A colleague of mine tells me that most people today are sleep deprived.  He’s a life coach who focuses on how one’s body reacts to stress and how that reaction, in turn, causes our performance to worsen.

How can you tell if you’re sleep deprived? Here are 3 common telltale signs which are pretty obvious.  Do you:

  • fall asleep within 3 minutes of going to bed, virtually every night?
  • nod-off watching TV frequently?
  • find it ‘easy’ to catch a quick snooze while others around you are not able to?

If you are one of the above, you may be someone who could benefit from new research issued recently from sleep researcher and Harvard University trained psychologist Sara C. Mednick.  Her new book, “Take a Nap! Change Your Life”, indicates that when, and how, people nap can really help.

And many businesses appear to be listening.  Companies such as British Airways, Nike, and Pizza Hut now allow their workers to take nap breaks; and they’ve found that productivity increased as a result.  In a NASA study, a short nap increased individuals’ output by as much as 34%. 

Mednick’s research amplifies the benefits by saying that, in addition to productivity, one’s health and memory also improve when they begin taking regular naps.  She and others involved in the research found that naps can restore proficiency in a variety of critical skills.  One woman who participated in the testing said she found that it provided her with much more energy than coffee and that her creativity was significantly improved after a short nap.

As an executive and career coach I strongly believe that American businesses are populated by many people who go through the day almost “wired”.  It’s become so commonplace that we seem to believe that it’s “normal” to be tired.  I see smart managers who get far too emotional about small things – often blowing up in meetings inappropriately.  I also know that many of my clients don’t enjoy their personal life as much as they should because they are sleep deprived.

Test the thesis – take a 20 minute nap break between 1PM and 3PM (or the equivalent if you work shifts).  Within 10 minutes of waking up, Mednick says, you’ll feel “refreshed, alert, and ready to focus”.  Then after you’ve proven to yourself this works – make it a new department approach for your team.  And watch the improvements pop up all over the place.

                                                                           Don’t let the bedbugs bite

                                                                              – john

                                                                               Career Coach