Want to know more?

Ole Hoyer
1 Change

In the past 12 years, we have had the privilege of measuring stress reactions, sleep duration/quality, and physical activity over 7 days/nights for leaders in more than 30 global organizations.

The HRV device is always included in our longer leadership journeys, where we provide up to 3 measurements over a period of 12 months. This ensures that each leader has time to study their daily patterns and gradually integrate changes and adjustments into their lives that will improve their sleep over time.

We use one of the leading HRV devices on the market for all our measurements, which, in our opinion, is still the best device. It includes real-time data in its mobile app and can very precisely measure heart rate variability. If you, as a leader, are under stress and pressure during your workday, the device will show red, indicating activation of the sympathetic part of your autonomic nervous system (fight or flight). If you have the ability to recover well during your working day and at night, your device will show green, indicating activation of the parasympathetic part of your autonomic nervous system (rest and digest). The blue light indicates movement and physical activity on the device.

From our anonymized data, we can see that most leaders have the potential to improve their performance through better sleep, both in terms of duration and quality. The average sleep for senior executives using our device is 6.5 hours, with a quality of sleep of only 60-65%. Ideally, we would like to see at least 7-8 hours of sleep with at least 80% recovery. These are the minimum requirements for being mentally and physically 100% rested and ready to go into the new day, able to perform at your very best.

Blue light and radiation from devices after 9 PM have an immediate negative impact on your sleep. If you are on your laptop, mobile, or watching TV for 1-2 hours between 9-11 PM, there is a high risk that the HRV device will show up as red (fight & flight) in the first 1-3 hours of your sleep—despite physically sleeping. We call this delayed sleep, one of the most common unhealthy patterns we see among leaders.

Our recommendation for leaders is to limit access to devices and television after 9 PM and instead choose activities like reading a book or having a conversation with your loved ones. 30 minutes before bedtime, we suggest dimming down the light, drinking a calming cup of tea, going through a 10-20 minute guided meditation, and doing as little as possible.

Consumption of alcohol also has a poor effect on sleep. For 75% of leaders who consume as little as 2-3 units of alcohol in the evening, the average quality of sleep drops by 25%. Our recommendation is always to avoid alcohol after 7 PM if you know that you have to perform at a high level the next day.

Most leaders work long hours, often without breaks during the day, which is not the most efficient way of working. Our recommendation is always to have at least two 15-minute strategic recovery breaks a day, where they step out of the office environment without devices or engage in activities like guided meditation, simple yoga stretches, or breathing exercises.

When it comes to family life, we can see that 40% of leaders are more stressed at home than at work, another reason why leaders should carve out time for daily breaks despite having a busy work schedule.

Regarding physical activity, our data shows that 50% of leaders can benefit from being more physically active. Increasing the number of workouts per week as well as breaking a sweat more often will have a positive impact on their performance at work as well as improved sleep.

The key to changing leaders’ sleeping patterns is for them to realize through data and measurements where they currently are. Then, through a private and confidential conversation with a 1 Change Coach, identify changes/adjustments in their work/life that will slowly over time improve the length and quality of sleep, ultimately increasing their quality of life and performance at work.

If you’re interested in offering HRV devices to leaders as part of a Leadership Program in your organization, feel free to get in touch with us at