Updated: Feb 27, 2020
Movies are full of unsung heroes. Poor Duckie shows up for Andie and then still steps aside for crush, Blane, in Pretty in Pink. Cameron gets the car, goes along with all of Ferris’s antics and takes all of the heat from his dad in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. And who could forget Ellen in Christmas Vacation - cooking the food, entertaining the parents, and even flipping the garage switch to turn on the infamous Griswold family lights just so Clark could declare “I did it” in the last scene.
So, my Momentum Builders, who’s the unsung hero of ALL of our lives? What do we take for granted that’s vital to our health and success? S-L-E-E-P. Sleep doesn’t get the recognition it deserves every morning when we crawl out of bed. When you crush your workout or nail a presentation, does anyone slow-clap for the sleep that made it all possible? It just quietly does its job and when you don’t get enough, you blame IT because you didn’t get enough. Poor sleep. Moping forever in its room with Cameron.
For driven growth-owners who want to hit it hard every day, sleep is often the last thing we want to do with our time. We want to push ourselves harder, longer, and get a few more things done. “I’ll sleep when I’m dead” you mutter to yourself between yawns. Or maybe we feel we deserve that extra hour of TV or YouTube after a long, hard day. After all, there’s always caffeine, right?
Yep, caffeine. Caffeine’s the guy who gets all the glory. Caffeine will save the day! But repeat after me, Starbucks lovers, “caffeine is not the superhero we need.” Caffeine doesn’t produce cytokines, a type of protein that wards off inflammation and infections, like the flu. You can thank your old friend sleep for that.
Sleep also reduces blood pressure, which leads to a healthier heart; reduces blood sugar to keep diabetes at bay; and fosters muscle repair. It gives you stamina to endure tough workouts and sharpness to make good decisions. At the end of the day, if you’re not getting enough sleep, you’re not balancing your physical health core. You’re not giving your body what it needs to be the best version of YOU every single day.
So how do you know if you’re getting enough sleep? Do you wake up before your alarm clock goes off? Are you awake and alert, or are you heavy-blinking while you’re in meetings or driving? Are you reaching for caffeine to keep you going?
Making an effort to get the right amount of sleep all comes down to success habits and your mindset. It means recognizing sleep as an important piece of your physical health and making it a priority in your life. Start small, and slowly make the choice to increase your sleep time until it becomes a meaningful lifelong success habit. Your health will thank you!
This Week’s Core Tip:
Ask yourself if you’re naturally a night owl or a morning bird? Left to your own devices, do you have energy later and stay up, or does your energy come first thing and slowly deteriorate throughout the day? You DON’T want to go against your natural bio-rhythms if you don’t have to, though it is possible in my experience to somewhat retrain yourself to the sleep hours you desire.
Figure out how you can make your natural sleep cycle work for you, and determine what amount of sleep you need to feel rested and energized each day. Most studies will say anywhere from 6-9 hours, but everyone is different.
I put on a wearable to bed and use an app called “Sleep Watch” to track my sleep. This has been a huge friction reducer in figuring out the areas I need to improve on, giving me insights such as how much restful sleep I’m getting and my heart rate variations, and making sure I’m getting the sleep I know I need overall.