I hear that statement often from colleagues. We often work 10-12 hr days and then have personal lives that demand time so sleep becomes a low priority. I made that mistake again this week. After a week of vacation, I decided six hours or less a night was just fine and I’m definitely feeling the effects now. What’s ironic is that I know better. I know that you can never “catch up” on sleep. Each day effects your system in a way that builds up over time. I know that getting the right amount of sleep has very positive effects on your mood, your body and your brain. The right amount may be six hours for you, but I know it’s not for me. I slept eight hours or more each day of vacation and there is a clear difference between how I felt last week and how I feel this week. But I rationalize (rational lies) that I can’t put off the other things in my day for sleep. The really ironic thing is that I know that each day I don’t sleep well cumulatively impacts my overall lifespan. So it is true that I’ll sleep when I’m dead…and I’ll make up for all the sleep I’m missing now by bringing that sleep on earlier. Smart huh?
I’ve made the point in leadership classes and speeches that none of us are irreplaceable in our work lives. Like pulling a finger from a bowl of water, there may be a brief ripple but things smooth out pretty quickly. I’ve never been in a job where someone hasn’t come behind me and made the place better than I left it. However, there are two roles that don’t have that often unrecognized reality and those are spouse and parent. No one can ever substitute any of us in those roles no matter how they try. That takes me back to my earlier point…get some sleep so you can be around in the long run for those who love you. Nobody ever lay on their deathbed saying, “I wish I spent more time on the job.” Increase your rest, decrease your regrets and balance the scales in your love ones favor.