Nothing prepares a #leader for the day ahead like a good night's #sleep. #QuoteADay #Day132 #edchat #edu #RestUp
I've watched my older daughter experience the perfect storm in rest this past weekend. First, spring here in the suburbs of NYC has finally arrived. Everything is now rushing to bloom, making it an allergy-infused nightmare (for those of us who suffer). I was cautiously optimistic that my older daughter wouldn't be effected, but unfortunately, I was wrong. She's been sneezing and rubbing her eyes for the past two days, and having the stubborn quotient of my wife and I combined, she refuses to take anything that might lessen the symptoms. Second, the last few days have been pretty warm, and we've been out of the house until late in the evening, making things nice and toasty when we get home. Combine allergies with a warm house, and sleep will be tough for some.
Thinking of my groggy daughter and her morning mood today made me think a bit about the need for all leaders to be rested if they are going to be ready to go.
A good night's sleep is important, as we always want to lead with both eyes open (both literally and figuratively). Research already shows that we're less effective in the afternoon due to the emotional and social drain put on our bodies and minds. If we add to this a lack of sleep, we can't expect to be particularly capable in those situations.
This doesn't mean that we can't be successful if we've had a bad night. But, it does mean that we have to understand that we are beginning the day incapacitated, and that we need to be aware of potential shortcomings we may encounter since we aren't "at the top of our game."
What works for me to get a good night sleep? I've found a few things to be particularly helpful. I try to "screen the screen" at least fifteen minutes before I hope to go to sleep (substituting a device for a book, for example...truth be told, I'm not particularly good at this). I also turn my clock away from me once I've set the alarm. As silly as this sounds, I figure that the time doesn't matter as long as my alarm hasn't gone off (this item has totally changed my sleeping habits. . . I encourage anyone who isn't a great sleeper to try it).
Different things work for different people, but the fact remains that without sleep we can't be as good as we normally could be. And, if we're working at a disadvantage, everyone we work with is at a disadvantage as well.