Managing a business is no small feat. Marketing, logistics, customer services, human resources — it all starts and ends with you. Time is money, and there never seems to be enough time in the day to manage everything. That’s why small business owners sleep less than they should.
The issue is widespread on every level of the corporate food chain. According to researchers at CareerBuilder, 58 percent of workers say they don’t get enough sleep at night. Move up the ladder, and sleep deprivation worms its way into company culture. Over 40 percent of business owners and C-level executives reckon they’re shunning sleep at least four nights per week.
“Rest is an undervalued necessity these days,” says Rosemary Haefner, chief human resources officer at CareerBuilder. “We see more and more workers check into the office at all hours of the day, give up vacation time and work even when they’re sick. Yet it’s not necessarily making us more productive.”
Not getting enough sleep can directly impact your stress levels, productivity and mood. To be successful, it’s important that you’re getting a healthy amount of sleep every night.
From challenges at work to issues with relationships, sometimes getting to bed can be difficult. But there are certain things you can do to increase the amount of shut-eye you get every night.
To start, there are some physical hacks to help prep you for a full night of rest. Those include wearing socks to bed, keeping the room at a cool temperature and waking up to natural light.
To assist business owners improve the quality of their sleep, HealthFinder.gov highlights the following tips to provide more productive sleep:
Things to avoid:
- Alcohol (can cause disturbances in sleep later in the night)
- Nicotine (smokers experience nicotine withdrawal during sleep and can get less restful sleep as a result)
- Caffeine (caffeine can remain in your system for up to 14 hours)
- Stressful situations (psychologically stressful activities can cause secretion of cortisol, which increases alertness)
- Looking at screens (backlights from tablets or phones can suppress melatonin, the chemical your body secretes to tell you to sleep)
- Late naps (naps have been associated with overall less sleep at night. The National Sleep Association suggests napping between 2:00pm and 3:00pm)
- Making up for lost sleep (attempting to catch up on lost sleep doesn’t work)
- Extra snoozing (using the snooze and falling back to can make you feel even more tired)
Tips for getting to bed quickly:
- Late night exercise is ok (vigorous late-night exercise does not disturb sleep quality)
- Take a bath (the drop in body temperature post-bath acts as a biological trigger that sleep is coming)
- Eat a small snack (late night snacks can help stabilize your body’s blood sugar levels. Stick to eating snacks with a little protein and fat like avocado and a spoonful of almond butter)
- Use white noise (white noise makes sudden changes or noises that can prevent you from falling asleep according to neuroscientist Seth Horowitz)
Tips for the best sleeping environment:
- Paint your walls blue (hotel occupants reported getting the best night’s sleep in a room with blue-colored walls)
- Wear socks (studies have shown that warm feet promote the rapid onset of sleep)
- Keep room temperature cool (maintain a comfortable room temperature between 60° to 75°)
- Sleep on a medium firm mattress (research shows that the most pain came from both very hard or very soft firmness in mattresses)
- Wake up to natural light (light naturally resets your circadian rhythms)
- Sleep on your own (People who sleep in the same bed suffer 50 percent more harmful sleep disturbances)
The message here is clear: forgo sleep, and the crucial decisions that dictate your company’s future are effectively decided in a drunken stupor. Once you’ve made a poor strategic decision, a lack of sleep will hit your business even harder.
Sleep is absolutely critical in restoring the cognitive functions workers need to solve problems effectively. Insight, pattern recognition and innovation are all hit hard by sleep deprivation. As a result, company leaders who’ve had a good night’s sleep are more than twice as likely to discover a hidden shortcut in finishing a particularly difficult task.
Finally, missing out on sleep will decimate successful working relationships. When a manager or business owner is groggy and irritable, they aren’t statistically as likely to seek out new perspectives or ask colleagues for their input on strategic choices. That lack of inclusiveness and insight will inevitably foster a counterproductive atmosphere dominated by groupthink and reactionary management.
Bearing all of this in mind, it’s pretty clear that a good night’s sleep is absolutely critical to the success of your business.