Sleep Deficit: The Performance Killer by Charles A. Czeisler (Professor of Sleep Medicine at Harvard Medical School) explains how sleep deprivation undermines high performance. He likens sleep deficit to drinking too much alcohol, explaining that pulling an all-nighter (i.e. going twenty-four hours without sleep) or having a week of sleeping just four or five hours a night actually “induces impairment equivalent to a blood alcohol level of 0.1% Think about this: we would never say, ‘This person is a great worker! He’s drunk all the time!’ yet we continue to celebrate people who sacrifice sleep for work” (97-98).
While sleep is often associated with giving rest to the body, recent research shows that sleep is really more about the brain. Indeed, a study from the Lubbock University in Germany provides evidence that a full night’s sleep may actually increase brain power and enhance our problem-solving ability (98).
Truth be told, I am not as mindful of the discipline of sleep as I am other disciplines (e.g. Bible reading, finances, devotional time w/my kids, prayer, etc.). And though I don’t have any quantifiable evidence that my lack of sleep contributed to a poor decision or a dropped-ball, I am certain that there have been many instances that a full night of rest would have served my family, leadership team, and church well.
How are you doing with the discipline of sleep?