In the corporate work where competition is tough and the workload is relentless, anything that can help you stay on your game is worth finding out about. In an attempt to avoid burnout, wellness in the workplace is something that employees and employers alike are starting to pay more and more attention to. We asked Sally Lovett, founder of corporate wellness company, Stretching the City, to explain why she believes the secret to success at work is getting your zzzz’s.
“Sleep your way to the top,” Arianna Huffington famously said in Thrive, her 2014 book on wisdom, wellbeing and wonder. But rather than illicit liaisons with your co-workers, Huffington was arguing her belief that sleep – and specifically getting enough of it, is your secret weapon to functioning at your optimum level and thriving at work.
As the founder of a corporate wellbeing company, Stretching the City, I couldn’t agree with Huffington more. On a daily basis I encounter clients who are suffering from placing sleep far down on their priorities and it lead me to create one of our most popular wellbeing workshops ‘Sleep to Achieve, Succeed & Thrive’.
Lack of sleep impacts us both personally and professionally. Reduced sleep will severely impact our ability to concentrate, pay attention and make good judgements. We’ll also feel stressed at the drop of a hat, experiencing irritability and low tolerance. Hardly the magic recipe for performing well and getting on with colleagues, I’m sure you’ll agree!
Whist 8 hours is often deemed the magic number to a good night’s sleep, different people need different amounts. Huffington encourages people to work out their ‘sleep IQ’, the number of hours they personally need to function at their best and make a commitment to honour that, just like you would an appointment in your diary. And if you’re still feel like a lack of sleep is making your work suffer, here are a few ways you can catch some more restful and restorative Zzzzs:
- Nap! A study at NASA on sleepy military pilots and astronauts found that a 40-minute nap improved performance by 34% and alertness 100%. A short catnap of 20 minutes will also enhances alertness and concentration, elevate mood, and sharpen motor skills
- Practice good sleep hygiene. That means keeping your bedroom cool, dark and free from electronic gadgets and having a sleep-inducing bedroom routine. Try having a relaxing bath or putting on your cosiest PJs to signal to your body that now is the time to wind down.
- Log off to nod off. Did you know the ‘blue light’ from electronic devices can severely effect your circadian (sleep) patterns? If you must use your smartphone, tablet or computer late in the evening, try turning down the brightness, ensuring that the device is at least 12 inches from your eyes, and using an app that dims the lighting on your screen at night.
- Trytophan is a sleep-enhacing amino acid that boosts the production of seratonin and melatonin (the sleep hormone). Find it in meat, eggs, nuts, seeds, oats, beans and lentils.
Written for Kiss the Moon by Sally Lovett, founder of Stretching the City, London’s leading corporate wellbeing and yoga company.