I Quit My Job to Sleep

Photo by  Hernan Sanchez  on  Unsplash

Photo by Hernan Sanchez on Unsplash

The other day, I reached out to my LinkedIn Tribe to ask if anyone had changed jobs or started their own business because they need more flexibility when they sleep.

A woman, Michelle, reached out and told me her story. 

She told me about the day that her eyes closed and her head fell forward as she drove down a six-lane highway.

She’d been flying all over the country for her job, crossing three times zones while managing a busy household. She found it increasingly difficult to get a good night’s sleep. 

That head bob startled Michelle awake, literally and figuratively.

She asked herself, 

Am I going to let this big important job kill me?

It’s rare that a client tells me she wants to reinvent her career to get more sleep. 

After all, sleep deprivation seems to be a badge of honor for many people and a job requirement for others. 

In fact, a client once told me that her boss would text her at 2am and she would be expected to answer. I wasn't surprised when she also told me that she developed a substance abuse problem.

It’s no secret that we are a sleep-deprived world. According to the CDC, 35% of adults in the US are not getting the recommended 7 hours of sleep a night. It’s worse in Japan where the average woman gets 6.5 hours of sleep.

For many of us, sleep quantity and quality get worse in our 40s and 50s.  

Stress, menopause-related hormone changes and less durable bladders interrupt our sleep and leave us tired, irritable and overwhelmed by life

The alarm clock becomes our enemy.

Yet, not many people realize that they can reinvent their careers in order to get the sleep they need to live healthy, happy lives.

For Michelle, sleep was important enough to her to shake up her life and career. She recognized that without enough sleep, everything suffered – her career, her family and her health.

No job was worth that price.

Michelle decided that she wasn’t going to continue in a career that was negatively impacting her sleep.

Even if it meant a lesser job and living in a smaller place, sleep was a priority.

Michelle changed careers and no longer travels as much. She moved into Manhattan from New Jersey, shortening her commute from 1.5 hours on the bus to a 10 minute walk.

She goes to bed at 10pm and if she can’t fall asleep right away or gets up several times during the night, she has a time cushion on the other end to sleep in if she needs to. 

“Not having the pressure of an alarm has been a game changer."

Except for new parents and people with serious sleep disorders, lack of sleep doesn’t have to be something you have to “just live with.”

It’s possible to reinvent your career and life in a way that

  1. Allows you to block your calendar in the morning or at night so you have a sleep time cushion if you need extra sleep.

  2. Limit/eliminate travel or add time-zone adjustment days into your schedule.

  3. Eat and drink on a schedule to reduce conditions like heartburn and caffeine/sugar induced sleeplessness that can keep you up at night

Want to learn how? Let's talk

Kirsten Bunch