Friday, October 5, 2012

Why You Should Consider Sleeping on the Job

Why You Should Consider Sleeping on the Job

By Arianna Huffington

Recently, I talked about the secret of how to "sleep your way to the top" -- the scientifically proven idea that the more you sleep the better you perform. Business can invest all it wants in research, development, skill generation and new products. But if a company has a sleep-deprived workforce, the chances of it winning against its competitors are limited. And employees hoping to get to the executive cubicle are going to have a tough time if they spend their days relying on "formal superstitious and magical thinking processes," two of the hallmarks of sleep deprivation, according to the National Institute of Health.

So how can employees and executives win the battle? Success will come from disconnecting. Of course, we are built for connection and communication, and so it's no surprise that it's hard to set aside our devices so we can get enough sleep to really connect the next day. To that end, Dr. Stuart Quan and Dr. Russell Sanna, from Harvard Medical School's Division of Sleep Medicine, have come up with a proposal to fight back. Not only are media use and connectivity "sleep stealers," they contend, but they're also playing a role in stress-related ailments. "The current generation is predicted to live shorter lives than their parents for the first time in history," they write. So they've proposed an initiative called "Gray Out by 10," in which major software companies and social media sites could partner to dull down background screens that, when looked at before bedtime, interfere with sleep. They also propose the development of popup menus for business emails that would allow the sender or receiver to put off reading or responding until the morning.

And for families, they've come up with the "Turn it Off" Pledge, which is composed of 5 simple steps that any parent can implement in their home to create optimal sleep environment for everyone in the family:

We pledge to help each other track our media use.
We pledge to turn off media well before going to bed.
We pledge to use phones for only three things during our sleeping periods: 
a) To set an alarm to go to bed 
b) To monitor our sleep
c) To set an alarm to get up
We pledge to remove TVs from our bedrooms.
We pledge to help each other keep these pledges.
Sounds great. Especially that last one, since it's hard to disconnect if everybody else wants to connect. People flock to all sorts of products and methods that they think will make them more effective at work, and yet here's one -- with the science to back it up -- that's waiting right in their bedrooms.

Some businesses are catching on, butnot nearly enough. At HuffPost we have two nap rooms available around the clock. Google likewise encourages napping. But the workplace culture that equates lack of sleep with dedication is still far too entrenched. While American businesses wait for the economy to turn up and for consumer demand to return, here's an innovation and a capital improvement that's available to all and is completely immune to Washington gridlock.

As John Steinbeck wrote, "a problem difficult at night is resolved in the morning after the committee of sleep has worked on it." That's one committee meeting that people should make sure is on their calendars every night.

Edited by: Lawyer Asad

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