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Banking and Finance

Beyond the Hustle: Why Restful Sleep is a Strategic Asset in Business

Dr. Dwight Chapin

In today’s fast-paced business landscape, where competition is fierce and demands are high, it’s easy to fall into the trap of sacrificing sleep for productivity. Many executives believe that by cutting back on sleep, they can gain an extra edge, cheat the clock, and achieve more. However, this mindset is ‌flawed and detrimental to long-term health and success. All biological systems have a breaking point. By continuing to cut your sleep and recovery time short, you are putting yourself on a fast track to chronic disease and burnout. Prioritizing sleep, rest, and recovery is crucial to achieving sustainable success in business and in life.

To understand sleep’s powerful influence on health and performance, we must first distinguish between healthy habits and wellness rituals. While habits offer familiarity and routine, they often lack the transformative power to drive meaningful change. Wellness rituals are intentional and purposeful actions that carry symbolic meaning and emotional significance. Habits are easier to drop or ignore when pressed for time, when rituals are not. By embracing wellness rituals, such as ensuring you are tapping into the performance benefits unlocked by optimal sleep length and sleep quality, we establish a strong link to our everyday thoughts, activities, and behaviors and gain access to our body’s biological healing potential. Achieving this state is where the game changes.

7 Wellness Rituals for Health, Strength & Hope

There are 7 Wellness Rituals central to this exploration. Habits are defined as a settled or regular tendency or practice. Tendencies are not strong enough to command the attention of your biology. The strategies guiding your daily choices must be hard-wired with greater intention and purpose if you wish to elevate your game. For that reason, these strategies must become rituals, not merely habits. This distinction is essential. The 7 Wellness Rituals supported by leading evidence are:

  1. Prioritize Sleep, Rest & Recovery
  2. Consume Healthy Fuel
  3. Fight for Your Waistline
  4. Move to Stay Young
  5. Protect Your Strength
  6. Nurture Mental Fitness
  7. Play With Purpose

By committing to these rituals, you will discover another gear and boost your resiliency, giving you a competitive advantage in the dynamic business landscape.

Learning from Influential leaders—at the top of their game.

To shed light on the power of wellness rituals and bring the research supporting their practice to life, I turned to a select group of influential leaders who walk the walk. I call the group ‘mentors’ because of their altruistic desire to help others learn from their life lessons, both positive and negative, their willingness to share their uniquely crafted formula for  life, and their impressive discipline to self-care. The featured mentors, leaders in business, sport, media, entertainment, and healthcare, all lean on the 7 Wellness Rituals in their own unique way to keep them at their best, independent of age or circumstance. Canadian Olympic sprinter Khamica Bingham practices the same rituals as Publisher and CEO of The Globe and Mail, Phillip Crawley, and the gap in their age is close to 50 years. By studying their stories and developing an awareness of the influence your daily choices have on your health and performance, you can uncover new strategies for personal growth and professional excellence.

Another one of the featured mentors, Dr. Robyne Hanley-Dafoe, author and stress resiliency expert, discusses playing to a three-day average when it comes to her sleep.

“I’m not worried about every single night. I think about my sleep and energy in seventy-two-hour windows.” – Dr. Robyne Hanley-Dafoe

Robyne calls her self-care and sleep hygiene routine ‘science’, not ‘selfish.’ By framing her rest and recovery behavior in three-day windows and playing to averages, Robyne keeps a keen eye on her sleep needs. She listens to her body and builds buffer zones for when things go sideways, placing a high value on knowing the limits of her physiology, recognizing her signs and symptoms of stress and fatigue, and maintaining the flexibility of her formula.

For many years, Jim Treliving’s formula consisted of two guideposts: work hard and love your work. He did both with great purpose in the early days of building his Boston Pizza Restaurant empire with little interest in sleep until his body suddenly quit on him and forced him to recalibrate his formula.

“At the time, I was pushing the limits really, really hard. Going hard is what I did. It was easy for me and I got caught up in it. I was go, go, go – until I just couldn’t go anymore.” – Jim Treliving

With a keen respect for the healing powers of sleep, Jim now embraces Wellness Ritual #1 and encourages all executives he meets and works with to do the same.

The Power of Prioritizing Sleep, Rest & Recovery:

Scientific research supporting Robyne and Jim’s formula, highlights five key benefits of sleep:

  1. Sleep declutters the mind. It is a mistake to think of sleep as an off-switch. Your brain is actually very active when your head is on the pillow as it sorts and stores information it has taken in during the day. This process is critical to maintaining the pathways in your brain that support learning, memory, concentration, creativity, and strategic thinking. Studies have shown that sleep also plays a critical housekeeping role by removing memory-impairing toxins.
  2. Sleep activates neurotransmitters and hormonal switches. Neurotransmitters and hormones activated during sleep regulate sleep-wake cycles, promote relaxation, and play a key role in priming the body for rest and cellular repair.
  3. Sleep helps our nervous system de-stress. Dealing with high-stakes meetings, travel demands, and long work hours can lock you into a chronic fight-or-flight stress response. Prolonged short sleep durations are linked to hypertension and place our cardiovascular system under additional operational stress. Adequate sleep allows you to break free from the pressure of this chronic stress cycle and reset.
  4. Sleep regulates cortisol. Cortisol is  known as the “stress hormone,” which impacts blood sugar control, weight management, and overall well-being. Its chronic elevation is linked to weight gain and obesity. Developing a consistent sleep routine helps to regulate cortisol levels which supports the quality of the energy you have to bring to a day, weight management, mood, and cognitive function.
  5. Sleep gives us an immune boost. Quality sleep supports the release of inflammation-fighting, immune-system-priming proteins that help drive repair and recovery processes and signal the immune system to do its job. Sleep deprivation leaves our immune system short-handed and under-resourced.

Sleep target and tips

Not all sleep is equal. Catch-up sleep is characterized by abnormal brain waves as the brain attempts to re-synchronize the body and the biological systems mentioned above. Even a mild sleep reduction or change in sleep routine can harm cognitive performance for many days following. Studies have shown that five consecutive days of inadequate sleep can reduce insulin sensitivity, increasing our blood sugar levels and metabolic stress. The take-home message is that sleep is the most important meeting of your day. It is essential to show up on time and be prepared.

To maximize the healing powers of sleep:

  1. Try to get to bed and wake up at the same time every day. Even on weekends.
  2. Schedule for seven to nine hours of sleep every night. Begin to wind down 60 minutes before you want to be asleep with relaxing activities (e.g. warm bath, reading, meditation) and limited screen time.
  3. Limit stimulants such as caffeine, alcohol, and late-night meals before bed.
  4. Move more during the day. Walking for an hour a day will help improve your sleep quality, and has been shown to reduce all-cause mortality by as much as 30%.
  5. Use light exposure to your advantage. Dimming the lights as you prepare for bed and getting exposure to natural light within the first 30-60 minutes of waking will help you establish regular sleep patterns.

Embrace the 7 Wellness Rituals to Thrive in Business

By taking good care of ourselves, and learning how to stack healthy choices, starting with prioritizing sleep, rest and recovery, we establish a foundation for sustained excellence, good health, and set an inspiring example for those you love and lead to follow.

Written by Dr. Dwight Chapin, B.Sc., D.C.

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CEOWORLD magazine - Latest - Banking and Finance - Beyond the Hustle: Why Restful Sleep is a Strategic Asset in Business
Dr. Dwight Chapin, B.Sc., D.C.
A trusted musculoskeletal expert, Dr. Dwight Chapin holds his honors degree in biology from Queen’s University and Doctor of Chiropractic designation from the Canadian Memorial Chiropractic College. In his private practice, he has successfully demonstrated the role chiropractors can play in acute, chronic, and preventative care, corporate health, and sports performance. He is a two-time Grey Cup Champion as Team Chiropractor for the CFL’s Toronto Argonauts Football Club, has co-authored workplace wellness e-learning modules for Canadian Centre for Occupational Health & Safety-CCOHS, and lectured extensively on human performance and injury prevention.

Dr. Chapin has made it his life’s mission to care for, educate, and inspire others in their journey toward optimal health. His new book, Take Good Care: 7 Wellness Rituals for Health, Strength & Hope, is available now.

Dr. Dwight Chapin is an opinion columnist for the CEOWORLD magazine. Connect with him through LinkedIn. For more information, visit the author’s website CLICK HERE.