I grew up in a family with eight kids. More than once, our parents would shout up the stairs, “Get to bed and get some sleep.” Once again, I am learning that my parents were correct.
Arianna Huffington, author of “The Sleep Revolution: Transforming Your Life, One Night at a Time,” is on a mission to change the world. I heard her speak at the Sales Machine conference in New York. She shared a sad but true statement: “Human beings are more concerned about making sure our cellphone batteries are charged than keeping our bodies charged!”
Many people are physically at work, but not mentally sharp or focused because of lack of sleep. An Australian study found that being awake more than 17 hours can cause cognitive impairment equal to having a blood alcohol level of .1 percent -- that means being legally drunk. (No wonder we’re not hitting sales quotas!)
Sales is a competitive business and requires energy, creativity and critical thinking skills in each conversation.
If a salesperson isn’t getting enough sleep, it’s easy to fall into the trap of working harder---not smarter.
So what can you do?
- Say “good night” to your technology. Leave your computer and smartphones in your office. Research shows that artificial light from our gadgets activates our brains and interferes with melatonin production, which plays a key role in our sleep cycles. Look around your bedroom. It probably resembles an airport, not a bedroom, with all that technology dinging and blinging.
- Pre-sleep planning. Great salespeople engage in pre-call planning, so apply those same skills to your sleeping habits. Figure out a routine that relaxes your mind. Stop trying to get by on five or six hours of sleep, and make a plan that ensures you get the necessary seven to eight hours.
Mark Bertolini, Aetna chairman and CEO, has put his money where his mouth is. He started a program last year to encourage Aetna employees to get more sleep. The company provided Fitbit fitness trackers to them. When employees proved they got 20 consecutive nights of sleep of seven hours or more, Aetna rewarded them $25 a night, up to $500 a year.
Is it paying off? Bertolini said employees have become a little more than one hour more productive each month. That math works when you have more than 47,000 people working for you.
Go to bed and increase your energy and revenues!