Now do we have your attention? How you sleep really can affect your ability to climb the corporate ladder or maximize your opportunity as a business leader. But it might look a little different than what you see on TV and heard on the radio..

Since early elementary school days, we can probably all agree that is cool to tout the “no sleep” badge: “I only get a few hours of sleep”, “sleep is for wimps” or “I can sleep when I die.”  However, what we know now is that if you don’t sleep you just might. Maybe not a literal death but death of career, enjoyment, and other core functions !  

Sleep is a direct correlation to many of the key skills it takes to maximize your job performance.  First, let’s explore the key parts of the brain and each function.  

Your Brain On Sleep

The neocortex is the last part of the brain to evolve.  It’s responsible for sensory perception, language and motor skills.  The front part of the neocortex is called the prefrontal cortex.  The prefrontal cortex is responsible for cognitive skills, problem solving and executing plans.  Most of your leadership traits rely on the prefrontal cortex.  Although many functions in the brain can withstand little sleep, the prefrontal cortex cannot.  All of your basic motor, visual and mental skills deteriorate when you are sleep deprived.

“According to McKinsey and Company research there is a strong correlation between leadership performance and organizational health, a strong predictor of a robust bottom line. In a separate study of 81 organizations and 189,000 people around the world, McKinsey found that four types of leadership behavior are most commonly associated with high-quality executive teams: operating with a strong orientation to results, solving problems effectively, seeking out different perspectives and supporting others. What's striking in all four cases is the link between sleep and effective leadership.”

How To Sleep Better

Since millennials are out pacing baby boomers and live in this 24/7 hyper-connected tech world, many people feel like they are on call all the time.  However, the goal when you sleep should be to keep your technology turned off or in the other room.  

We get it - sometimes that is easier said than done.  However, if we are awake for 17 – 19 hours a day that is equivalent to a blood-alcohol level of .05 percent.  If we are awake for 20 hours or more, it’s equivalent to a blood-alcohol level of .01 percent, the legal definition of drunk in the United States.  

Why Does It Matter To Get Good Sleep?

Sleep is a major contributor not only to performance but also strategic thinking, creativity, problem solving, memory and emotional reactions.  All of these traits are signs of being a strong leader.  

No matter if you are climbing the corporate ladder or are already in an executive role, sleep should be something to prioritize in your life.  It is no longer “cool” to say you need to eat, drink and sleep work.  In fact, you need to sleep so that you can maximize your work and make a difference as a business leader.  Take control of your career - develop a consistent sleep time, with a consistent sleep environment.

Gain an edge while you sleep.