In Australia we have just had our national election, but a clear winner is yet to be announced. With the microscopic attention on our potential leaders, I wonder if the physiological and psychological performance of the candidates has been monitored as closely as the potential political outcome? I would suggest not.
The election campaign is just like training for match day. How you prepare along the way affects your overall performance. The immense stress on our political leaders by their parties and long hours on the campaign trail have a major effect on their sleep, diet and physical activity.
Like any fatigued athlete, a fatigued politician will make mistakes. Just take a look at the commentary on Malcolm Turnbull’s election night speech. If only his party realised how much fatigue can impact performance.
How was the Liberal leader sleeping throughout the 8 week campaign? Reduction of quantity and quality of sleep has been shown to have a negative relationship to cognitive performance and is even more reason why sleep should be monitored if you want to perform at your best.
Stress is also known to have a negative impact on cognition. Did anyone take the time to gauge the stress levels of Malcolm Turnbull and develop strategies to manage this?
Physical activity on the other hand, has a positive effect on how our mind operates and while Turnbull may have been on his feet all day, how much time did he actually devote to exercise? However, pushing yourself to exercise when you are already fatigued may have the opposite effect.
Having knowledge of the real time physiological and cognitive fatigue status of people can be used to predict potential issues and inform adjustments that can be made to ensure that the individual remains in their optimal performance zone.There is no doubt that the same analysis could have been used for Malcolm Turnbull to ensure his ability to perform was maximised.
As we await a final result, one thing is for certain, the new Prime Minister has a long road ahead of them, with constant high expectations on their performance. There is no doubt that an individual needs to be aware of their fatigue levels,and adjust their approach, if their full potential is to be maximised.