43% out of 180 business leaders said they do not get enough sleep during the week, based on a study in the Harvard Business Review. Leaders have demanding schedules and often find themselves sacrificing sleep for more hours of work.

Such deficiencies can undermine the vital forms of leadership styles and behavior and eventually hurt the overall performance of the company.

It turns out that it is better for the brain to sleep for a shorter time without interruptions versus a long session with disruptions, according to a study by John Hopkins University.

While there is no proof on the exact number of quality snooze hours, there is a strong link sleep deprivation and the value of performance in the workplace.

Poor sleep quality reduces the brain’s power, productivity, and the ability to communicate. It also reduces the quality of concentration, creativity, and memory skills – all of which are vital to great leadership.

Poor Sleep Raises Costs & Hinders Performance

Forty-nine percent of Americans receive an average of seven hours of sleep per night while 40% get less than six.  This can have a negative impact on your productivity and health as a whole.

As a result, even the smallest amount of fatigue can take a toll on your cognitive capacity, mood, and overall health.

Another study by Occup Environ Med found that an employee’s performance level after being awake for 17 hours as compared to having a blood alcohol level of .5%.

Now, imagine a person being awake for 20 hours. This is equal to a blood alcohol level of 0.1%, considered as intoxicated.

Sleep Deprivation and Performance

There is no need to extend work hours to prove your worth as a manager. In fact, the act of getting little sleep reduces your performance the next day, and the day after that.

By fighting the vicious cycle, you can improve your range of cognitive skills, known as “executive functions,” which are skills that every leader needs for successful performance.

Sleep deprivation affects the brain’s ability to accomplish daily functions like problem-solving, cognitive reasoning, planning, organizing, and decision-making, as explained by neuro scientists from the National Space Biomedical Research Institute.

Tips to Help Leaders Thrive and Get Enough Sleep

A study at Duke University found that poor sleep is linked to higher levels of stress and a greater risk of diabetes and heart disease.

While getting at least seven hours of sleep can help boost performance, here are some tips on how to deal with fatigue:

  • Take power naps
  • Eat protein-rich snacks
  • Set calendar reminders
  • Take quality time off
  • Encourage the importance of healthy habits with your team

Beyond the means of becoming more rested and effective leaders, the main point is to prevent burnout.

Therefore, while great minds like Richard Branson and Thomas Edison chose to sleep for less than 4 hours at a time, more evidence shows that you should get the recommended hours of snooze.

Not only will quality rest improve your health, it will also benefit your leadership and performance.

How Does Sleep Affect Leadership?

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Sally Keys
Sally is a freelance writer who gave up a successful career in HR to become a work-from-home mum running her own business. She operates a strict daily schedule, often getting a lot of her work done before the kids get up, and enjoys getting out of the home to walk her pet Labrador, Rosie.