Manager Optimisation: 4 Ways to L.E.A.D with Sleep  

Guest Blog by Brendan Duffy 

“It’s hard to pour from an empty cup” is a great expression that I heard a few years ago.  I’m not sure who first said it, but when it comes to managers, pouring from their empty “sleep cup” is too often the case.  

More times than not, managers confuse the idea of being awake for 20 or more hours with being productive. But is that truly the case?    

Many studies have shown that even small amounts of sleep loss can take a toll on our physical and mental health. It can blunt our emotions, sour our moods, and make us a less attractive version of ourselves.  

To state it plainly, sleep is not a luxury or to be treated like a “leftover”.  When you lose sleep, you lose the edge that a smart leader needs. You slowly break down your body and mind.  The degradation over time can be just as harmful as smoking or a poor diet.  A manager who doesn’t value sleep can blunt the team they manage.  If a manager doesn’t correlate sleep with being important for physical and mental health, they add stress to the team that may try to emulate their leaders’ lifestyle.  

It’s World Sleep Day on 15th March. Let’s be mindful of the quality of our sleep. So, what are four ways we, as managers, can L.E.A.D. with sleep via better sleep strategies? 

L- LIGHT. Make sure to get out into the sunshine or bright outside light after waking up each day. Even a cloudy day provides ample light for a circadian daily reset.   If you can’t get out in the light, sit near windows and turn up the lighting in your home or work location each morning. This consistent pattern is very important for resetting and regulating our circadian rhythm each day. Daily light also affects the production of melatonin. Melatonin is essential for the promotion of good sleep patterns and timing.  

E- EDUCATION. Educate yourself and your team about how important sleep is for physical health, mental health, creativity, and productivity.  Johns Hopkins refers to this as sleep leadership1.  Too often managers have the mindset of “you snooze, you lose”, but smart managers and leaders such as Jeff Bezos and Tom Brady model healthy sleep behaviour.   

A- ALLOW. Allow yourself adequate time to wind down in the evening. Step away from work-related tasks that may cause you stress or anxiety.  A good evening routine might include utilising some type of gratitude recitals, meditation, yoga, light stretching, or perhaps a warm shower.  It also may help to dim the lighting and remove any clutter from your sleep area.  

D- DISORDERS. Do you snore? Has a bedpartner told you that you stop breathing each night while asleep? If so, don’t ignore the snore!  It can lead to mood disorders, bad business decisions, poor interaction with your employees, cardiac and brain health issues, etc.  Sleep apnea is easily diagnosed and treated but often many managers don’t take the time to properly maintain and manage their number one employee— themselves! There are also solutions for insomnia, narcolepsy, parasomnias, and other sleep disorders. But it all starts with a diagnosis so don’t delay!  It may save your life!  

Here’s hoping for great sleep health for all of you and may “your sleep cup pour over”.  

This blog was written by our guest, Brendan Duffy. Brendan is a Recovery Coach and Director at CHSLI Sleep Services in New York, United States. Brendan Duffy has over 20 years of experience in sleep medicine as both a sleep tech and a sleep center manager. He speaks and authors article nationally on the impact of sleep on athletic competition and preparation. This often overlooked area could determine if your team wins or loses if players get injured, or how well-prepared your players are. He is an RPSGT and NY State licensed sleep technologist and educator. Feel free to connect with Brendan Duffy on LinkedIn

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