Work Wiser #9: Sleep Your Way to Project Success

Hello, my name is Wan How. I’m a career and project management coach. After a dismal record of only one gold medal in 76 years, British cyclists finally won seven gold medals in the Beijing Olympics in 2008 and followed that with another seven gold medals in the London Olympics in 2012.

How did they do that? Well, they applied a mindset of continuous improvement to get marginal gains of 1% in performance. One of those improvements was in the area of sleep. To do that, they brought their own pillows and mattresses to every venue so that the athletes could sleep in the same posture every night.

On a side note, even the Queen doesn’t travel with her own mattress or pillows. She does get royal bed sheets that are ironed for an hour.

As a project manager, you may not be aiming for Olympic gold, but chances are you’ll take any project performance improvement you can get. The health of your project is bound up with your health. To get a good night’s sleep, you need to plan and prepare for it every day. If sleep is not a problem for you, you can stop watching right now. But for me I’ve struggled with sleep for decades.

So here’s a starter checklist on how to prepare a better sleep routine. For many years, I’ve been drinking five cups of coffee a day just to get keep me going through the the day and then I wonder why I don’t sleep so well. I’ve since wisen up and only drink two cups of coffee before lunch and I drink decaf after.

The blue light from screens signals our brain that is still daytime and messes with our circadian rhythms. So configure your devices to turn to night light settings and eliminate that blue light so it becomes more yellowish at sunset. For instructions on how to do this, just Google “How to turn on night light settings” for your specific device. Better still, stop watching the screens an hour before going to bed.

Finally consider adopting a relaxing yoga posture or meditation routine before going to bed. See links in the post. Thank you for watching. For more videos like this, please connect with me, hit like and share. See you next time.