Want to focus? Get more done? Lose weight? Manage stress well? Feel energized? Be in a good mood?
It turns out that the things that matter most to our success as entrepreneurs- our mood, motivation, patience, ability to focus, capacity for resilience, ability for complex thought- these are all heavily based on the well-being of our physical bodies.
Specifically how well we sleep.
Many, many entrepreneurs sacrifice sleep for their businesses. It’s tough, there are only so many hours in the day. And being an entrepreneur requires an intense time commitment. And sacrifice.
Short-cutting sleep is rarely the right business decision.
Consistent, sufficient sleep is one of the most important things we can do for our mental health.
As adults, most of us need 7-9 hours of sleep each night. When we don’t get enough, we fall into sleep debt. This can happen after an all-nighter, it can also happen after multiple nights of a shortened sleep schedule. And sleep debt can be ugly.
Without sleep, everything goes wrong.
Not sure about your own sleep? Check out this handy sleep self- assessment.
Good sleep can be hard to come by. Our circadian rhythms are disrupted by lights (especially the lights on our screened-devices), coffee and other stimulants, and external schedules (alarm clocks, kids, etc).
Sleep must be valued and protected.
Need strategies for better shut-eye?
Here are some tips courtesy of the National Sleep Foundation:
- Limit naps to 30 minutes
- Avoid stimulants close to bedtime (such as caffeine).
- 10 minutes of aerobic exercise, such as walking or cycling, can drastically improve nighttime sleep quality.
- Steer clear of food that can be disruptive. Heavy or rich foods, fatty or fried meals, spicy dishes, citrus fruits, and carbonated drinks can trigger indigestion for some people.
- Consider your lighting. Exposure to sunlight during the day, as well as darkness at night, helps to maintain a healthy sleep-wake cycle.
- Relax before sleep. This could include taking warm shower or bath, reading a book, or light stretches.
- Create a pleasant sleep environment. Mattress and pillows should be comfy. The bedroom should be cool – between 60 and 67 degrees. Bright light from lamps, cell phone and TV screens can make it difficult to fall asleep, so turn those light off. Consider using blackout curtains, eye shades, ear plugs, “white noise” machines, humidifiers, fans and other devices that can make the bedroom more relaxing.
Sometimes an extra 30 minutes of sleep can mean an hour of focused work.
Go to bed. Your business will thank you.