Why Do Successful Entrepreneurs Sleep More and Work Less? As entrepreneurs try to grow their businesses for the future, their to-do lists are often long and their time is limited. It may seem reasonable to give up sleep in order to get more done. But not getting enough sleep isn’t an excellent way to be more successful; in fact, it makes it harder for entrepreneurs to do their jobs during the day.
This message is starting to sink in. Now that big names in the business like Jeff Bezos and Arianna Huffington are speaking out about the importance of getting enough sleep, the sleep-deprived entrepreneur might become a thing of the past.
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The Myth: Sleeping is a waste of time
You’ve probably heard people say that you should only sleep four hours a night or take 20-minute naps every few hours. People praise these mythical sleep schedules because they supposedly give you more time awake to get more done. But it has been shown that most of us don’t benefit more from getting less sleep. It’s definitely not the norm.
It has been shown that people who don’t get enough sleep are more irritable, forgetful, and anxious, among other things. Those who don’t get enough sleep also have less focus, coordination, and energy at work. Any one of these effects by itself isn’t the best way to be successful, especially when running a business.
When a person doesn’t get enough sleep, other things can affect their health. If a person doesn’t get enough sleep, they are more likely to gain weight, have high blood pressure, and be more likely to get diabetes or have a heart attack. So, if you run a business, pay attention to your sleep cycle, and you won’t have to pay the price. Keeping your body in good shape will also mean you miss less work due to sickness and have more time to do the things you love outside of work.
Another problem is that you can build up a “sleep debt” if you don’t get enough sleep for more than a few nights. This debt can’t be paid off by “making up” for one bad night of sleep. In fact, the effects of not getting enough sleep won’t go away until you change the way you sleep for good. People often think, “If I don’t sleep, I can make it up later.” This is not true at all.
So, while some businesspeople may see not getting enough sleep as a badge of honor, don’t be one of them. Instead, use some of the tips below to make time for sleep in your busy life.
1. Set up a Good Sleep Schedule.
Think about your day from the time you wake up until you go to bed. If you know how your day goes and where you spend your time, you can make a sleep schedule that fits your needs perfectly. Most adults need between seven and nine hours of sleep each night to feel rested. That includes time in bed and time sleeping. It takes most people about 15 minutes to fall asleep, so keep that in mind as well.
If you give yourself that magic eight hours, you’ll have enough time to fall asleep and deal with interruptions. Most of the time, we don’t know how much we’re sleeping because our tossing and turning keep us awake.
2. Cut back on what you have to do at work.
This may be hard for people who are just starting a business, but giving yourself time to sleep will help your business grow. If you have people working for you or next to you who can take on some of your responsibilities, let them.
If that’s not possible, look at your workload and decide what needs to be done right away and what can wait. Life will always give you new tasks, goals, and deadlines, but putting sleep first starts with putting your workday first.
3. Try to sleep whenever you can.
If you have a very busy schedule, try to take a nap whenever you can. Short naps of ten to twenty minutes have been shown to make people smarter. But a nap that lasts more than 20 minutes can put you into REM sleep, which makes you feel sleepy if you wake up in the middle of it.
Try to take a nap before 3 pm so you don’t have to stay up late at night. You can also wake up before the 20-minute mark if you drink coffee before you go to sleep. This works because it takes about that long for the caffeine in coffee to get into your bloodstream and wake you up.
Make sure to block out as much light and noise as possible where you nap so you can fall asleep as soon as possible. Distractions can make it hard to sleep well. Tell your coworkers you need to take a nap so that they can stop talking to you while you sleep.
4. Make the most of the time you have to sleep
No matter how long you sleep, it’s important to make the most of that time. So, if you want to go to bed, the first thing you should do is put away your technology. Yes, it may be hard to stop checking your email, but putting your phone away for at least 30 minutes before bed will make it easier for you to fall asleep.
A nightly ritual will also help your body connect whatever you do late at night with going to sleep. This could be as easy as putting out your clothes for the next day, reading, or taking a shower. The most important thing is to have a way to signal to your body that it’s time to sleep.
Then, when you go to bed, don’t think about what you want to do the next day. When people are under a lot of stress, they have to use any free time to solve problems or make plans for the future. But thinking about sleep will calm your mind and make it easier for you to get to sleep. If you toss and turn at night over a problem at work, it will hurt the quality of your sleep and make you less alert during the day.
5. Accept sleep and do well.
It may be nice to get as much done as possible in a day, but a nonstop mindset will hurt your productivity in the long run. Many people think that catching up on sleep here and there can make up for not getting enough sleep for a long time. Even if you don’t get enough sleep during the week, “sleeping in” on the weekends won’t make up for it.
Make sleep a priority in your career, and you’ll feel more alert, happier, and ready to change the world with your new ideas and chances.