Do you ever skimp on sleep so you can spend more hours building your business? Do you answer emails late into the night? These things are common among entrepreneurs, but they’re extremely counterproductive.
Here are some of the reasons why sleeping well is essential if you want to achieve your work goals, and a look at what you can do to improve your sleep, from switching off your smartphone to making sure your bed frame design is right for you.
How does sleep affect your work performance?
Sleeping well is something you need to take seriously if you want to succeed as an entrepreneur. While it can be tempting to spend less time sleeping so you can spend more time working, sleep deprivation affects you quickly. The less sleep you get, the more your work performance will be affected.
Research shows that a consistent lack of sleep can reduce the amount and quality of the work you can do by as much as 30 percent.
This is because sleep deprivation has a negative effect on many of the major skills you rely on to succeed as an entrepreneur, including:
- Energy levels
- Concentration and attention to detail
- Decision making
Running your own business also relies on the ability to think creatively and innovatively. This quick thinking allows you to deal with problems and find solutions quickly. Being deprived of sleep affects your ability to do this as it negatively affects the prefrontal cortex. This is the part of the brain that controls complex cognitive behaviour.
Another major issue for entrepreneurs is your ability to get on well with other people so you can convince them to believe in your business. This is another reason why you need enough sleep. Insufficient sleep affects your social performance as it causes mood swings and unpredictable behaviour.
How much sleep do you need?
This varies from person to person, but most adults need between seven and eight hours’ sleep a night to perform at their best during the day. However, if you have been suffering from sleep deprivation for a long time, you may need more than this due to the cumulative effect of deprivation.
Getting less than seven hours’ sleep a night has extremely negative effects on your work performance. If you get less than six hours, you’re more likely to suffer from job burnout. This is disastrous for entrepreneurs as you need to keep your enthusiasm and drive going to make your business a success.
Less than five hours can have serious impacts on your health. On average, someone who gets under five hours’ sleep a night will take between four and nine more sick days than someone who gets seven or eight hours. When you’re running your own business, you don’t get paid for time off. That’s why it’s essential to take steps to look after your health.
It’s worth mentioning that the effects of sleep deprivation tend to be worse in people who work long or irregular hours. The risk is particularly high for those who work more than 50 hours a week. As this applies to most entrepreneurs, it’s important to get your sleeping habits in order if you want to perform at your best.
How can you help yourself sleep better?
There are a number of easy steps you can take to make sure you get the amount of sleep you need:
1. Keep regular sleeping hours
Try to go to bed and get up at the same times every day. Getting your body and mind into a regular sleep routine improves the quality of your sleep. If you need an alarm to wake up, or you wake up feeling sluggish, this means you haven’t had enough sleep. You should try going to bed to alleviate this problem.
2. Get a comfortable bed
Your quality of sleep can be affected by everything from your bed frame design to the age of your mattress. It’s worth investing in a bed frame that suits your shape and size, or even a custom bed frame. And don’t forget, you should change your mattress at least every eight years. For a list of the latest and best mattresses today, you can check review portals like MyBestMattress.com.
3. Have a power nap
Many people suffer an energy slump mid-afternoon, especially if you haven’t had sufficient sleep the night before. A short power nap can give you the boost you need to keep you alert and productive for the rest of the working day. Keep this to 15 or 20 minutes, though – any longer than this can prevent you from sleeping properly at night.
4. Take some exercise
To boost your energy levels and help your body maintain its natural rhythms, it’s important to take some exercise every day. This doesn’t have to be strenuous – even a brisk walk during your lunch break will make all the difference to your mental and physical functions. Exercise will also help you sleep better at night.
5. Learn to switch off
Switch off all your electronic devices at least an hour before you go to bed. Firstly, this will stop you from thinking about work, removing the temptation to answer those late-night emails. Secondly, the light and electronic signals emitted by smartphones, tablets and laptops are very disruptive to sleep.
At the end of the day, taking care of yourself means that you’re taking care of your business.