Health Mental Health Self

Sleep is your vital asset

By Fiona Bugler • 13th April 2020

Wellbeing, sleep and self-care are not signs of weakness. A good night’s shut-eye is a key factor in a successful and happier life.

In yesterday’s Sunday Times, a survey of 2,300 people from researchers at King’s College London and pollsters Ipsos Mori revealed that three in five people are sleeping just as well or better than before the lockdown here in the UK.

They quoted sleep expert, Russel Foster, a professor and director of Sleep and Circadian Neuroscience Institute at Oxford, who told them: ‘In our busy 24/7 society…most of us are usually sleep-deprived.’

Before I go on, I understand that we’re all under pressure right now and wellbeing is far from our list of priorities: trying to keep businesses afloat, keep people in jobs and keep paying the mortgage? All this wellbeing and introspective stuff is fluff, right? It’s just extra pressure? How are we expected to make time to run, walk, meditate or spend time reading books?

Sleep helps with your bottom line

When it comes to the bottom line, i.e. being productive and keeping businesses afloat, getting your full eight hours will have in impact. There appears to be a degree of masochism amongst type As who with red eyes, and dull skin, who love to tell you how little sleep they survive on, just like Thatcher famous for bedding down for just two to three hours a night (didn’t affect her judgement at all, did it!?). The implication is, no sleep and being wired the entire time is what it takes to be successful.

Yesterday I chapter eight of Essentialism by Greg McKewonSleep — Protect the Asset which provided more evidence to support the idea that wellbeing is bottom-line stuff (for bottom-line read £££$$$$). McKewon refers to a Harvard Business Review article, Sleep Deficit: The Performance Killer, which explains how sleep deprivation and delivering high performance are definitely not good bedfellows. A week of less sleep for four or five nights a week “induces an impairment equivalent to a blood alcohol level of 0.1%.” Check out the book, there’s loads more great evidence to show how sleep boosts brainpower, performance, and how, finally sleep is being seen as valuable to business and even a status symbol.

And don’t forget when you make time to walk, run, meditate, or take time out for half an hour to read a book* it can actually help you wind down and get the shut-eye you need. And as we show in our article on napping – it’s something that has both mind and body benefits, (read more here) so take time out for you.

*We can’t all have it all, or be Bill Gates, but he does read quite a lot!

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Fiona Bugler

Fiona is the creator of all things editorial, she’s a journalist with a life-long passion for health, fitness and wellbeing. For more than a decade she worked with business leaders and large groups as a personal trainer and running coach and this background informs the content she creates.

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