The World Health Organization has finally declared burnout a real syndrome with medical consequences.
Burn out sucks the joy out of work and life. The #1 thing we can do to prevent burnout is sleep. But in today’s fast-paced world, there seems to be a badge of honor about how little one can sleep and still function.
If we want to avoid burnout we MUST prioritize and protect our sleep.
“I only need four hours of sleep!”
“I will sleep when I’m dead.”
“You snooze, you lose.”
How many times have you heard something like this? Or said it yourself?
The truth is “you snooze, you win!”
We can get by in the short term with less sleep, but eventually, it will catch up with us and who wants to just get by anyway?
We get this one precious life… just getting by is not living fully.
Just getting by often means not putting forth our creative genius or worse, sometimes not getting the job done at all.
To experience how good our bodies and minds are designed to feel and accomplish big things while enjoying the process versus suffering through it, we need recovery time, and that includes sleep.
Simply put, when we don’t get enough quality sleep, our physical and mental performance drastically suffers.
“We now see sleep as the preeminent force in this health trinity. The physical and mental impairments cause by one night of bad sleep dwarf those caused by an equivalent absence of food or exercise.” – Why We Sleep (Matthew Walker, PhD)
Sleep enriches a wide range of functions including our ability to learn, remember, make logical decisions and maintain stable emotional health. It’s the single most effective thing we can do to reset our brain, body and health each day.
Lack of sleep actually creates an accumulation of the sleep chemical adenosine. Like an outstanding debt, adenosine carries over into the next day and will continue to accumulate with each passing day we don’t get enough sleep, eventually leading to mental and physical burnout.
Therefore, sleep is a foundation of high performance, health and prevention of burnout.
However, it’s not just enough to get a certain amount of sleep each night, we must strive to put in place habits that will support deep higher quality restorative sleep. It’s this kind of sleep that truly helps us ascend to greatness during the day.
In our fast-paced, high-tech world, it’s no shock that most people have trouble falling asleep or have trouble staying asleep each night. More than 40 percent of Americans get less than the recommended minimum of seven hours of sleep per night.
Getting quality sleep is a foundation for performance because it affects both our mental acuity, clarity and physical energy. It’s no surprise that sleep seems to be one of the biggest challenges for most people seeking high performance.
I often hear, “I just can’t seem to shut my mind down at night” or “I wake up several times during the night,” from leaders and extremely high performing people.
Learning to switch off and putting in place new habits and strategies to be able to switch off is key to sustainable high quality sleep each night and performance during the day.
It’s important to understand why getting optimal sleep is so important for the foundation of high performance and health.
Getting a good night’s rest has so many benefits. Here are just a few of the more important ones that recent sleep studies have confirmed.
Quality sleep has been found to:
- Activate the release of human growth hormone (HGH), an essential player in cellular regeneration and healthy aging.
- Enhance memory function and creative problem-solving skills the next day.
- Support athletic performance, including speed, agility and overall energy.
- Boost the immune system, leaving us less vulnerable to illness.
- Help us be more resilient to daily stress.
- Support a positive mood and outlook on life.
- Support fat loss.
As with everything in life, it’s essential to remind ourselves WHY we are doing something if we wish to truly have a lasting behavior change.
If you are struggling to get to bed sooner, I recommend you start setting a simple reminder in your phone to remind you about the impact getting more sleep is going to have on you, as well as those you care most about.
For example, will better quality sleep help you…
- Be a more patient, attentive and present husband/wife?
- A more compassionate, kind and caring father/mother?
- Be more creative and perform better at work?
- Enjoy life more, which in turn makes you and everyone around you happier?
If you’re suffering from burnout or insomnia I can help.