Sleep…Priority #1

So, I realize the irony that I’m starting this post at 10:30 pm, when I’ve decided to stop with the responsibilities of the day and get on with a big week. This week will be one of the most important for me, as we welcome our teaching staff back to school and help them to prepare for the coming year. Students come soon, and all in our district need to be ready to support them!

This time of year can be simultaneously the most energizing and the most demanding. Last week, we felt a clear change in our work as a technology department, as we saw more and more teachers rolling into our schools to prepare for the year, and the deadlines of summer projects really began to tighten.

Personally, I respond to deadlines in a couple of ways. One, I work towards them and feel motivated by them. Two, I can be overly stressed by them and make choices that aren’t healthy for myself or for those I lead and support.

Last week, I ran on a sleep deficit all week–3 or 4 hours each night–

3 hours and 18 minutes of sleep. Even my Fitbit is telling me to sleep more.

not enough to be at my best. So, while I worked hard and forced my mind and body to perform for long hours, some of which were highly productive, there was a price. I definitely could not be at my best, and I put my capacity at risk.

I apologize to my team for not being the best leader I could be. I apologize to my family for not being the best mom and wife I could be. And, I promise my colleagues, my family, and myself to be a healthier version of myself as we start this school year.

What I realize is that not getting enough sleep negatively impacts every other aspect of my life (duh…this is what all research says!).

This hits home to me in a few ways. First, I went for a run on Saturday after a better–but not great by any means–night of sleep on Friday night. I did fine, but I didn’t feel great. Saturday night I got great sleep, and on my Sunday run, I felt AMAZING! A good night of sleep (even after neglect) prepares our bodies to perform. Second, my clarity of mind and productivity are better when I’m rested. Third, neglect of sleep is the first domino in a series of other poor choices. When not rested, I’m quicker to give in to convenient and unhealthy nutrition, my patience suffers, and my exercise–something that typically yields positive gains in many aspects–is skipped.

So, as the school year begins, I implore all who go back to school or quicken their pace to also take care of yourselves. Treat yourself to downtime. Be sure to get some rest. Keep up your good eating and physical activity routines. Carve out time to socially engage with those who matter to you. Spend quality time with family after the work day. And for goodness sake, get good sleep.

Good night, all!

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