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FOCUS: Sleep

DISCIPLINES: Personal Mastery, Mental Models, Systems Thinking

"Without enough sleep, we all become tall two-year-olds."
—JoJo Jensen

Thoughts

Last week I observed a darling 3-year-old boy, Troy, having a meltdown in the check out line at the Giant Eagle. Troy kept loudly changing his mind about what he wanted. He was past comforting, thrashing in his mother’s arms. She explained apologetically to the rest of us in the line, “Troy’s overtired. He missed his nap.”

As grown-ups, we’ve learned, for the most part, not to yell and thrash, but when we’re overtired, we feel pretty much like Troy at the Giant Eagle. I think of parents I know who work demanding, full-time jobs, and also take kids to seemingly endless practices and games or meets. I think of busy executives, who never get enough sleep. I think of myself and many of my friends, who do so many good and interesting things with our lives we are often frazzled.

Recent Research

Recent research shows that lack of sleep in adults:

  • Impairs judgment
  • Reduces “rapid cognition” or intuition
  • Leaves us emotionally vulnerable, with less ability to contain our emotions.

Suggestions

Thomas Dekker said, “Sleep is the golden chain that ties health and our bodies together.”

Since getting enough sleep is so important, here are a couple of suggestions for doing it.

  1. Go to bed even though you haven’t finished everything you need/want to do. Write yourself a clear note to remind yourself what you want to do. Set the alarm, and go to bed. When you wake up, you’ll be able to accomplish the tasks much more easily than if you’d done them while tired.

  2. Take a nap. Companies who have instituted short “Power Napping” policies claim greater productivity, fewer mistakes and fewer accidents. Says James Mass, a Cornell University sleep researcher, “I’ve recommended napping to thousands of overtired executives.” I am a devoted napper. I find 15 minutes of sleep in the middle of the day refreshes me in an almost miraculous way! The list of famous nappers is long and includes Jim Lehrer, John F. Kennedy, Winston Churchill, Albert Einstein, Thomas Edison, Johannes Brahms, Napoleon Bonaparte, Leonardo da Vinci and my grandpa Buckner. It’s never too late to start napping. My husband Hal learned to nap after he was 60, and says naps are “deliciously restorative.” If you haven’t tried napping, I suggest you do, even if it’s just shutting your eyes at your desk for 10 minutes during lunch.

Coaching Questions

  1. Do you get enough sleep to stay alert, productive and in control of your emotions?

  2. If not, how can you increase your sleep and reap the restorative rewards?

CORRECTION:

In last month’s Fresh Views, I inadvertently misspelled portrait artist Alison Rich’s name. The correct spelling is Alison Rich, and here is a recent portrait of Paco Genkoji Sensei she has allowed me to share with you.

INVITATION:

Please join me for a 45-minute telegathering to explore sleep. Call Wednesday, August 15 at noon Eastern (11:00 a.m. Central, 10:00 a.m. MT, 9:00 a.m. Pacific) 1-641-678-3400 x912 No need to register….just call at that time!

Read an excerpt from Liberating Greatness, the Whole Brain Guide to an Extraordinary Life, the book Hal and I wrote, at www.LiberatingGreatness.com.

Sharon Eakes | 720 Maple Lane | Sewickley, PA 15143

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