“What’s going on Mary?” Robin asked. “you’re out of control, the annoyance and negativity towards Tom are taking a toll on the team. I’m concerned.”
“I know,” Mary replied, “I don’t know why I’m so frustrated and annoyed recently.”
“I haven’t slept well for weeks. Things are getting to me that didn’t use to bother me. It’s not like me — actually, I find myself angry at home, too. My husband says I’m over-reacting to things.”
Are you sleep deprived?
While everyone’s need for sleep varies, the one constant is that a lack of sleep will hurt your health, physically and emotionally. You know the recommendation — seven to nine hours of sleep a night. You think you can get away with less. Not so fast, assess yourself against these “11 Signs You’re Sleep Deprived” by Rachel Swalin summarized here:
- You’re always hungry — your brain has to get energy from somewhere, if not sleep, then watch your food cravings.
- Weight gain — see #1; when tired you don’t watch what you’re eating, and you’ll grab that bite to eat or drink.
- More careless — when exhausted, you’re less inhibited and predictable. Saying “No” to junk food or dessert or lashing out at someone without thinking gets easier.
- Memory lapse — you pay less attention to what’s going on when tired, making a memory takes energy and care.
- Decision-making difficulty — again, too little sleep affects the speed and higher-level thinking; problem-solving and prioritizing of your time becomes harder.
- Motor skill delay — when tired your reaction time and concentration takes a hit, “simple” movement like taking the stairs might be harder.
- Emotional roller coaster — anxiety, sadness, or anger shows up around events that you would usually handle with ease.
- Increased sickness — your immune system takes a hit when you’re not sleeping properly.
- Difficulty seeing clearly — fatigue hinders control of your eye muscles, too.
- Skin issues — it’s called “beauty sleep” for a reason. The mind and body do a lot of work while you’re sleeping.
- Falling asleep at the wheel (computer) — it’s that nod off for a few seconds, it’s called “micro-sleep” when the brain forces the need for rest. How risky is drowsy driving?
Sleep and self-management
What’s the first thing to go when you are sleep deprived? In emotional intelligence language it’s called self-management. Self-management requires patience, flexibility, and sharpness. Without a good night’s sleep, that can be hard.
According to Travis Bradberry and Jean Greaves, co-authors of Emotional Intelligence 2.0, “The critical factor for an alert, focused, and balanced mind is the quality of your sleep.” (Pages 122-123) Here are four steps of good sleep hygiene:
- Get twenty minutes of morning sunlight — get outside before lunch-time.
- Turn off your computer (all blue screens) at least two hours before bedtime.
- Keep your bed for sleeping — avoid working or watching television in bed.
- Avoid caffeine, especially in the afternoon.
Creating Space to Think
Mary’s fatigue set her up for unnecessary stress, conflict, and failure. How’s your sleep hygiene?
What’s one step you can take to support your behavior with a good night’s sleep?
Here’s to your Next Level Leadership,