If you’re always wondering how to get better sleep, you’re not alone. Sleep is crucial for performance. Do you struggle to get enough sleep due to your hectic schedule as an entrepreneur, but lack of sleep affects your productivity? For most business owners, a good night’s sleep is something they can only hope for.
I know entrepreneurs have a very busy schedule. If you are an entrepreneur, I am sure you make various sacrifices for the sake of your business, on a daily basis.
Especially when you’re just starting out in your business, you want to take on everything, right? You might not even ignore personal relationships with friends and family. And you might be sacrificing your sleep to build your business.
I know the strong desire to succeed and the confidence to take on challenges is a rush like no other. Many entrepreneurs might even think that skipping sleep is an unspoken requirement for success. Some may think that it’s all part of their entrepreneurial journey which will lead to eventual heroic success.
But that is far from the truth. Lack of proper rest and sleep can have some serious consequences. It has a direct correlation with your health and mental well being.
If you keep losing sleep, eventually, there will come a point where you will feel the drastic effects. It is well-known that exhaustion can lead to a significant dip in your performance.
These dips in performances and deprivation of rest could lead to burnout and serious mental health and physical health concerns. And what will happen when your health is adversely affected? Well, your business will suffer, and so will your relationships.
The business you sacrificed everything for – even your sleep – will start to fail. Lack of sleep is counterproductive in the long run. Hence, sleep deprivation is foiling your chances of becoming successful even if you may not realize it yet.
The Temptation of Sacrificing Sleep
You may have heard that several famous figures in history favored sleeping less. Instead of wanting to get better sleep, they wanted more time to work on things that mattered to them. They favored time over sleep.
Famous inventor Nikola Tesla survived on only 1.5 – 2 hours of sleep per night. Benjamin Franklin slept only 5 hours per night.
Even in recent times, you will find several successful people who have reported that they sleep very little. Here’s a list of 19 barely-sleeping, successful people.
Jack Dorsey reported sleeping only 4- 6 hours when he started Twitter. Donald Trump credits his success to sleeping only three to four hours each night.
Marissa Mayer, when working for Google, slept 4 hours a night so that she can work 130-hours a week. Apple’s CEO Tim Cook wakes up at 3:45 a.m. to get a head start on the 700-800 emails he receives a day.
In 2011, a new elite group known as The Sleepless Elite was identified by The WSJ. These are the 1% to 3% of the population who live happily on just a few hours of sleep per night.
These are people born with the Thatcher Gene, a genetic mutation, where the person requires less sleep to function normally. While the rest of us require 7-8 hours of sleep, they can work with a lot less.
It’s unknown if any of the famous figures have this gene or not. If you go by the statistics alone, it’s highly likely you don’t have it. Psychiatrists believe that out of 100 people who claim they need only 5-6 hours of sleep, only 5 are right.
So, it might seem tempting to replicate these successful people’s habits to replicate their success. But that couldn’t be farther from the truth, as we will see in the next section.
The Effects of Low-Quality Sleep
Research shows that insufficient sleep leads to a slowing of response speed, and increased variability in performance. It particularly affects alertness, attention and vigilance levels.
Other short-term problems can include:
- Reduced ability to think, remember and process information.
- Increased likelihood of getting into conflicts with others.
- Reduced participation in usual daily activities such as exercise.
It even increases the chances of car accidents. The U. S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that drowsy driving is related to at least 100,000 motor-vehicle crashes and more than 1,500 deaths per year.
Furthermore, Harvard Medical School’s study shows a lack of quality sleep has a serious negative impact on your:
- Mathematical capacity
- Logical reasoning
If you continue to operate without enough sleep, you may see more long-term and serious health problems, such as:
- High blood pressure
- Heart disease
- Mental distress
You may think that you can sleep more once you are comfortable in your success, right? What if you never get to that point? You see, if you wish to avoid these long-term problems you need to prioritize sleep in your life.
Remember that getting a good night’s rest is not a luxury, but an absolute necessity for each one of us. At the very least, getting better sleep will help you boost your productivity. In the long run, it might save you from the risk of deadly diseases.
How to Get Better Sleep Quality as an Entrepreneur
According to the Centers for Disease Control, 35% of American professionals aren’t getting the recommended 7 hours of sleep. While this sleep recommendation may vary from person to person, it is a step in the right direction.
Good sleep will set you up for success from the moment you open your eyes. A well-rested mind and body are better equipped to tackle each day.
Each night, when I go to sleep, I die. And the next morning, when I wake up, I am reborn. – Mahatma Gandhi
It can be hard to put your rest at a high priority, especially with all the work. But, it will be worth it in the long run. In fact, your body, mind and your business will thank you for it. Here are 7 helpful tips that can help you get better sleep quality.
1. Avoid Drinking Too Much Coffee
According to Zagat’s National Coffee Survey results, Americans drink an average of 2.1 cups of coffee per day. What’s worse is that consumption is shown to increase with age.
As an entrepreneur, it is tempting to go for multiple cups of coffee to stay awake and alert. In fact, for many of you, coffee might be an indispensable part of your daily routine.
You might rely on it for the much-needed boost of energy in the morning. Sometimes, even after the mid-afternoon dip in energy. For some entrepreneurs, it might even be a preferred productivity tool.
But it should come as no surprise that too much coffee could be responsible for keeping you up at night. Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine’s study, found that consuming caffeine six hours before bed still impacted sleep.
You see, when caffeine doesn’t metabolize properly, it can keep you awake long after it’s been consumed. Hence, you should avoid consuming caffeine at least seven hours before bed, to prevent negative effects on your sleep.
As a best practice, keep it to 1-2 cups a day and give yourself that caffeine-free window of 7 hours. Slowly but surely, you will start to get better sleep quality.
2. Avoid Sugary Foods (Especially Before Bed)
Nighttime hunger pangs are quite common. It’s quite natural to go for something sweet such as a candy bar as it’s comforting. But if you’re eating high sugar foods before bed, you’re setting yourself up for a sugar rush.
It will take longer for you to get to sleep as you will toss and turn longer than you should be. In fact, the more sugar that you eat during the day, the more often you’re going to wake up while sleeping.
The worst thing in the world is to try to sleep and not to. – F. Scott Fitzgerald
Essentially, the sugar in your system can even pull you out of deep sleep. What’s worse is that this will make you feel exhausted the next day.
You see, if you want to get better sleep, your blood sugar level needs to be steady throughout the day. This will also keep your energy level even, during the day, helping you stick to a normal sleep schedule.
So avoid foods that contain simple carbs and refined sugar. Instead, eat foods rich in good fats and protein such as crushed almonds in a warm glass of milk. You could even go for some hard-boiled eggs.
3. Avoid Sleep Inducing Substances
I know some entrepreneurs prefer taking pills to sleep. Some choose alcohol or other such sleep-inducing substances. I strongly advise against the consumption of such substances that greatly disrupt your brain’s natural sleep process.
You see, anything that interferes with the brain’s natural sleep process has dire consequences for the quality of your sleep. For long-term benefits, you have to practice falling asleep naturally and reduce your dependence upon sedatives.
The best way to stop is to gradually reduce the dose with the guidance of a doctor. Professional medical care will reduce your dependence, step-by-step and help with any withdrawal symptoms, as well. You could also opt for psychological or therapeutic support for optimal benefits to get better sleep.
4. Keep Your Devices Away
You might find it tempting to check your emails before sleeping, but that’s where you catch the dreaded blue light. Blue light is emitted from each device we use on a daily basis.
Harvard’s study recommends avoiding looking at bright screens beginning two to three hours before bed. If that seems too hard to implement, strive to give yourself at least an hour’s time of no device usage. This will give your body enough time to adjust and get ready for a night of sleep.
The study even suggests exposing yourself to lots of bright light during the day. This can also enable you to get better sleep at night.
Furthermore, reading emails right before bed can have two major implications. If you hear some good news, you’ll start processing ideas to implement the next day. If you get some bad news, you’ll start stressing out about it. Either way, you are going to lose sleep.
So, keep your device on silent mode or just turn it off. Instead, the best use of this hour is to give yourself time to unwind and decompress.
5. Decompress Before Bed
A high level of stress interferes with your ability to sleep. As an entrepreneur, your life has plenty of stress to go around. If you don’t deal with that stress properly via relaxation and mental processing, it’ll prevent you from getting sleep.
After a hard day’s work and before you go to bed, here’s your chance to unwind a little. Why would you want that? Well, transitioning directly from business to bed doesn’t work if you want to get better sleep. Both are two very different zones and your subconscious mind needs time and space to switch between the two.
Since you’ve put your device away, you could read a book. In fact, reading a book is one of the most powerful habits of self-made millionaires.
Alternatively, you could listen to some music, spend some time with your family or just use this time to reflect on your day. Whatever you choose to do, the main goal is spending time on your own, in a relaxed state.
Furthermore, you should start dimming the lights during this time, too. This routine will take some practice, but once you do it regularly, it will help you get better sleep.
6. Create a Sleep-Friendly Environment
Your sleep time is precious and the quality of your sleep will determine your output for the next day. So, you need to create a quiet and peaceful environment that can instantly help you get better sleep.
I have seen entrepreneurs sleeping on sofas or even their work desks. That may work for some people, but I would suggest investing in a comfortable mattress and pillow. With the plethora of sleep-friendly options in the market today, it shouldn’t be too hard to find the right one.
Furthermore, shut off all noises by wearing earplugs when sleeping. If you have the habit of listening to something while sleeping, listen to white noise or nature sounds.
Also, it’s best to have dark curtains (such as black-out curtains) installed in your bedroom to ensure you sleep in complete darkness. Alternatively, you can also consider sleeping with a nice, comfortable eye mask.
Why do you need complete darkness? You see, our brains are hard-wired into associating darkness with sleep. The brain produces more melatonin (the hormone controlling our sleep cycles) when it senses an absence of light.
Furthermore, you could use natural essential oils that can help you get into a more relaxed state. These oils can be applied to your skin topically or dispersed in the air with the help of a diffuser.
7. Be Prepared for Sleep Epiphanies
Does your brain come alive at night? I know mine does. In general, I know as an entrepreneur, you have multiple thoughts and ideas running at the same time. It could be about what you should be doing to make your business better, right? Hence, it is natural to have bedtime epiphanies.
Your subconscious mind will keep thinking and adding tasks to your mental to-do list. What’s more, these might be some of the best ideas you’ve ever had, coming to you at bedtime.
What tends to happen is that you feel afraid you will forget these ideas and hence keep thinking about them. A simple solution is to keep a notebook beside your bed.
When you can’t sleep because of a good idea, just write it down. Make sure everything noteworthy is in the notebook. This trick will reduce anxiety and help you get better sleep.
Adopt the Right Habits to Boost Productivity
It’s quite clear that sleep deprivation has you performing at a fraction of your full potential. Hence, I always advise preparing for a marathon rather than a sprint. Both have their time and place in an entrepreneur’s life but always focus on long-term victories over short-term gains.
I know that as an entrepreneur, you want to get as much work done in a day, as possible. But sacrificing sleep for the sake of getting more work done is not sustainable. Instead, if you get better sleep, you will become more productive and accomplish more in less time.
In the beginning, you may think that reducing 2 hours of sleep gives you 2 additional hours to work. But eventually. the negative effects on your performance will cancel out any productivity gains you might incidentally see.
You don’t have to sacrifice a proper night’s sleep to build your business. Instead, improve your day’s processes to increase your productivity.
You’ll succeed when you have your time, resources, and mind working together for a better output.
If you want to improve your productivity, I’ve put together a training for you. This video training teaches 3 powerful ways to operate like a millionaire. These productivity habits give you more control over your daily routine.
Once you are in more control of your day, you will get more done in less time. This will give your more room to take breaks and get to sleep earlier. As a result, you will benefit your health and your business, in the long-run.
Moreover, more control over your day means that you will be able to spend more time with your family too. Grab this Millionaire Productivity Secrets Video Training to start seizing your day without sacrificing your sleep and health.