Entrepreneurship is a rewarding yet demanding journey. With the exhilarating highs of success come the pressures and challenges of steering a business. A staggering 45% of entrepreneurs report experiencing stress, according to a Gallup poll
Compounding this, the UK's deteriorating sleep statistics reveal the average Brit now gets only 5.91 hours of sleep a night So it’s understandable that the need for better sleep solutions for entrepreneurs has never been more pronounced.
Getting the right amount of sleep isn't a luxury; it's a necessity for everybody, particularly entrepreneurs and something we want to highlight this Sleeptember.
Why Is Sleep So Important?
Sleep is the unsung hero of human health and performance. We all do it every day and are often taking it for granted. Even when we don’t get enough sleep, while we are very aware of it, it’s one of the first things that suffers when life gets busy or stressful.
Sleep is more than just rest—it's a chance for our body and brain to process, repair and replenish itself. Proper sleep sharpens decision-making and boosts creativity, two critical elements in business. It also helps manage emotions, ensuring a balanced response to business challenges. Physically, enough rest keeps you healthy and ready to tackle the day's demands, while fatigue slows everything down. Plus, with a clear mind, planning for the future becomes easier. So, for entrepreneurs aiming for the top, overlooking sleep can be a significant misstep.
Ensuring a consistent quality of sleep affects every aspect of our lives and should be a priority, even when it feels like it’s getting in the way.
Tools & Methods To Help With Sleep
1. Sleep Trackers And Wearables
Devices like Fitbit, Apple Watches, Oura Ring, and Whoop strap have evolved from mere fitness trackers to indispensable sleep tools. By monitoring sleep patterns, they help users understand sleep quality. With this data, you can fine-tune their routines to ensure restorative rest. Did you sleep poorly after a particular meal? Or did you stay up later than you thought you should? While it’s not a perfect science, these readouts can help identify “good” sleep habits versus “bad” ones.
2. Reading About Sleep
The book "Why We Sleep" by Matthew Walker, Ph.D., offers readers insight into the science and necessity of sleep. For entrepreneurs, understanding the productivity and wellness benefits of good sleep can be a game-changer. This well-respected and fascinating book unravels the intricate tapestry of sleep, touching upon its biology, its impact on the human brain, and its undeniable role in overall health. It delves deep into the consequences of sleep deprivation, which include impaired memory, reduced immune function, and a heightened risk of chronic diseases.
In one of his key arguments, Walker suggests that sleep, or the lack of it, affects every aspect of our physiology, right down to our genetic code. This understanding can drive home the point for entrepreneurs about the irreplaceable value of consistent, quality sleep.
3. White Noise Machines
Achieving silence in urban centres is a dream for many. White noise machines come to the rescue by drowning out distracting noises. Whether you prefer the sound of white noise, rain, or ocean waves, these machines promise a peaceful night's sleep. You don’t need to spend lots of money either if you have an Alexa or Google Play device or even access to a Spotify account. These also have lots of free-to-listen-to-white noise, along with variations such as pink and brown noise.
4. Mindfulness And Meditation Apps
Stress is a sleep disruptor for many, especially entrepreneurs. Mindfulness and meditation apps, such as Headspace, Calm, and Insight Timer, offer sleep-specific sessions, guiding the mind into a restful state. Even if you’re not in a position to download and pay for a premium meditation app (although Insight Timer is free), there are also lots of free YouTube videos and Spotify-guided meditations that can be accessed for free as well.
5. Bedroom Environment Optimisation
Setting the right ambience for sleep is crucial. Consider the following:
- Temperature: 18.3°C is generally considered ideal for sleep.
- Darkness: The darker, the better. Blackout curtains can be a worthy investment.
- Comfort: A quality mattress and pillows can make all the difference.
While cultivating the “perfect” sleep environment is ideal, it’s not necessarily easy to do so in practice. This is particularly true if you share your bedroom with someone else. However explaining to your partner the benefits of a good night’s sleep and finding a compromise ensures that the conditions are as good as they can be while not falling out over it.
A Note On Sleep Hygiene
Sleep hygiene refers to practices and habits that ensure good sleep quality and full daytime alertness. Maintaining proper sleep hygiene becomes even more important for entrepreneurs who often keep irregular hours and may face heightened stress.
A pivotal aspect of sleep hygiene is managing technology usage. We live in a digital age, and while some of the tools mentioned above involve tech, it's crucial to strike a balance. Devices like smartphones, tablets, and computers allegedly emit blue light, which might interfere with the body's production of melatonin, the hormone responsible for sleep. Ideally, we should avoid screens for at least an hour before bedtime. Consider charging your phone in a different room and using a traditional alarm clock if you depend on your mobile device to wake you up.
Another essential component is establishing a consistent sleep schedule. Despite the often unpredictable nature of entrepreneurship, going to bed and waking up at the same time daily (including weekends) can help regulate your body's internal clock.
Lastly, exercise caution with caffeine and alcohol. While beverages like coffee or tea may assist with daytime alertness, consuming these stimulants in the late afternoon or evening could disrupt sleep. Alcohol, though sometimes believed to aid sleep onset, can interfere with sleep cycles.
Good Sleep, Better Business
A better night’s sleep, repeated frequently, means that you are sharper with decision-making and can have enhanced creativity and increased resilience, all of which are essential for sustaining a busy lifestyle.
As we emphasise the importance of sleep this Sleeptember, it's also crucial to acknowledge the broader picture year-round. Even with optimal sleep routines, if tiredness persists, it could indicate an overloaded work schedule. If that’s the case, then delegation is a key aspect of effective leadership. So, if you find that time constraints are affecting your rest and productivity, it might be worthwhile to explore getting some additional support. in.
Here at Virtalent, we can offer tailored virtual assistant matching services to help alleviate such burdens. Book a free consultation call with us to discuss how our services can help you, allowing you more time for good quality sleep.