Entrepreneurs are optimizers. When it comes to sleep, however, many of them aren’t getting the optimal seven to nine hours of sleep per night.
While sleep is always important for wellbeing, it’s become even more so — and more difficult to achieve — during Covid-19. Business leaders have a lot on their minds, trying to figure out how to sustain operations, address potential layoffs and create a plan for what’s to come. It’s enough to keep anyone up at night.
Sleep can be fleeting. But if it is every night, sleep deprivation will set in. Exhausted entrepreneurs can’t think straight, much less navigate a global pandemic.
Rest Keeps You at Your Best
A healthy business requires a healthy leader. Getting too little sleep jeopardizes your health, and by extension, your ability to make strategic business decisions.
According to the University of Chicago School of Medicine, two health benefits of sleep highlight its importance during Covid-19:
Stronger Immune System
Sleep is when the body’s immune system mounts its charge against infections. In other words, getting too little sleep can allow viruses like Covid-19 to get a foothold.
Even if you’re healthy, don’t assume a Covid-19 infection would be a walk in the park for you. Even younger adults are at risk of serious complications. If you’re stuck in a hospital bed, you’ll have a tough time running your business.
Better Mood and Brain Function
Mindset is everything in business, and nothing helps you handle stress like sleep. Getting enough rest balances your body’s hormones, which can minimize mood swings. It can also combat depression and anxiety, which tend to surface in troubling times.
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Even if you aren’t prone to mood swings, getting enough shuteye will clear your head. You’ll be more productive, more insightful and more creative if you get enough sleep each night.
Convinced? Then it’s time to give your insomnia the boot.
Solving Your Sleep Issues
Even in good times, business owners struggle to put their work down at night. Covid-19 has made that a herculean task. With so much stress, uncertainty, and information to process, insomnia is rampant.
Ready to tackle yours? Use these tips to do it:
Improve Your Sleep Environment
The bedroom environment can make or break a good night’s rest. Invest in a comfortable bed with linens for a cool, relaxing experience. Keep the room dark and the thermostat turned down.
If your partner’s schedule is different than yours, look for ways to make noise and light less disruptive. Get an eye mask. Wear ear plugs or place a white-noise machine in the room.
Block Out Time for Rest
Like any other priority, sleep deserves time in your schedule. Block out time on your calendar at night so nobody tries to schedule a meeting or other activity.
What about naps? Avoid scheduling these because they get in the way of the longer, deeper sleep your body needs to recover and recharge. If you’re tempted to take them, expand that nighttime time block.
Slough Off Stress
Some people are better at shaking off stress than others. Those that do it well use techniques like breathing exercises, meditation and therapy.
The good news is, you don’t need to be a yogi to destress. Spending more time with family and friends can make a night-and-day difference in your stress levels. Virtual interactions may be necessary during lockdowns, but they’re better than nothing.
Follow a Routine
Think of preparing for sleep like getting ready for a meeting. Just like a presentation, rest requires preparation. Depending on your preferences, this might be reading, meditation, a shower, music or all of the above.
One thing that shouldn’t be in your sleep routine? Screens. Excessive screen time suppresses melatonin, a hormone that cues your brain to wind down. Put down digital devices at least an hour before bed, and keep them out of the bedroom.
Mind Your Diet
What you eat and drink affects how well you sleep. Drinking plenty of water and eating healthy foods can reduce your anxiety levels. So can avoiding caffeinated beverages and alcohol before bed.
When you eat matters just as much as what you eat. Don’t eat large meals before bed. If you’re so hungry you can’t sleep, grab a small snack.
What doesn’t help? Worrying. Although it’s easier said than done, stressing about not getting enough sleep is self-defeating. Focus on what’s in your control, and forget the rest.