An Entrepreneur’s Guide to Healthy Sleep Habits

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As an entrepreneur, you’ve got a lot on your plate. There are more demands for your time than you might have imagined. Trying to prioritize them often means sacrificing your personal care, physical, mental, and emotional health, and sleep. When you skimp on sleep, you’re putting your health and livelihood at risk.

A lack of sleep puts you at an increased risk of accidents, heart attack, weight gain, high blood pressure, decreased alertness, poor decision making, lack of mental clarity and many other issues that could impact your ability to run your business. Here are some healthy sleep habits that can help improve your overall health and help you run your business more efficiently.

1. Don’t Use Your Phone in Your Bedroom

Do you have a habit of staying up in bed while using your phone? If so, that’s a habit you need to break. Checking your email, scrolling through social media and looking at entrepreneurial blogs may feel productive, but it’s interfering with your ability to sleep. Your bedroom should be reserved for sleeping only.. Doing work, paying bills or other stress-inducing activities will make your brain associate your bedroom with unpleasantness, stress, and alertness.

Don’t even keep your phone in your room. It’s light and any vibrations or sounds that it makes will wake you up, especially if you know that important messages could arrive at any minute. Try charging your phone somewhere else, such as the kitchen or living room.

2. Communicate That You’re Unavailable at Night

As a business owner, you want to be available to your clients. However, you shouldn’t sacrifice your sleep in order to do that. You need to set boundaries with your customers, employees and clients. Let them know what your available hours are, and stick to it.

Don’t respond to emails, calls or texts overnight. Protecting your sleep starts with your actions. When others see that you protect your private time, they will too. Keep in mind that you’ll need to set up “do not disturb” options on your communication platforms for the hours that you’re unavailable. Most of them will allow you to set this up once, and it will keep the schedule for you.

For example, if you don’t want to be notified of new Slack messages at 11:30 pm, you can set up a “do not disturb” for 11:00 pm to 7:00 am Monday through Friday. You may want to expand this for weekends so that you can enjoy a better work/life balance.

3. Develop a Calming Nighttime Routine

Most entrepreneurship bloggers write about morning routines and the necessity of them. You also need a good evening routine that will help you wind down at the end of a long day. Going from 100% work mode to calm, relaxed and ready to sleep can’t be done in an instant. Stop working at least one hour before bedtime. This includes not using any screens in that hour.

Don’t watch TV, use your laptop, make calls or scroll through social media during that time. The blue light from the screens interferes with your body’s ability to release melatonin, which is the hormone that lets your body know when to sleep and wake up.

Consider getting a pair of blue light filtering glasses. They may help you sleep better if you have to work in the evening. If you go to bed at 11:00 pm, your nighttime routine should start at 10:00 pm. Your routine might include washing the dishes or tidying your living room, showering, brushing your teeth, meditating, stretching, putting on your pajamas, fluffing your pillows and getting into the bed, etc.

4. Outsource Your Nighttime Tasks

As an entrepreneur, you know what you’re good at and what you’re not. Instead of trying to do it all, outsource some of what you don’t like or aren’t good at doing. Delegating tasks to contractors, freelancers or employees can help you optimize your time. If you have a virtual assistant in another time zone, they can handle your emails and other issues while you sleep.

5. Track Your Sleep

If you track revenue, growth, and other metrics, you know how the data can be useful. Tracking your sleep data is also useful and there are many apps that can help you such as Sleep Cycle, Sleep Score, Sleep Watch, etc. If you see that you fall asleep quickly, but you tend to wake up every 60 to 90 minutes, this could provide you with some important clues about your sleeping schedule.

You might need to consume less caffeine late in the day, exercise earlier in the day, eat a smaller dinner, start winding down earlier or improve your bedroom environment. You might also benefit from doing a sleep study.

Sleep deprivation has serious short and long term effects. You can’t be productive or effective if you’re always groggy and sluggish. Mood disturbances from insufficient sleep can impact your relationships with your employees, customers and clients. Getting better sleep will not only improve your growing business, but it will also help improve your overall health.

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