What’s The 1 Thing You Need To Be Exceptional?

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Sleep.

Research shows that most people, 95% to be exact, need seven to eight hours of sleep.  So why are we staying up too late and getting up too early and depriving ourselves of our much needed sleep?  Because we’re getting after it?  I’ve written here and here about being burned out…but that happens after a whole lot of sleep deprivation and can be prevented.  In an article on the Harvard Business Review’s blog, Sleep Is More Important Than Food, we can read about the effects of being stingy with our sleep patterns.  Lack of sleep lowers our ability to function so much so that Amnesty International has deemed sleep deprivation as torture.  Lack of sleep is so entrenched in the coaching culture (I have a coffee press in my office…primed and ready to go!) that we accept it as normal.  But is it?  Let’s look at what burning the candle at both ends can do to us.

Here are 3 areas of our lives that lack of sleep affects

  • Physical health. According to the article, Sleep Deficit: The Performance Killer, lack of sleep hurts us physically…everything from high blood pressure to obesity.  Everything I’ve read says we’re driven to require sleep by some mechanism inside of us, much like hunger pangs drive us to eat.
  • Team health. No one on your team will tell you this (because they’re afraid of you, Grumpypants), but you’ve been a bit irritable lately.  Lack of sleep affects our personalities and sense of humor…that player who always makes you laugh just won’t cut it when you’re tired from not getting enough sleep.
  • Work health. Here’s a quotation from the article:  We continue to live by a remarkably durable myth: sleeping one hour less will give us one more hour of productivity. In reality, the research suggests that even small amounts of sleep deprivation take a significant toll on our health, our mood, our cognitive capacity and our productivity. So we’re not being more productive on less sleep, we’re actually taking longer to do tasks (and making more errors) than we would while properly rested!  Think of it this way, we spend all day thinking and creating and generally exhausting our brains…and sleep is the time to revamp so that we can do it all again.


So go to bed, you’re not any less tough by giving in to the Sandman.  Your team, your coworkers, and your body will thank you!