We all know that getting enough sleep is crucial to our health, but did you know it could be directly linked to your success?
Are you one of those people living in the “collective delusion” that to succeed you must burn out? You’re not alone. This notion that we have to sacrifice our time to relax and rest to achieve our goals is all too common. People working in many different industries suffer from this destructive way of thinking — it’s almost like we’re programmed to be this way.
However, skipping on your time to rest and recover is probably the least productive thing you can do. It will ultimately lead you down the path to failure — your body will eventually fail to keep up with you.
Founder of the Huffington Post, Arianna Huffington, spoke on the topic of sleep deprivation in a video for Amazon. In her dialogue, she states that “tens of millions of people around the world are living with a collective delusion that in order to succeed, you have to burn out.”
Arianna goes on to make the link between our cognitive performance, decision making, and the quality of sleep we’re getting as entrepreneurs.
How Sleep Affect Our Brains
According to Sleep.org, it can have a significant impact on many areas of our lives. These include our cognitive performance, our moods, the way we look, our reaction times, heart function, immune system…the list is endless!
Studies show a clear relationship between the amount and quality of rest and memory.
A lack of sleep can have a detrimental impact on our cognitive performance. Deprivation leads us to become less creative, reduces our productivity, and impedes our ability to make decisions.
How Much Sleep Do We Need?
The amount we need can be subjective — based on age and the quality we’re getting.
The consensus is to get around 8 hours per night. However, if you’re used to working to near burnout, you’ll likely need to get approximately 10 hours per night — enabling your body to recharge fully.
Studies are showing the effects of how too much or too little sleep can severely impair our performance. Research suggests the optimal number of hours we should be getting every night is between 7-8.
Improving Your Quality Of Sleep
You may be in bed for 8 hours a night, but what is your quality of sleep actually like?
Here are a few ways you can significantly improve the quality:
Stop Screens Before Bed
We’ve all been there — lying in bed scrolling through our smartphone, aimlessly searching for nothing.
Digital screens can have a big impact on how our brains function. Screens emit blue light, which is known for reducing the brain’s ability to produce melatonin — the sleep hormone. By stopping your exposure to screens at night, your quality of sleep will skyrocket.
No Coffee After 2 PM
This goes for any other stimulants, including energy drinks, cacao, tablets.
Keeping your use of stimulating drinks, foods, and supplements to a minimum will dramatically improve your quality of sleep.
Wind-Down Before Bed
Taking a few hours before bed to relax will set you up for a brilliant night’s sleep.
This could be meditating, enjoying dinner with your family, or watching your favorite Netflix series. Spending time focusing on things other than work will enable you to relax your mind and massively improve the quality of sleep.
Download Monitoring Apps
For those of you obsessed with stats and charts (like me), downloading a sleep monitoring app will be ideal.
Apps such as “Sleep Cycle” will track your wake and sleep cycle using sound-detection and sensory technology. They’ll show you how many times you woke up, if you snore, and will also score your quality. Knowing this information will enable you to be more proactive — helping you to make better decisions depending on your quality of sleep.
Your Sleep Patterns
As entrepreneurs, we’ve all had those sleepless nights, either working on our business or try to problem solve in bed.
Sleep deprivation can have a catastrophic effect on how our brains and bodies function — leading us to become lousy decision-makers, less productive, and having poor health.
The bottom line is this: skipping on sleep is never worth it.
Using some of the information and principles we’ve displayed above, you can start to improve the amount of quality rest you get every night — ultimately improving your health, business, and life in general.
If you’d like to know more about how you can improve your health as an entrepreneur, check out this blog here.
Written by Lewis James