Beatrix A Schmidt | Sleep coach, speaker and author of The Sleep Deep Method.
According to various recent research and survey results, in the UK alone approximately 1 in 3 people struggle with insomnia or other sleep issues.
Why should you care?
At first glance, you might think that poor sleep is an issue for the employee to address at home.
But the knock-on effect of sleep deprivation carries over into the workplace every single day, reducing productivity and decreasing employee engagement.
Mental health and the quality of a person’s sleep are very closely linked.
Lack of quality sleep is also linked to a wide range of cognitive and physiological impairments. From increased stress levels, mental health issues, decreased working memory capacity, and inability to focus on tasks, to increased risk of heart disease and elevated blood pressure – the list is ever-growing.
Sleep issues and the related tiredness during the day eventually leads to individuals failing to function well during the working day, and in their free time. It is a quite simple chain of events that happens for so many employees in today’s busy and demanding society.
The term ‘burnout’ is heard more and more around the corridors of companies everywhere.
The root of this problem stems in tiredness and manifests as a loss of motivation, resilience, and sometimes the onset of depression.
Burnout is avoidable with the right wellness strategy in place.
When loyal and hardworking employees get the support they need to balance their work with their health, they avoid more serious health concerns being triggered.
In turn, the organization experiences better talent retention rates, increased work performance, reduced absenteeism and better teamwork to name a few things.
These are results I have seen repeatedly from working on wellness strategies with organizations and individuals over the years. From CEOs and senior management to support staff; people from all walks of life benefit from healthier sleep at night.
Genuinely restorative sleep helps them with their emotional stability, intellectual capacity, occupational drive as well as their physical health.
If you would like to find out more about corporate sleep workshops and in-house sleep coaching for your employees, get in touch by sending me a LinkedIn message or an e-mail.
Katie Maycock | Anxiety and Digestive Health Specialist
are times when stress can benefit you in the workplace. There are times when
stress will limit you. There are times when stress will destroy you.
I do a lot of corporate
talks. There is always a divide whether stress is good or bad for you.
Here’s what I know.
I’m absolutely a believer that stress can play a role in business. For instance, attending to customer needs and driving towards goals and targets.
It can also feel great.
It can drive motivation for a lot of people. It plays a role in concentration
If stress is managed
correctly, it can be used as a tool!
1) Increasing How Alert You Are.
True story. When you are in times of acute stress, you are more alert. Now, why is this important? Because when you are more alert, you are able to focus and concentration at higher levels. This alertness allows you to function at your mental peak.
2) Increasing Mental Performance.
with me on this one.
I want you to think back to a time where you were studying for an exam or test. A time when you had to hit a target or deadline. That stress increases how alert you are, which increases your mental performance. Mental performance is incredibly important for success. Being able to think clearly and accurately is going to lead to more success.
3) Increase In Energy
increases your energy! This increase in energy can help you work harder, faster
and longer. Becoming more productive.
However, sometimes we
need that extra energy to be able to achieve our goals and targets.
Not only can it help with increasing energy and endurance at work, but it can also help with our physical activity. This is because of the adrenaline and cortisol that is produced by during stress.
Note: For all you high achievers and Type A Professionals, continue reading. This isn’t permission to keep burning the candle at both ends.
4) Increase Memory
know, I know, I have harped on (and will mention later in this blog) how stress
However, there are times
when stress can increase memory. This can be hypothesised due to an increase in
alertness and becoming more aware. Or even if the acute stress is changing the
development of brain cells.
However, recent studies
have been able to show an increase in memory after a period of acute
Being able to tap into
“good” stress and harnessing it, will definitely help you become
However, there is definitely a dark side to it.
Stress is not a limitless pool you can use to drive you forward every day. Like any resource, it has to be used appropriately. Otherwise, it will hinder you.
Stress increases a sense of urgency. If used correctly, it can be a very beneficial tool.
Put into context, if one
of your clients or customers has an issue, clearly, time is of the essence. A
sense of urgency can lead to a speedy resolution. Which is important!
However, if used
incorrectly, it will really limit your success.
1) Making Appropriate Decisions
can all agree, making decisions is a part of everyday life, not just running a
Making appropriate and
clearly thought out decisions, just as important. Especially when you are
running a business. It means you can solve problems quickly. You prevent the
possibility of mistakes and it realistically it can save time in the long
If you’re stressed or
have a feeling of a sense of urgency, this can be difficult. You’re more likely
to make to rash and knee jerk decisions. Which may lead more hassle in the long
Otherwise, if you have
been stressed for a while and your stress has turned into anxiety, it could
potentially leave you unable to make a decision at all.
Not making a decision is
just as bad (if not worse) than making a rash decision.
Either way, you’re limiting yourself.
2) Making Frequent Mistakes
lot of the time, when we are stressed, we are rushing. Whether that’s reading
an email, going to a meeting or simple having a call with someone.
If we feel rushed, we
are more than likely going to miss details.
How many times have you
skim read or not proofread an email and sent it realising that there are typos?
Or sent an email to the wrong person?
Yeah, mistakes are never
Usually when we are
stress and rushing our attention to detail is limited.
There is a simple
Slow down, read that
email properly, pay attention in meetings and remain focused. Don’t think about
the twenty things you need to do. Stay in the moment.
Making mistakes is wasting your time. It could also be wasting your customers or clients time.
It also reduces credibility.
3) Damaging Relationships
want to put this into context.
Think about a time when
you felt as though someone hadn’t listened to you.
A time when someone
didn’t hear you and responded inappropriately.
How did it make you
feel? Did you feel heard? Did you feel important?
I’m going to take a stab
in the dark and say no.
When clients, customers,
manager or employees feel that way, they aren’t going to stick around.
If employees don’t feel
heard, they will feel under-valued and leave.
If your manager feels as
though you can take direction or listen, you may miss out on growth within that
If your customer or clients don’t feel heard they will take their business elsewhere.
There is absolutely an ugly side to stress.
Stress is damaging to
the body. It doesn’t just limit you in regards to success, it also limits you
Three significant ways it is damaging you:
1) Increasing Your Likelihood Of Burnout
have spoken about this at lengths. However, it really does increase your
likelihood of burning out.
For a lot of people who
have burnt out, a lot of them will say it started off as a positive. Which then
turned into a very detrimental negative.
Burnout isn’t easy to
overcome. It takes time, its something that changes the way you work and
Preventing burnout is the best way. Seriously, don’t think it can’t happen to you. Waiting until you drop down from burnout is not very practical.
2) Increasing Digestive Issues
you are increasing the likelihood of developing IBS, allergies, intolerances or
even worse an auto-immune disease.
Having prolonged stress
has an immense effect on the way the human body digests food. It limits the
blood flow to the digest tract, reducing the way we absorb nutrients and
increasing inflammation in the gut.
Fun fact: 70-80% of your immunity is linked to your gut.
3) Increasing The Likelihood Of Lifestyle Disease
as diabetes, high cholesterol, cardiovascular disease, obesity and the list
inflammation throughout the body, which then increases the likelihood of
Stress can be a vicious cycle on health, if not managed.
What can you do?
The first step is to admit that you are in fact stressed. A lot of people don’t realize they’re stressed. Or they perceive stress in a different way that leaves them living in denial. Never a good place to be.
The second step, look at
how you work. Do you constantly work under a sense of urgency or agitation? Ask
yourself, is this a good time to have a sense of urgency? Become more aware of
appropriate and inappropriate times to work from that space. For instance, skim
reading an email or rushing through a call to get to the next task, may not be
the right time to have a sense of urgency.
The third step, start
looking for tools and techniques that you can implement every day. If
meditation doesn’t feel right, don’t force it. Go to the gym instead, go for a
walk. Even taking a moment to step outside is beneficial.
Not all tools and
techniques are created equally. Find what works for you and utilise them.
For more blog and videos on burnout, stress and health and
wellbeing in the workplace, head over to my website.
If you want to reach out
and see how I can help you or your organisation, reach out.
Katie Maycock | Anxiety and Digestive Health Specialist
Burnout is something that changed the way I work, relax, exercise, eat, drink… It has changed nearly every aspect of my life.
Burnout is becoming more common within the workplace. A
new Gallup report mentioned that 2/3 of employees have felt burnt out.
That’s ridiculous. Not only that, it’s frightening.
For a lot of people, burnout is not at the forefront of
their minds until they are in fact burnt out. This is why I am here, to help
anyone that maybe walking (or sprinting) down the path to burnout.
Here my Five Things I wish I Knew Before Burning Out.
1) You Can’t Sprint A Marathon.
That’s right my friends. You absolutely cannot sprint a
Trust me I tried (figuratively… Not literally).
Goals, deadlines and targets is not a sprinting race. The
more people I speak to, the more I realise the sense of urgency is taking over.
This is creating situations where people feel pressured to
rush absolutely everything. Quantity over quality is now the reality for many
It doesn’t have to be that way. It also doesn’t equate
success a lot of the time.
Setting goals, targets and deadlines can be achieved at a moderate (dare I say, calm) pace. You don’t have to be a bull at the gates. In fact, you’re more likely to be more successful when you, in fact, slow down! True story.
2) Slowing Down Is Not A Sign Of Weakness.
This is a follow on from You Can’t Sprint A Marathon,
however, with a little twist.
I remember thinking that if I slowed down for whatever
reason I would not be successful. I saw it as a weakness. How wrong I was.
This is common practice for a lot of high achievers and
Slowing down can feel counterproductive. However, slowing down doesn’t mean stopping. That’s the part a lot of people miss. I definitely did. For a lot of top performers and high achievers, they have the “all or nothing” mentality. So it can be seen as though slowing down is stopping. However, slowing down can give you a better perspective. It gives you the ability to refine your skills and re-think how to do things. It creates a space for reflection, bringing you closer to success.
3) Celebrate Your Wins.
This is HUGE for any high achievers or top performers.
It’s okay to celebrate your wins. I remember NEVER and I mean NEVER celebrating
I didn’t take the time to reflect on how well I had done
or how well I was doing. I was crazy, I just wanted to be doing more. It was as
though I would tick the achievement off and move onto the next thing. Without a
breath. Thinking back, that is an exhausting mindset.
This is not a good place to be. Celebrating your wins is really important. It provides space to not just BE successful but to FEEL successful. Very different. Otherwise, you end up feeling empty and chasing goals that have zero meaning or purpose.
4) “No Rest Days” Makes ZERO Sense.
“No rest day’s” and being proud of it grinds my
gears. Probably because I believed this for a very long time and ended up
severely burnout and disgruntled.
There are a lot of business owners and motivational
speakers who talk about grinding every second of every minute of every single
day to be successful.
This does not make sense. We are humans, not
We need rest to not only regain physical strength but also
to regain mental fortitude. We do not have a limitless pool of energy and
resources that we can tap into without replenishing it.
That’s plain crazy to think that. Rest is just as important as the work you put in.
5) Listen To Your Body.
Our bodies will tell us when we’re not coping. All we have
to do is listen.
Simple right? Not so simple if you have tunnel vision.
This is something a lot of high achievers and top
performers learn the hard way.
Being fatigued, tired, grumpy or becoming sick is our
bodies way of saying “hey, I would really like some rest please”. It’s not the
signal to work harder.
Most people that end up burnt out, get those little
reminders but choose to ignore them. Why? Because they can’t see the long term
damage. They don’t see those little reminders as a sign that something much
worse is on its way.
Not listening to those gentle reminders will lead you to
My advice, listen to your body it does know best! If it’s
telling you to take a step back and take a little rest, do it. If you need the
afternoon off, take it. If you need to switch off your phone, do it!
They are the Five Things I Wish I Knew Before I Succumbed
I hope this helps all those top performers and high
achievers. If you’re a manager that has someone in your team that has those
traits, come up with an action plan to help them.
It may sound counterintuitive, however, doing so can
prevent your top performer being signed off work or even worse, having to quit.
any of this rings true to you and you don’t know how to re-direct that
mentality, let’s connect. Or
check out my website for more blogs and videos.
Does your organization have the conditions to share knowledge freely? Does the culture of innovation flow in your organization? What about group identity, it is strong? This week’s BLOG focuses on the impact of Authentic Leadership on knowledge sharing in an organization.
The article is brought to you by, Edú-Valsania, Sergio; Moriano, Juan Antonio; Molero, Fernando, and the title is Authentic leadership and employee knowledge sharing behavior: Mediation of the innovation climate and workgroup identification in Leadership & Organizational Development (2016).
These authors explore the impact of an Authentic Leadership on creating the conditions for knowledge sharing in an organization. Additionally, they are curious whether Authentic Leadership is an important factor for knowledge sharing when an innovative climate and workgroup identity are present in the organization.
The authors had a great sample of 562 Spanish workers. This is a nice size sample. The Spanish sample is influenced by their culture differently than a typical English speaking sample. For example, Hispanic cultures are more collectivist in nature. Meaning they are more likely to feel pressure to fit in with the larger group and thus adjust the behavior to not be the square peg in a round hole. Whereas, in the U.S., they are more individualistic, and are taught that competition is more important than collaboration. Resulting in individuals focused on those closest to them. The reason that this is important is that it can have an unintended impact on the group identity and thus, mute the heighten the impact in this particular sample.
The authors did a simple multiple regression analysis, where they evaluate all the concepts at once to see how Authentic Leadership impacts innovation, group identity, and knowledge sharing. Essentially a series of ‘if-then’ statements.
The results are pretty straightforward. They find that if a leader is perceived as authentic, then knowledge sharing increases in the organization. When they factor in the impact of innovative climate, knowledge sharing is flowing at an even higher rate. In fact, an innovative climate is so important for knowledge sharing that it almost made the presence of Authentic Leadership not a factor for knowledge sharing to occur.
The impact of workgroup identity was less relevant in creating a knowledge sharing environment. It had an impact, but Authentic Leadership also plays an important part in the process of sharing information.
WHAT DOES THIS MEAN:
Well, rocket scientist, we need not! Sharing knowledge is a fundamental building block inside an organization that creates the conditions for growth, collaboration, and a healthy corporate culture. This study, at least in a Spanish context, indicates that employees’ perceptions of their leader’s matter. Specifically, whether the leader behaves in an authentic manner. In terms of knowledge sharing, the authentic the leader the more information is shared. The more innovative the climate, more information is shared, and the stronger the group identity, you guessed it, the more information is shared.
HOW CAN YOU USE THIS BIT OF INFORMATION:
The idea of knowledge sharing is not new. Often we work in highly competitive environments where we feel that any bit of information you have is owned by you and is instantly put into a vault. You feel that it may give you a competitive advantage or make you indispensable. Thus, partaking in a form of knowledge hoarding. However, this is just stupid. This philosophy is coming from a weak and fragile perspective that is completely Machiavellian and shortsighted. many leaders ignore the concept of the wisdom of the crowds as a key mechanism for creating a healthy vibrant work environment.
So, what do you do with this bit of information? As a leader, you can set the tone by encouraging sharing. I often say to one of my four kids, ‘sharing is caring’, so give it a go. Another way is to create more space for curiosity meetings. These are meetings where you or someone on your team share something they are curious about in the business or beyond. Could you create more space in the organization for having each person on your team go off an learn new skills that are transferable to others on the team? Finally, engage in any activities that allow the trust to build through the process of knowledge sharing.
Remember you spend on average 84,000 hours at work in a lifetime….that is a lot of time perhaps not being the best version of yourself.
Sleep coach, speaker and author of The Sleep Deep Method.
Insomnia and other sleep problems can affect any of us, and are becoming increasingly common among busy professionals. Excluding those with an underlying medical condition, many of us simply need a better understanding of their individual sleep problem in order to find the right, natural method for overcoming it.. When you know what makes you tick, you can pick better from the vast amount of tips out there, many of which are quite general.
Tip 1 – Personalise rather than generalise
The key here is
to figure out the root cause of your insomnia. So not taking advice based on somebody else’s problem, but
on the combination of factors that are personal to you.
Many people look up general tips, ignoring fundamental things like their personality type, their lifestyle, working hours and so on. Even the tips I give you need to be personalised for your unique set of circumstances.
Tip 2 – Focus on your main ‘pillar of sleep’
There are four
pillars of sleep, and when you know what they are, this gives much more context
to the situation. More than one pillar
will be playing a role in your sleep problems, but begin by just picking what
you believe to be your main one to focus on.
Knowing which of these four pillars to focus on first will lead you to
the most relevant tools for your unique situation faster. In short, you will feel the benefits of your
efforts much sooner.
Watch the short video below to hear about the four pillars, and without thinking too much, go with your gut and focus on tips for the pillar that most resonates with you.
Tip 3 – Build non-negotiable good routines into your life
which pillar of sleep you are now focusing on, you will need to design yourself
a good routine around that area.
For example, if you are eating dinner late at night and falling asleep on the sofa before you get to bed, that’s a bad routine. Start noticing what you are doing, and change it up for a good routine – like getting ready for bed before you find yourself falling asleep in the wrong place.
For more ideas, watch my short video below.
Tip 4 – Don’t give up
I’ve heard so may people say that they can’t beat their insomnia, and that’s just not the
case. It’s not that you can’t improve your
sleep skills, it’s more likely that you haven’t found the right practical tools for
This is one of
the reasons I put together a free guide, 28
Ways to Overcome Insomnia Naturally, which you can register for a
free copy of here.
So think about why overcoming insomnia or sleep problems matters to you, and use that as motivation to keep trying. You don’t have to accept bad sleep and under-productive daytimes. Looking at your life through the four pillars of sleep, you can find the major issues for you, and work on turning those around so that ultimately, the better-rested you can enjoy life more.
How many of us wake up each morning rushing? There always
seems to be so much to get done before leaving the house. Often our mornings
feel so short in time, we have just enough time to grab a coffee, get ready and
rush out of the door to head to work, drop the kids to school or fulfil any
other responsibilities we may have. Then there is the worry of traffic, the
delayed trains or the overpacked tubes.
The feeling and sense of being time constrained can lead to
stress, frustration and starting the day with a less than optimal mindset. You
may have heard of the phrase “early to bed, early to rise, makes a man healthy,
wealthy and wise”…I remember my mum used to say this to me when I was
The times when we rise, and sleep can have a huge impact on
the way our day progresses and how effective we can be. There is a great deal
of research on this topic and many famous faces have been known to rise early
to make the most of the quietude of the morning hours and sow the seeds for the
day ahead. The benefits range from increased productivity, better sleep,
reduction in procrastination all the way through to becoming more successful.
I recently finished reading “The 5am Club” by Robin Sharma
and it has inspired me to write about this topic in greater detail. I have always
been an early riser (not quite 5AM) where I like to take my time, to reflect,
do my own thing before my time becomes part of the rest of the world. I take my
time to have my breakfast, I meditate, and I really like to have a chilled-out
morning routine so that I am not impacted by the uncontrolled events of the
day; my routine has already placed me into a positive mindset before I leave
Studies are showing that an effective morning routine can result
in the creation of a life where we thrive, flourish and grow.
From a personal perspective, my grandparents are in their
late 80s and they wake early each day, they meditate, they exercise and eat a
great diet. Research of the blue zones (Sardinia, Okinawa, Loma Linda, Nicoya
Peninsula and Ikaria), where the most centenaries live have found that they
have routines which support their lifestyle and great health. One of the
practices adopted is rising early.
The effective morning routine is more than simply rising early, there are steps which can be taken to sow the seeds for a day which is positive, productive and prepared. Here are some examples of things which can be done during these special morning hours:
Meditating & Intention Setting – giving the mind, body and soul the gap to become still and self-connect
Reflecting – appreciating the things in life and identifying with the things you’re grateful for
Journaling – writing your thoughts, ideas, dreams and desires
Exercising – kick-starting the mind and body though aerobic exercise and stretching
Nourishing the body and mind – consuming wholesome and nutritious foods and drinks to boost the mind and body
Reading – absorbing new knowledge or reading an inspirational book to grow the mind
Doing something you love – using the time to do something you love, from watching the sunrise to listening to a piece of music
Noticing the small things – in quietude, the outside sounds become more prominent, notice the singing of the birds, the smell of the air to the sound of your breath
Rising at 5am can seem like a daunting thing to do, there are baby steps which can be taken to support you in creating a morning routine.
Sleeping and waking routing
Creating a routine which will support early rising involves,
going to bed slightly earlier than usual and setting the alarm to wake slightly
earlier than usual. As you get comfortable and used to the new routine, start
to wake-up earlier.
Plan things the night before
There may be some activities which you can prepare and plan the night before, for example, preparing clothes, making lunches and getting ingredients ready for breakfast. If you plan to exercise in the morning, have your clothes and shoes ready to go. Set the alarm clock.
What motivates you
Set your mind on why you want to do this and how it will benefit your life. Once you know the “why” this will motivate and inspire you to take action.
Be patient with yourself
Creating a new life pattern is trial and error, so if at
first you do not stick to the routine, use the next day as another opportunity.
By preserving and seeing the benefits first hand, we will work towards this
goal of rising early.
Monica Mahi Mathijs is the CEO and Founder of
Our Stillness and Firefly Today. She is also a seasoned change agent, working
on various projects across industries.