22 June 2016

Lawrence Jones

Summer catching up her on sleep!

Our fourth daughter was born this month and among all the excitement that comes from having a new-born, it has also made me think about the value of a good night’s sleep! It is said that we need roughly one hour sleep for every two hours we are awake, but do we always have the opportunity to stick to this rule?

More often than not, it feels like there are simply not enough hours in the day; which makes getting enough sleep a real challenge.

Over the years I’ve experienced times when there was simply too much to do, particularly at the very start of UKFast, when Gail and I used to see each other only at the change of shifts. We were like ships passing in the night, literally walking past each other on Oxford Road in Manchester as I returned from the night shift and Gail headed in to cover the day.

Whilst this may seem necessary at the time, working such long days isn’t sustainable in the long term and it will eventually do a business more harm than good. A consistent lack of sleep has the potential to seriously harm our mental and physical health, as well as our careers.

We all try to live life to full and achieve our goals and dreams; should this stop us from getting the amount of sleep we need to be and do our best?

Unfortunately ‘you snooze, you lose’ is a phrase often used in business. It’s completely wrong. Sleep has nothing to do with laziness – unless, of course, you’re napping at your desk throughout every workday!

Not getting enough sleep shouldn’t be linked to being successful. Like Arianna Huffington discusses in her new book The Sleep Revolution, I believe business leaders shouldn’t look at employees who don’t get enough sleep as being those most likely to achieve good results.

Ultimately, achieving the level of sleep that you need is better for your business than running at half-tilt. Why is it that athletes are encouraged to look after their mind and body to get the best possible results, but business leaders and their teams should survive on coffee and energy drinks?

I have never been much of a sleeper myself; I average around four hours a night but I know that this is what works for me. Having any less sleep than this leaves me groggy the following day.

Now, obviously, business owners can’t control the amount of sleep employees get outside of working hours – other than by limiting the amount of work they take home with them and reducing their stress levels while they are in the office, which; at UKFast we do this with yoga, our office gym and a number of fitness classes.

What we can do, however, is offer an alternative to employees who are – for one reason or another – experiencing a lack of sleep.

Tiredness affects memory, creativity and innovative thinking; all skills I value highly. That is one of the reasons why we’re just about to open a number of sleeping pods in our offices, located on the upper floor of our campus. A 30-minute nap at lunchtime has much greater benefits than an energy drink!

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