Taking Care of YOU So You Can Take Care of Business

A good night sleep equals a good business model.

Google the most stressful careers and event planner will come up anywhere from 3rd to 8. Apparently the only jobs more stressful are those that where the chance of being killed is the stressor like soldier or cop. To be fair though, none of those people had to face an audience of 500 guests getting angrier by the minute while an A/V tech looks helplessly at a blank computer screen where your audio visual presentation should be.

Being the problem solver you are, you find a solution to the screen issue, just like you do every other time because that’s what you do – you’re an event professional and the show must go on. But eventually the wear and tear of the immediate pressure cookers will weaken you, your immune system and your ability to perform.

Taking Care of YOU So You Can Take Care of Business

An ambitious planner logs 80-hour work weeks, surviving on five or six hours of sleep a night and eight cups of coffee (the world’s second-most widely sold commodity, after oil) a day, but if you’re not at your best, are you giving your clients the best experience?

If you’re popping Ativan to get through the evenings and mainlining coffee to get through the days, then the answer is a resounding NO. Studies repeatedly show that if you’re getting less than 7 hours a sleep a night on a consistent basis you’re not performing at your peak and neither will your business.
Staying up all night, running for days during back to back shows, eating on the run and sacrificing sleep have serious side effects for you, your health and your business. They include:

1. Accidents: The Exon Valdes spill, Three Mile Island and Chernobyl all listed lack of sleep as a major contributor. OK, that might be a little dramatic but according to the National Highway Safety Administration 100,000 auto accidents and 1550 crash related deaths were the result of lack of sleep.

2. Dumbs you down: Lack of sleep plays a critical role in thinking, learning and especially problem solving by messing with the cognitive process. It impairs your ability to think through challenges, find solutions, solve problems and effect the changes.

3. Kills your sex drive: It’s more than just being tired. Lack of sleep leads to lower levels of testosterone in men, the rise in stress related hormones in woman and a general sense of malaise. This translates into aggressiveness, lack of patience and well…… over-all cranky, which is not great for your staff or crew.

4. Depression: Studies repeatedly show that getting less than 6 hours of sleep a night leave you five time more susceptible to depression. Keep this up and it can lead to long term physical and emotional challenges

5. Premature aging: Most people have experienced
sallow skin and puffy eyes after a few nights of missed sleep. But it turns out that chronic sleep loss can lead to lackluster skin, fine lines, and dark circles under the eyes. When you don’t get enough sleep, your body releases more of the stress hormone cortisol. In excess amounts, cortisol can break down skin collagen, the protein that keeps skin smooth and elastic.

6. Poor Memory: When you need to remember all those little details your memory is going to let you down but it’s not your brains fault. Memories are transferred from one part of your brain to another while you sleep. If you’re not getting a full night, that process becomes impaired and your memory falters when you need it the most

7. Weight Gain: Recent research has focused on the link between sleep and the peptides that regulate appetite. Ghrelin stimulates hunger and leptin signals sends a message to the brain and suppresses appetite. Shortened sleep time is associated with decreases in leptin and elevations in ghrelin. Not only does sleep loss appear to stimulate appetite. It also stimulates cravings for high-fat, high-carbohydrate foods.

Though there is no known substitute for sleep, there are a few strategies you can use to help sustain performance temporarily until you can get a good night’s sleep. Obviously, executives can drink caffeine, which is the most widely used wake-promoting therapeutic in the world. Naps can be very effective at restoring performance, and if they are brief—less than a half hour—they will induce less grogginess upon awakening. Being in a novel or engaging circumstance will also help you stay alert. Exercise, standing in an upright position, and exposure to bright light are all very helpful. Human beings are amazingly sensitive to light.
When it comes to adequate sleep, it’s much more personalized than previously thought. Some people feel great on five hours of rest, while others need ten. The best way to determine if you’re getting the right amount, doctors say, is to find out how many hours of sleep you need to be able to wake up without an alarm and feel rested, refreshed, and energetic throughout the day.