Who Has Time To Sleep When Running a Business?

Say to an entrepreneur, “You have to sleep more” and they scoff. For some reason, entrepreneurs embrace the consistent shunning of their own personal well-being and lives. Unfortunately, while this may feel like initiation dues into the club, it ends up making you less efficient and effective.

“Your wellbeing is a priority.” 

You Must Sleep

It is impossible to maximize your time, potential and brainpower unless you sleep. I know what you are saying to yourself, “Who has time to sleep?” Not sleeping is the same as not protecting an asset of the company. If your vision was to make widgets, and you had a killer widget machine, wouldn’t you make sure it had fuel and was properly oiled? It is hard to get sleep every day when you are the entrepreneur but you must. Here are a few suggestions:

  • Eight hours once per week. One day per week—preferably in the middle of the week—get eight hours of sleep. After the financial crisis of 2008, I was working twenty hours per day, but every Wednesday I went to bed at 10 p.m. and got eight hours. Made a world of difference.
  • Take daily naps. Each day close your eyes for thirty minutes. No more than thirty minutes. Any longer and you run the risk of developing “sleep inertia”—that groggy feeling that takes a considerable amount of time to shake off. Power naps not only alleviate sleep deficits, but they boost our brains, including creative problem solving, verbal memory, and perceptual object and statistical learning. Napping improves our mood and feelings of fatigue, is good for our heart, blood pressure, stress levels, and surprisingly, even weight. Where am I going to nap, you ask? Be creative. Under your desk, in your car, in the park, on your lunch break. One entrepreneur said that he would doze off in a bathroom stall when the hours got extra-long. You don’t have to go that far, but make a plan for a short break. You’ll feel the improvement in everything you do.
  • Hitting the Pillow Means Sleep. When you put your head on the pillow at night, don’t waste time thinking about problems you can’t fix at that moment. When you are lying in bed, there is nothing you can do about your company’s issues. Once you decide to sleep, don’t think about the business. Find your version of counting sheep. I used to let my mind wander to a college baseball game or to a childhood memory. Regardless of your version of the strategy, make the commitment that once you put your head on the pillow, you are not going to waste time on things you can’t impact.

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