Badass Professional Women Don’t #7: Pull All-Nighters

Science is very clear about the importance of sleep to our physical and mental well-being.

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However, not all high-charging, do-it-all professional women have bought into the benefits of sleep.

After all, how can they?

Then they wouldn’t be able to pack in 20 hours of activity each day? 

And they would have to say no to things and let people down - GASP!!

There was a time in my life where I pulled all nighters and/or regularly only got 4 hours of sleep.

I produced super-human amounts of work.

But I was always stressed, on edge and trying to stay busy so I didn’t crash.

After one particularly bad stretch of late and sleepless nights working, I had gotten in the habit of pounding 5-Hour Energy shots to function.

It kept me awake but came with side effects. 

Like the time I gave a presentation in front of about 50 colleagues and at the end someone remarked how nervous I seemed…because I had been shaking.

Turns out, I wasn’t nervous at all. I was literally SHAKING from all the chemicals I was pouring into my body to stay awake.

That embarrassing incident was a wake up call that I needed to get a handle on my sleep. 

What was the point of killing myself to do all this work if I couldn’t even appear calm and confident when I presented it to other people?

Sleep has been THE game-changer for me professionally and personally and the foundation of my self-care.

With 7-8 hours of sleep each night, I’m more clear-headed, calm and less stressed and triggered by things that are out of my control.

I no longer test the limits of how many hours I can work in a day and how many projects I can take on at one time.

Because I don’t have to.

I don’t need to prove how much work I can do to anyone or have my health suffer for my job.

If you feel like your plate is so full that sleep is a luxury you can’t afford, I strongly urge you to sloooooowwww down.

The work will still be there tomorrow.

And hopefully your colleagues and clients also want you to take care of yourself.

But, if you find yourself in an unforgiving situation where you truly can’t take your foot off the gas, then it may be time to evaluate whether that’s a place you want to stay.

Remember, we always have choices.

Sacrificing your long-term health for some fleeting glory at work is a risky play and worth taking a hard look at.