As I sit down to write this article this morning, it’s later than I’d usually get to work. That’s because I fell prey to my biggest kryptonite once again: lack of sleep.

Ironically, I used getting more sleep as an example of something I need to work on in my article about perfect systems yesterday, and here we are again.

Now let me be clear: It’s not like I’m sleeping for 3-4 hours per night. Most nights, I get about 7 hours. But even small deficits can add up over time until our sleep debt hits us with a little payback.

And, if you’re serious about performing at a high level, you need to take your sleep seriously.

As I’ve mentioned to so many of my clients before, sleep is not something you do when you’re not doing anything else, but rather a critically important physiological process where our brains go to work making connections and hitting the refresh button.

Yet all too often, I see people treating sleep as a luxury that can easily take a back seat to other, more “important” tasks.

When I first began making a better effort to prioritize my sleep, I was amazed at how much more creative, clear, focused and productive I was, which is why I now consider sleep to be one of the biggest bangs for your buck when it comes to your health, work, and happiness.

If you want an easy-to-remember sleep formula to act as an 80/20 of being well rested, here’s one I came across recently while reading The Perfect Day Formula by Craig Ballantyne.

The 10-3-2-1-0 Sleep Formula to Boost Your Performance

  • 10 hours before bed, stop consuming caffeine.
  • 3 hours before bed, eat your last meal.
  • 2 hours before bed, finish any work for the day.
  • 1 hour before bed, switch off all electronic devices and stop staring at any screens.
  • 0 – the number of times to hit the snooze button

As I mentioned, those are some basic rules of thumb to follow. Here are some other suggestions I’ve collected over the years of refining my sleep habits:

  • Aim for at least 7-8 hours of sleep per night.
  • Make the room as dark as possible (I wear an eye mask when I sleep).
  • If possible, a cooler room is better.
  • Keep all devices out of the bedroom.
  • If you do have to be up past your ideal bedtime, try to wake up at your normal time and make up for the deficit with a nap, rather than sleeping in.
  • It’s not just about the amount of sleep, but when you get it. Your brain carries out different tasks at different times, so sleeping from 10pm ’til 6am is far better than sleeping from midnight ’til 8am.
  • Set a bedtime alarm just as you would a morning alarm.
  • Prepare your body for a good night of sleep by doing calming things in the hour before bed, such as reading (physical books, preferably fiction), listening to peaceful music, bathing/showering, meditating, visualizing, breathing or chatting with your spouse (provided that is actually relaxing for you!).

While this article is slightly different from my usual content, I can’t stress enough the importance of being well rested and taking care of ourselves first before setting out to make an impact in the world.

If you still think sleep is a luxury, try making it more of a non-negotiable priority and watch your performance improve.


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