By Merilee Kern, MBA
Sleep. All people need it, most crave it, but throngs of individuals do not get the kind of restorative and rehabilitative sleep required to optimize mental clarity, focus, ideation, awareness, productivity and overall performance. The CDC actually declared “insufficient sleep” an “important public health concern.”
Enter Alvaro Vaselli, founder and CEO of Nuvanna—a sleep science and productivity-driven company—whose passion lies with solving common problems many people commonly experience during the night, allowing them to achieve balance in their overall life through a consistently goodnight’s sleep.
“Many sleep-related issues are extraordinarily easy to rectify, and can have a relatively immediate impact,” Vaselli notes. “When the body achieves a natural flow with the mind, it makes a difference in how a person experiences the world.”
With this in mind, below are Vaselli’s easy-to-follow strategies that leverage the power of a quality-night’s sleep for getting ahead in life.
It is no surprise that professional athletes are always on the lookout for every single advantage they can utilize in order to outperform their opponents. With a career that spans a maximum of 15 years, they want to stay on top of their game for the duration. “Brady is the healthiest great champion the NFL has ever had, both physically and mentally” (Sally Jenkins, The Washington Post). The longtime New England Patriots quarterback, with multiple Super Bowl victories and MVP awards, is widely regarded as an athlete whose training and determination pushed him from a mediocre sixth-round draft position to the most-revered and respected professional football player of his generation. Brady is very open about his approach to a more natural, healthier way of exercising, training and living which challenges some commonly held assumptions around health and wellness. He makes lifestyle choices that amplify and extend his performance as well as his quality of life.
The same principles that Brady uses to outperform his opponents on the football field can be used by anyone. One of the key factors to this edge is mental clarity, which simply cannot happen in a body that is running on fumes.
“When people have slept less, it’s a little like looking at the world through dark glasses,” according to Janice Kiecolt-Glaser, longtime relationship scientist and director of the Ohio State Institute for Behavioral Medicine Research. “The well-rested brain versus the sleepy brain will accomplish much more but will also be happier and less stressed while doing so.” When groggy and sleep-deprived during the day, in addition to one’s overall quantity of stress, and quality of performance will also be worse than someone who consistently receives eight or more hours of deep sleep. Those who make a commitment to deep, uninterrupted sleep for eight or more hours report more focus, more energy and more motivation than their counterparts.
Better Sleep = Better Temperament = Better Relationships = Greater Success
As stated above, those who are well rested report feeling happier and less stressed than their counterparts. Relationships are major components to winning in life, both personally and professionally.
Those who are well rested can model positive, healthy relationships. By giving one’s body the sleep it needs to perform optimally, individuals are able to give 100% of themselves in all of their relationships which helps relieve stress, maintains positive mental health and leads to a more balanced work/leisure lifestyle.
As with Tom Brady’s key shift to a healthier lifestyle in order to enhance mental clarity, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos explains how making “a small number of key decisions well is more important than making a large number of decisions. If you shortchange your sleep, you might be a couple of extra ‘productive’ hours, but that productivity might be an illusion.” When discussing the difference between interactions and decisions, quality is more important than quantity.
Living the balanced work/leisure lifestyle mentioned above helps people maintain their edge over others. Anyone who does not disengage at the end of the day but instead constantly checks their emails in the evenings and on weekends are the ones with a greater chance of burning out or being less engaged over time.
Cheri Mah, a researcher in the Stanford Sleep Disorders Clinic and Research Laboratory, “showed that basketball players at the elite college level were able to improve their on-the-court performance by increasing their amount of total sleep time.” This was demonstrated by an increase of nine percent in their free-throw shooting and an increase by 9.2 percent in their three-point shooting.
Improved Sleep Helps Everyone Start Their Day the Right Way
While the following habits may seem trivial, when added together, they help create a healthier mentality that leads to more success in all aspects of life. According to psychological research, “people who make their bed in the morning are happier and more successful than those who don’t.” Think about it this way instead – by taking 30 seconds when one first gets out of bed, your first accomplishment has already occurred, putting one in a “winning” mindset from the outset.
Many successful people start their day early. This is only successful, though, with a reasonable, consistent bedtime routine if one wants optimal results. Upon rising, for the first 60 minutes do not engage in any work-related activities such as checking email, social media or even watching the news. Instead wake your brain up gradually with meditation, a healthy breakfast and exercise, and engaging in activities that feed your soul. Do this before jumping into the activities of the day. Once you have successfully taken the time to nourish your body and soul, it is time to start knocking out that “to do” list.
Avoiding caffeine is another great strategy which gives the successful people an edge over the non-successful. While people assume they perform better with caffeine, it’s actually detrimental to most systems in one’s body. Because of its spikes, valleys and addictive quality, one actually underperforms when relying on America’s drug of choice. By nurturing one’s body in the positive ways mentioned above, healthy eating, deep, reparative sleep and regular exercise actually produce higher quantities and quality of energy than caffeine. After a few days without this stimulant, people find they develop more confidence and function better without it.
Related to the caffeine addiction, which creates jitteriness, agitation and irritability when consumed in high quantities and inconsistently throughout the day, those with sleep deprivation are usually more impatient and make poorer decisions than their counterparts.
A study from UC Berkeley “found that after a poor night’s sleep, the parts of the brain associated with automatic behavior were extra active, while the frontal lobes which affect self-control were more inhibited.” Therefore, anyone who is sleep deprived is more likely to respond instinctively rather than making conscious, healthy decisions. Another study from Clemson University found that people who didn’t get enough sleep had a “higher risk of being impulsive and distracted, as well as [made] poor decisions.” Successful individuals need to be able to make great decisions, especially in stressful situations, and emulate the atmosphere of the area that they would like to project to others. A sleep-deprived person will have a more difficult time accomplishing that goal.
When one sleeps, the glymphatic system, known as the brain’s cleaning system, goes into overdrive. This reportedly purges your brain of “organic waste materials that build up during waking hours, removing unwanted proteins and metabolic waste.” By removing this waste, it protects your body from Alzheimer’s and other neurological disorders.
In addition to Vaselli’s insights above, he urges that people need to commit to being truly asleep when sleeping and truly present while awake. He believes that “we all have an opportunity to put happiness within reach by building the right foundation for their lives, starting with a truly restorative night’s sleep.” So, it seems the old adage “you snooze, you lose” couldn’t be further from the truth since a solid night’s slumber can optimize one’s success and holistic happiness.
As the Executive Editor and Producer of “The Luxe List,” Merilee Kern is an internationally-regarded consumer product trends expert and hospitality industry voice of authority–a travel, dining, leisure and lifestyle expert who spotlights noteworthy marketplace innovations, change makers, movers and shakers. She identifies and reports on exemplary travel destinations and experiences, extraordinary events and newsworthy products and services across all categories. Reach her online at www.TheLuxeList.com, on Twitter at www.Twitter.com/LuxeListEditor, on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/TheLuxeList and on Instagram at www.Instagram.com/LuxeListReviews.