Catching Your Zzzz's: A Health Plan For Success

What happens to you if you don’t get a restful night sleep? Do you hop out of bed ready to take on the day or do you find yourself struggling to find the toothbrush (or your car keys)?

We are walking zombies, running in a million different directions and pleading with the universe for just a few more hours added to our days.

And for what? Would we use those hours for work? Or for sleep? Most would say that those extra hours would allow them to do more – yet if given the additional time, what we all need is sleep.

The other day I was having a conversation with a friend, and during that brief communication he seemed to brag about his week long stint of barely getting 4-5 hours of sleep a night. He shared this as if it was a badge of honor, as if his choice to not take care of himself was something to be proud of. Little did he know (until I shared with him, of course) that his choice results in less productivity, poor decision-making and health issues.

More and more these days it seems that the overarching theme when working with my clients (or talking with friends) is a serious lack of sleep and too much stress. Clients and loved ones are reliant on the assistance of little pills to fall asleep and others are in denial they need sleep, opting to watch Netflix, surf social media or obsessively check emails until late into the night – all instead of hitting the pillow at a decent hour.

We absolutely equate success with burning the candle at both ends, and the truth is, this behavior elicits the opposite results. Things like burnout, foggy brain, and unhappiness - not to mention a slew of health issues. 

We are walking around in a fog, relying on caffeine to get through the day, and our lack of sleep is leading us to dissatisfaction in our careers and personal lives, a decline in productivity, and health issues.

Lack of sleep is a killer, and right now it is an epidemic that has turned into a global issue.

I know first hand how lethal the combination of stress and lack of sleep can be for an individual.

I eat well and move all the time, but my lack of sleep and high stress levels started to cause some serious health issues for me back in the fall and only progressed as time went on (more on that later). On top of it, my performance professionally and my motivation declined. As a result, I’ve had to be diligent with a regimen that addresses both, and it hasn’t been easy. It took me a long time to get here and it’s going to take some work to get back to a healthy place. But, through this process I’ve learned some great lessons.

Rather than making sleep something that we fit into our schedule, it should be the part of our day that is routine. There is a reason we establish a regular bedtime for our kids, and it isn't just so we can have adult time. It’s to make sure they thrive each day.

So, how did we get away from this concept for ourselves?

We think: If I am getting a lot of sleep, I’m not doing enough in my career, community and family/personal life.

The truth: If we aren't getting enough sleep and we aren't managing stress, we will get to a point where we can't do all the things. 

This week I made a commitment to myself to get eight hours of sleep each night, which for me is a challenge because I (like my friend) typically squeeze in about five hours. Despite the crazy week, I used my type-a personality to my advantage and nailed that sleep drill. And, while I still have a long road ahead, I have noticed a slight difference in how I'm feeling.

We have become a society that feels overbooking and overextending ourselves is how we get to the top. It’s how we prove our worth. I fell into this for a long time, and encountering some major health issues has led me to reevaluate a whole hell of a lot.

It's time we start changing our definition of success so that it doesn't involve burning the candle at both ends, but rather, it involves a lot of sleep and stress management techniques so we can be energized, productive and healthy! (I know, totally foreign concept.)

In two weeks I’ll be hosting a FREE webinar focusing on the two things that high performing career professionals and entrepreneurs struggle with the most, and is causing more health issues than smoking or even poor eating: sleep and stress. If you don't want to miss out, subscribe below so you don't miss the details I send out this week.