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Why long term success and quality sleep go together

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WRITTEN BY
Sarah Rodgers | Jun 11, 2018 | Photograph by: Samantha Gades

I’m so tired I can’t think straight.  That was the thought confronting me at 11 am this morning.  I hadn’t even made it to the afternoon slump, and I was fading fast.  I would like to say this feeling is rare, but it is all too familiar.

Without the boundaries of a traditional 9-5, it can be extremely hard to know when to stop working.  If you are anything like me, you don’t stop until you finish your task.  Unfortunately, those nights typically end late, and the next day I am worse for the wear.  Even worse, the 24-hour culture makes me feel like I’m lazy if I don’t.

Turns out, sacrificing self-care for short-term gain can harm us mentally and physically in the long run.  Worse, it can hurt our chances of long-term success.  But don’t take it from me.  The following advice from successful experts will have you early to bed, early to rise.

 

The Impact on your Emotions

Have you ever felt completely overwhelmed after a night of bad sleep?  Like to the point of crying over something that normally wouldn’t faze you?  There’s a reason.  Emotional regulation is also affected by lack of sleep.  In fact, we react more emotionally to stress when we have had a rough night’s sleep.

 

The Impact on Performance

We already know sleep loss makes it difficult to learn.  Attention spans, awareness, and focus are all affected.  Even if we aren’t at Uni, or trying to learn something outright, we still need sleep each night to consolidate our memories. In fact, the formation of our long-term memories occurs while we are asleep.  What’s the use of having an epiphany if it won’t be remembered the next day?

The most damning evidence for the need for sleep comes from years of studying cognitive performance in the workplace.  Did you know 17 hours of wakefulness does the same thing to your brain as 2 glasses of wine?  If you make it the whole 24, it could be as many as 4 glasses.  I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to run my business with a buzz.

 

The Impact on Decision Making

Decision making is an important part of our day, whether we realize it or not.  From decisions impacting your company’s future to what you eat, your choices are determined in part by how much you sleep.

A Washington State University study found depriving humans of sleep causes the brain to make it difficult to do the right thing.  It is especially incapacitated in novel and changing situations.  As female entrepreneurs, every day is new and uncertain.  We must be ready to face each opportunity with a mind ready for making good decisions.

Chernobyl, Three Mile Island, and the Exxon Valdez oil spill are all examples of sleep-deprived decisions.  Although you probably won’t melt down a nuclear reactor, you could melt down your newest opportunity.

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MEET THE FOUNDER Natalie Hughes

Natalie Hughes founded Miss Independent in 2017, to educate and mentor women and help them make their best career and business decisions. Natalie is an experienced business woman and non-executive company director focused on organisational design, strategy, growth and innovation. Her goal is to help you think differently, work differently and feel in control of your own destiny.

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