Processing Your Payment

Please do not leave this page until complete. This can take a few moments.

Updated: January 22, 2024 Guest Column

Sleep well to lead well

You know it’s true: Better sleep leads to better performance. Better performance leads to better business success, and everyone is happier as a result. Let me ask: How did you sleep last night? Put that question to your best employees!

A man with gray hair wears a blue shirt and a gray jacket.
Bob Martel

So, as a business leader, would you agree this is often the time of year companies focus on trying to start the year strong, revenue-wise? Would you agree it’s a perennial time for growth-minded leaders to do a little reflection on improving their leadership effectiveness? Perhaps focusing on Leadership 360 feedback, and strategies for improvement in specific areas? Perhaps, I dare say, even challenging the self-limiting beliefs holding you back from greater success, individually and as a company?

As a U.S. Navy submarine veteran, in my practice today I often use the metaphor of “going deep” or “beneath the waves” to discover and explore. One of the things an improvement-minded leader needs to do is take that occasional deep dive to see what’s lurking in the deep. That includes a deeper reflection of sleep quality and making a good night’s sleep is an important part of the company culture. This is easier to do in small businesses, but it’s relatable and demonstrable to your corporate teams.

All of what I just suggested takes courage and confidence to embrace, for all effective leaders know a focus on self-leadership improvement positively affects everyone positively. You must do the work to understand your own self-limiting beliefs first! Using self-hypnosis will help you to focus, reframe perspectives, open your mind to new thinking, and help you see your exact path forward.

The concept of leading from within isn't novel, and being at your best is key. It requires a focus on knowing thyself, as Epictetus explained almost 2,000 years ago. I learned this directly from the late Vice Admiral James Stockdale in 1976 when he joined us at sea for two weeks on our submarine. It was the Stoics that taught him how to lead, as the senior POW in Vietnam. I’ve studied Epictetus, Aurelius, Seneca, and a few others ever since. Their wisdom is integral to the leadership improvement hypno-coaching I do with my clients. It’s empowering when clients connect with and access their deep, inner wisdom. You can do the same. It’s time to develop what I call a more empowered mind.

Leaders across the board grapple with the stark reality of self-transformation. The change is often elusive, despite the best conscious efforts. The secret lies in the cavernous depths of our subconscious mind, a realm shaped by our experiences. We need to reprogram this inner landscape if we wish to unlock lasting improvement. One such mind tool is self-hypnosis, a focused attention and autosuggestion technique. It serves as a beacon of sorts, illuminating deep-seated issues, effectively paving the path for leadership improvement.

I could present a laundry list of ideas to help improve that inner game of self-leadership. That list would surely include a focus on greater self-awareness, the inability to accept feedback that leads to actionable change, fears and phobias of all kinds, and a general neglect of personal development. Instead, I want to talk about the importance for all leaders to get a good night’s sleep.

Imagine an empowered, more focused, more energized, and productive workforce, with a team so well rested its focus is simply unbelievable. It’s possible. While you are imagining things, step into your future and imagine a culture where this is a cherished asset! Again, all possible, and it starts with you (and your employees) sleeping better.

Look at sleep through a new lens. A focus on sleep is a secret to both personal and company longevity. Sleep is an essential part of your overall health and wellbeing. Consider it strategic. Business and military leaders through the ages knew a well-rested team will enjoy victory.

The benefits of sleep are clear. You become human, and people like to be around you. Beyond health improvements, you become that pleasant, calm, nurturing, and insightful wise leader they once knew. Whether your priority is your own sleep improvement, or if you want to help your team sleep well again, I hope you’ll put sleep mastery at the very top of your priority list. You’ll live longer, too!

Bob Martel is a professional hypnotist, empowerment coach, and author of several books, including "I Am Sleeping Now." Reach Bob at Positive Results Hypnosis in Leominster, or via email at

Sign up for Enews

WBJ Web Partners


Order a PDF