Sleep Your Way To The Top

Sleep Your Way To The Top

Sleep is getting a lot of airtime just now. We have Arianna Huffington ensuring the nap rooms in the Huffington post NY offices are full and saying, “we all need to wake up to the importance of sleep”.

Log onto iTunes and there are countless apps for checking out your sleep (see our sleep app review in ‘tech styled’. Check it out here >).

More and more companies are looking into the wellness of their employees. We have worked with several companies that have used the Optima Life heart monitors for their top leaders and the insight provided by these can lead to significant changes in how people do business. This documented output of our rest and our awake times demonstrates – with hard data – recovering energy is as important as expending it.

There are several stats that really hammer home the importance of sleep to us.

  • Driving tired or falling asleep at the wheel is the cause of about 20% of accidents on long journeys on main roads and motorways.
  • Falling asleep at the wheel is the most common single cause of a truck driver being killed at work or of a truck killing other drivers.
  • 37% of car, van and truck drivers have said they carried on driving when too tired.
  • As many as 10% of people who use their vehicles for work have admitted falling asleep at the wheel in the past year of their driving.


According to John Medina in his book, ‘Brain rules’ a NASA study showed that a 26 minutes nap improved a pilot’s performance by more than 34%. Another study showed that a 45-minute nap produced a similar boost in cognitive performance, lasting more than 6 hours.

Ok, so I know 66% of statistics are made up on the spot but you cannot deny that you feel better after a good sleep?

Do you have a sleep routine?
Do you ban all technology from the bedroom?
Have you ever picked up your phone in the middle of the night to check it and felt blinded?

Studies show that blue light suppresses melatonin and shifts circadian rhythms. In my research for this article I stumbled upon f.lux, which is an application that changes the colour of your computer screen at night. Their strapline is “Software to make your life better” .

F.lux fixes this: it makes the color of your computer's display adapt to the time of day, warm at night and like sunlight during the day.

I shall report back on what a difference it makes to my sleep.

I am personally a fan of the afternoon nap. I struggle with 9 – 5 as my best performance times are early in the morning and late at night (All clients just ignore that last statement).

So an opportunity for an afternoon nap for me is a delight. And if I have the opportunity I do, I work with my body. My dad and I were delighted to read an article that told us that humans were biphasic – that we should actually sleep during the afternoon. We are all for that!

Many scientists believe that the doctors that diagnose us with “middle-of-the-night-insomnia” are wrong. Mounting studies demonstrate that these nocturnal awakenings are not abnormal at all and are purely your body’s natural rhythms.

The Live Science blog reports: “The dominant pattern of sleep, arguably since time immemorial, was biphasic," Roger Ekirch, a sleep historian at Virginia Tech University and author of "At Day's Close: Night in Times Past" (Norton 2005).

"Humans slept in two four-hour blocks, which were separated by a period of wakefulness in the middle of the night lasting an hour or more. During this time some might stay in bed, pray, think about their dreams, or talk with their spouses. Others might get up and do tasks or even visit neighbors before going back to sleep."

So, perhaps those with insomnia have got it right?

Effectively what this tells me is- only you know how much sleep is good for you. Set yourself some rituals and routines, wind down the technology addiction and get the lighting correct for your circadian rhythms and you shall be sleeping like a baby every night.

Image 2
Image 2

We all need to wake up to the importance of sleep!


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