It's 11 pm. Do you know where your power button is?

I blame this post on our dog. In her blissfully ignorant world, she doesn't care that yesterday was a long day and that today appears to be heading in the same direction. She isn't involved in preparing next year's budget that will require several presentations to the executive and board. She has no clue how busy and important I am.

She does however know that her food dish was empty at 6:00 this morning, and that if she had thumbs, she could probably have let herself out. But the only tool she has is a well practiced whimper that for some reason, I am the only one in our house who actually hears it.

So I had time to think this morning while waiting for the dog to do her business. "Why am I always so tired in the morning?" I found myself thinking. Technically, I have enough hours in bed, but am not rested. I then remembered some recent books and articles on why I need to build good sleep into my life if I want to achieve optimal performance as an IT leader. So yes, there is a link to this week's topic...on strategy.

A recent tweet pointed to a CNN Health article that states Sleep deprivation as bad as alcohol impairment, study suggests. While the study was done over 10 years ago, the concept is worth considering. While you don't do the liquid lunches like Mad Men, you are potentially just as impaired in your thinking and judgement as if you were.

Supporting this is a most excellent book by Dr. John Medina - Brain Rules - 12 Principles for Surviving and Thriving at Work, Home, and School. Dr. Medina is a brain researcher, not a reporter, but somehow missed the class where they teach medical researchers to obfuscate their writing so that NOBODY understands them. His web site does way more than try to sell you books. On it you'll find great resources, including genuinely funny videos supporting the concepts in his book. If you think your brain shuts off at night while you sleep, you are dreaming (sorry, couldn't help myself). There are a number of restorative things your brain needs to do, and can only do that in the sleep cycle.

Support for getting a good night's sleep is coming from another unlikely source - Arianna Huffington, co-founder of the Huffington Post. She is the quintessential self made person, and has way more things going on than I ever would. Her efforts are paying off - AOL just bought out the Huffington Post for several million dollars. But in the midst of this, she advocates great sleep, taking naps, and getting your work and life into the proper perspective.

"OK!, so I get it!" I tell my sleepy brain while I turn on my phone to check messages. Then it clicked. (An idea, not the phone.) This little device, or the iPad, or the television news, or the [insert other device] is practically always on during my waking time, right up to the point where I set the alarm clock function to go to sleep. Sound familiar? I never get away from these things. I tell my team not to respond to emails I send off in the evening, but am guilty as hell of doing it myself. Some of the timestamps on my emails are long after 11pm.

One more article... LifeHacker website recently posted an article Ban Portable Electronics Before Bed for More Restful Sleep Here is some excerpts from the story:
But staring at the screen before bed could leave you lying awake. That's because direct exposure to such abnormal light sources inhibits the body's secretion of melatonin, say several sleep experts. [...]

Light-emitting devices, including cellphones and yep, the iPad, tell the brain to stay alert. Because users hold those devices so close to their face, staring directly into the light, the effect is amplified compared with, say, a TV across the room or a bedside lamp, said Frisca Yan-Go, director of the UCLA Sleep Disorders Center in Santa Monica.
So... today's strategy post is all about getting a good night's sleep so that you are fully able to slay the dragons during the day. Turn off the technology at night! You'll be a better leader, a better employee, and a better person.

Now if I could just train the dog to read this article so she'll leave me alone tomorrow morning.

Note: This post appeared as one of my entries in BloggingIdol contest.


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