neurocare group Founder & Executive Chairman, Thomas Mechtersheimer explains the fundamental role of sleep for people in high performance roles.
Medical experts push exercise and a good diet as key to maintaining our health. And we know it and feel bad if we don’t heed their advice. What is discussed less, is that high performing people like athletes, leaders or indeed especially entrepreneurs not only stress their bodies but also their minds and that sleep is a vastly underestimated key to maintaining good cognitive performance and resilience.
First the science: Quality sleep is necessary, restorative, and promotes muscle recovery and energy replenishment (Bonnar et al. 2018). Sleep helps brain cells "re-set" (Vyazovsky et al. 2011) and clears toxic waste (Xie et al. 2013). It helps us remember new information (Stickgold, 2005) and optimize next-day performance (Belenky et al. 2003). Poor sleep is annually responsible for 1.23 million missed work days, costing an estimated at $411 Billion (Rand Europe, 2017). An estimated 1.5 million Australian (8.9% of the population) have a sleep disorder (see the Deloitte Access Economics findings).
People often think sleep disorders are a symptom of anxiety / depression, but the studies show insomnia is more likely to cause symptoms of depression than the other way around. We also know that people who sleep less than the required 7 to 8 hours often don’t notice that their energy and cognitive performance is lower, which means sleep issues are more common than you think !
Leaders and entrepreneurs are forced to be an expert / decider / stress diffuser all day. Moreover, entrepreneurs are carrying the full weight of “being the person where the buck stops” (and literally with their own money..). All of which are serious mental stress factors preventing people from proper sleep and need to be taken much more seriously.
The leading scientists who work with us at neurocare point to “Sleep Hygiene” as the key to mental resilience and warn that sleeping pills are NOT the solution. Drugs often produce next-day drowsiness, can lead to non-restorative sleep, and be addictive. Knowing about the importance of UV light and your circadian rhythm for better sleep and lifestyle decisions is much more efficacious and form part of our sleep hygiene programs.
Next to sleep hygiene, we recommend Neurofeedback training to people with sleep disorders or to high performers who want to improve their cognitive performance and resilience. Through our personalised methods we achieve above 70% response rates. Our protocols are proven to improve sleep onset and quality. Neurofeedback has also been scientifically proven to improve symptoms of ADHD such as focus and concentration and hence is used in peak performance training to improve competition readiness and focus in a measurable and sustainable way – much beyond the “feel good only” factor people get from doing Yoga or Meditation. And all that without medication but with lasting impacts.