Time Management and Healthy Eating: Practical Habits For Professionals: Why Sleep Is Important

Why Sleep Is Important… And How To Get It.

Sleep is one of those things many of us sacrifice; yet sleep is critical for us to stay sharp and for our bodies and minds to repair our physical, mental and emotional wellbeing.

About 2% of us need less than 8 hours sleep each day for optimal performance… so chances are you’re with me in the 98% group.

This blog is part two of a three-part collaborative series in which you get two trainers/coaches and public speakers for the price of one. Click HERE for part 1 on Energizing Your Mornings. In this blog I’ll continue sharing some of my favourite habits that have helped my clients be more productive; specific to this post is ‘Why Sleep Is Important’. Meanwhile, James R. Elliot, who is a holistic nutritionist, health transformation coach shares ‘How and what to eat at night to promote a great sleep.’

How Far Can We Push Ourselves Before We Break?Screen Shot 2014-09-14 at 10.14.23 AM

Like most things, our bodies AND minds will allow us to compromise our sleep/repair cycle for a short while… but eventually they need to be cared for.

While some pressure helps us reach new goals, the constant pressure many of us are under… or put our staff under is not beneficial, especially when we are chronically fatigued. Chronic fatigue is a major reason why our society is seeing epidemic numbers of:

  • Unhappy, anxious employees
  • Unhappy partners / parents
  • Weigh/physical health issues
  • Burn-out
  • Depression
  • Workplace Absenteeism / disengagement
  • Increased social costs
  • Increased insurance costs
  • More pressure being put on partners and / or co-workers

Why Your Brain Needs More Downtime

When we get 8 hours sleep we’re able to be more creative and strategic the next day. In the morning we are also much less irritable and short-tempered (all good for a productive career).

And yet most business people, police officers, construction workers, stay-home parents, students of all ages are pushing themselves – perhaps beyond their long-term capacity.

Rest Improves Memory

A recent study mentioned online in Scientific American states that Memory Improves with Sleep.

In addition, Mary Helen Immordino-Yang of the University of Southern California and her co-authors believe that when we sleep our brains are still at work – but working on good things like sorting through the pervious day’s experiences and problems. For example – have you ever woken with the perfect answer to a challenge you were struggling with the previous day?

James R. Elliot’s Tip: How To Get More Sleep

At least an hour before bedtime, start winding down, turn off electronics, go for a walk, read a book, or even have a conversation with someone. Or, do something constructive yet relaxing, such as an art or craft. TV/Video/Computers keep you wired up, so you can’t sleep.

Most millionaires and billionaires get on average 8 hours sleep a night.

In terms of eating, eat a balanced dinner – which includes a vegetable, a protein (chicken, fish, turkey, etc.), and a healthy fat (i.e. olive oil dressing on your veggies/salad, an avocado, olives, etc). This will give your body everything it needs to repair and regenerate from the day. It will also help prevent sugar/carbohydrate cravings late at night, which if you indulge, will often keep you up or wake you during the night. Often a high-carbohydrate dinner, like a plate of pasta with nothing else, will often make you hungry or have sweet cravings an hour or so later.

If you do feel yourself getting a bit hungry later in the evening, eat something small. Going to bed hungry may keep you up, or wake you up in the middle of the night! People are often afraid of eating in the evening due to weight concerns, but as long as it is something light, (like something I have suggested below), it’s actually beneficial. Especially if it keeps you from waking up.

Healthy evening snack options include a small bowl of oatmeal, an egg, a low sugar/low carb protein and greens shake (I like LOVE by Purium!), or a small handful of almonds. Avoid caffeine, starchy carbohydrates, junk food, or fruit as they may keep you awake. Also, try to have your evening snack at least an hour and a half before bedtime to let your blood sugar levels return to normal.


If you work all day, don’t work at night – after a full day of work, decisions, stresses and reports, our brains need a break – too many of us are constantly preoccupied with work all day… and all night… and that impacts our ability to sleep, rest and repair our body and mind.

Although it takes effort to implement healthy lifestyle habits for yourself and/or for the people on your team, the return on investment is tremendous.

Our bodies and our minds need rest to be at our best.

Visit the first blog post in this series by clicking below:
#I:  Time Management and Healthy Eating: Practical Habits For Professionals: Energize Your Mornings

Visit the third blog post in this series by clicking below:
#III:  Time Management and Healthy Eating: Avoiding The Afternoon Slump

Happy Communicating, Time Management, Success and Health. 

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Bruce Mayhew Consulting facilitates courses including Email Etiquette, Managing Difficult Conversations, Multigenerational Training, Time Management and Mindfulness.

Find answers to your Professional Development questions / needs at brucemayhewconsulting.com.

Give us a call at 416 617 0462. We’ll listen.

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I’d enjoy reading your comments on this post.

About Bruce Mayhew
Bruce Mayhew is a Leadership Coach, Keynote Speaker and Corporate Trainer who builds strong client and co-worker relationships that give clients a competitive advantage. Our training and development programs include: ■Generational Differences ■Effective Business Email Writing ■Email Etiquette ■Phone Etiquette ■Behaviour Event Interviewing (BEI) ■Mindfulness ■Using Linkedin to Build Client Relationships ■Objective Setting Made Easy

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