Entrepreneurs, especially those who own start-ups, are known for sacrificing sleep for work. Sometimes, a couple short sleeps – or even sleepless nights – are warranted in order to create a successful company. But for too many business owners, little to no sleep isn’t an exception – it’s the norm.
The more the importance of sleep is studied, the more we find it’s simply not worth skipping or cutting short. You may have more time to work if you forgo sleep, but studies also show that you’ll be a less inspiring leader, you’ll make more ill-informed decisions, and you’ll be more likely to contract a cold or other illness, which will ultimately take time away from your work. In fact, by getting the National Sleep Foundation recommended 7-9 hours a night, you’ll be happier and more creative. So how exactly does a busy entrepreneur with an endless to-do list get enough good, quality rest to fulfill his/her full potential? Read on to find out how you can prioritize fitting quality hours of sleep into your schedule.
Get on a schedule.
The entrepreneurial life can be a bit unpredictable, but try to maintain set times to wake up and go to bed. By teaching your body to shut down at the same time every day, you’ll enter into deep sleep more quickly and efficiently, ensuring the hours you do dedicate to sleep are put to good use.
Avoid caffeine in the afternoon.
Even if you don’t think you feel the effects of caffeine, the compound is a proven stimulant, and should be avoided from the early afternoon on if you are making a good night’s sleep a priority. You may feel like you need an afternoon boost, but resist the urge. Once you begin to log in consistent nights of quality sleep, you may find the need for a quick pick-me-up coffee at 3 p.m. goes away.
Avoid electronics at least 30 minutes before bed.
The blue lights of electronics, namely TVs, tablets and mobile phones hinders our body from releasing the calming hormone melatonin, which helps us wind down and relax before going to bed. Instead of checking email or catching up on your shows into the night, set two bedtimes for yourself. Once the clock hits your first bedtime, turn off all electronics, disconnect from your to-do list, and engage in something that relieves stress, such as a hot bath or some light reading. When your second bedtime rolls around 30 minutes or an hour later, turn off the lights and drift off to sleep.
If you’re prone to toss and turn when trying to go to sleep, implement an exercise plan. In addition to making you tired, exercise relieves stress and calms your mind, helping your body relax and embrace the sleep it needs.
Take mini naps.
If you go through a particularly busy period when getting a minimum seven hours of sleep a night is too lofty a goal, try taking a 20-minute power nap or two during the day. This will temporarily refresh your tired brain, and help you be alert, engaging and able to make the best decisions for your business.