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#642: One More Hour of Sleep

Posted By Mark Haas CMC FIMC, Tuesday, August 30, 2011
Updated: Tuesday, August 30, 2011
We have been hearing a lot about how, as a nation, we don't get enough sleep and the impact it has on our health. Given that the consultant lifestyle is sometimes not conducive to regular sleep patterns, what else should I know about this?

Your point about the consultant lifestyle is well taken. A trip home on the red eye last week, a late night preparing for a presentation this week, a stressful event next week. Although in many cases we manage our sleep, there are plenty of times that we sacrifice sleep for our job.

What's the latest research on the impact of irregular or insufficient sleep? Decreased learning, weight gain, disruption of deep sleep, reduced reaction times, fatigue, irritability, loss of memory, lower productivity, increased anxiety, lower resistance to illness, . . . get the point? Would you hire a consultant with those attributes? Whether not enough enough sleep or irregular schedules, we should take even a bit of sleep deprivation seriously.

Several sleep management techniques are important for the consultant. For example, we now know the improvement in learning effectiveness from a good night's sleep right after learning new material. So, follow up your review of client presentation material or research data by getting to bed early for a full night's sleep. What sounds like common sense is now backed up by solid research. Take a bit of time to better understand where you can improve the quality and regularity of your sleep.

Tip: Manage your sleep just as you do other resources necessary for a successful business (e.g., cash flow, intellectual property).

© 2011 Institute of Management Consultants USA

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