Are you interested in maximising your potential to perform? If the answer is yes, do you realise how important sleep is?

Sleep is the foundation of performance, but unfortunately, up 94% of the population are not getting enough of one of nature’s greatest gifts.

Inadequate sleep quantity and quality has been associated with numerous adverse effects, including:

• Increase risk of heart disease, stroke and diabetes
• Depression and anxiety
• Obesity
• Decreased concentration, problem-solving and alertness

If that is not enough, research has shown that reducing sleep to 5 hours a night nearly DOUBLED the risk of death from all causes.

Are you getting enough sleep?

In many workplaces, it is often seen as a “badge of honour” if you survive on only a few hours a night. The facts are evident that you may be surviving, but you are not performing to your maximum, and you are putting your long-term health at risk. However, you can make a difference by implementing a basic sleep strategy.

Our ever-increasing “connected” society has a substantial impact on our sleep. Without getting too deep into the science, sleep is enhanced by the lowering of the hormone cortisol and the production of the hormone melatonin.

So, if we are watching television, interacting on social media or answering email late at night, we are sending the wrong signals to our endocrine system.

So what can we do?

The first step is to focus on getting 7-9 hours of sleep every night, and by having a consistent sleep schedule (Bedtime/Waketime), and this includes weekends. The more consistent you are, the better, so determine what time you need to awake and work backwards 7-9 hours.

You being relaxed will enhance sleep so start to rest in that hour before bedtime by decreasing or avoiding technology and replace that with reading a book or even take a warm shower. Furthermore, writing in a journal is a great way to reduce anxiety by getting disruptive thoughts out of your mind.

Where you sleep is also essential as your sleep is influenced by temperature (18-20 degrees C), light (room needs to be dark), mattress/ pillow (individualised for you) and keep technology (mobile phone etc.) outside the bedroom. The bedroom should also be clean and uncluttered and prioritised for sleep.

Sleep is an intricate part of life that requires a simple strategy, and if you can improve this part of your life, the benefits are extensive. Imagine waking up every day fresh and focused so you can perform to your maximum in every area of your life.

If sleep is a problem for you now is the time to commit to making a positive change.

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