Falling Behind at Work? The Solution May Be Simple

An exploration of the relationship between rest and success. Plus, four ways to embrace sleep and boost productivity in the workplace.

By Emily Hughes

There’s a common misconception that success can’t come without exhaustion. Approximately half of all CEOs get less than six hours of sleep each night; early stage startup founders sleep even less. As entrepreneurism grows, founders are expected to delay appropriate sleep habits until their companies are successful, a modern version of the “I’ll sleep when I’m dead” adage.

The rest of us are glorifying these behaviors. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, more than one-third of American adults are not getting the recommended seven hours of sleep per night. These poor habits are associated with “increased chronic conditions such as obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, and frequent mental distress.” They also impair brain function; neuroscientists from the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine found that “sleep deficiencies undermine important forms of leadership and eventually hurt financial performance.”

Luckily for our health, and that of our company’s, there are signs that things are shifting. Experts increasingly publicize the positive relationship between adequate sleep and performance. Arianna Huffington declared sleep deprivation the new smoking, published two books on the topic, and created Thrive Global to combat burnout. Self-care has become a societal obsession, with people investing twice as much on skincare, nutrition supplements, life coaches, meditation apps, and workout regimens as ever before.

No more worshipping the hustle and grind. A well-rested founder will ultimately be more successful. Below, find five tips to help you embrace sleep and boost productivity in the workplace.

1. Create the ideal environment by keeping the room cool and investing in bedding that’s conducive to rest.

We’re obsessed with Brooklinen’s Extended Linen Collection (now available in Pomegranate and Forest). Brooklinen is a luxury, direct-to-consumer home essentials company founded in 2014 by Vicki Fulop and her husband Rich. They put quality and accessibility at the center of their business and have received more than 40,000 five-star reviews online as a result. Use code HELM15 for 15% off a $50+ purchase.

Linen Hardcore Bundle in Pomegranate

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Linen Hardcore Bundle in Pomegranate

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Linen Core Set in Pomegranate

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Linen Pillowcases in Pomegranate

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Linen Hardcore Bundle in Forest

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Linen Core Set in Forest

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2. Start a bedtime ritual. Take a warm bath and drink some caffeine-free tea. Your body cools down after each activity, triggering the brain to induce sleep.

3. Deal with your stress. Make time for meditation or indulge in calming aromatherapy. Your mind will thank you.

4. Unplug and wind down. No scrolling social feeds, no checking email. Pick up one of these titles from incredible female authors instead.

Severance – Ling Ma

Severance – Ling Ma

Amazon, $10.98

Shop now

Normal People – Sally Rooney

Normal People – Sally Rooney

Amazon, $10.40

Shop now

Outline – Rachel Cusk

Outline – Rachel Cusk

Amazon, $15.30

Shop now

The Great Believers – Rebecca Makkai

The Great Believers – Rebecca Makkai

Amazon, $11.38

Shop now

Good Talk – Mira Jacob

Good Talk – Mira Jacob

Amazon, $19.49

Shop now

Walking on the Ceiling – Ayşegül Savaş

Walking on the Ceiling – Ayşegül Savaş

Amazon, $11.74

Shop now

Every product we feature has been independently selected and reviewed by our editorial team. If you make a purchase through one of our links, The Helm may earn a commission.

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