affects every single biological process in your body. And truth be told it’s where you grow both mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Because like anything it’s the rest and recovery that are absolutely vital.
You go to the gym, you stretch your muscles out. You rest, you grow. It’s exactly the same with sleep. And without adequate sleep, you’re never going to be able to perform that level you want to.