Five Simple Ways Business Owners Can Improve Their Sleep
Burning the midnight oil isn’t any fun. But the demands of a running a business can often make it feel like the only option, making insufficient sleep incredibly common among business owners. This needs to change. In the short-term, a lack of sleep can affect your appearance, impair your memory and – unsurprisingly – make you less alert. In the long-term, you risk lowering your immune system, and increase your risk for problems like high blood pressure and depression.
The demands of running a small business aren’t going away any time soon, so to be sustainable – both as a human and as a resource to your business – it’s important to look after your health. Here are our tips on how business owners can improve their sleep.
1. Let the light in
Increasing bright light exposure during the day can do wonders for your body’s natural clock. Both natural sunlight and artificial bright lights during the day can help keep your circadian rhythm healthy, improving your energy during the day, and your sleep quality and duration during the night. If it’s sunny and you have a window in your work space, make sure to draw the curtains; if it’s a particularly gloomy day, switch the lights on if you need to. If your work space is unavoidably dark, try your best to soak up some rays during your lunch break.
2. Avoid that late-afternoon coffee
Ah, coffee: it’s what gets so many of us through the day. But even though caffeine has its benefits, it pays to be careful about what time you consume it. Studies have shown that caffeine can stay elevated in your blood for six to eight hours – meaning that a cup in the late afternoon could easily leave you feeling alert at midnight (or even later). Take note of what time you drink your last cup of coffee for the day and how it affects your sleep, to see what works best for you.
3. Plan, plan, plan
Planning can be boring, but if planning is what it takes to help you sleep better, try your best to keep on top of it. Take some time out each week – even just ten minutes – to ask yourself what needs to be done for your business in the coming days, and be realistic about what’s achievable in the time frame. Scrap tasks that are inessential but desirable if they demand excessive time that would otherwise be spent sleeping or engaging in other forms of self-care.
4. Aim for a regular bed-time (and wake-up time)
Waking up before your alarm goes off feels good, doesn’t it? Well, going to bed at the same time each night and setting your alarm for the same time each day (yes, including weekends), can increase the odds of that happening – and often. While you might feel too old to have a bed-time, the potential benefits should convince you otherwise: studies have indicated that being consistent with your sleep and waking times can aid long-term sleep quality; while irregular sleep and waking times can alter your circadian rhythm and melatonin levels – meaning the signal to sleep may not be sent to your brain at the best time.
5. Keep a notebook and pen handy
If you’re prone to thinking about your business in the moments just before getting some shut-eye, it’s better to have a notebook and pen by your bed than to traipse around your home looking for one (or worse, using your phone to make notes). Getting out of bed and walking around is bound to interrupt your sleep; as is staring at a bright phone screen (the blue light that LED screens give off have been shown to slow or halt the production of melatonin in your body). Keeping paper and stationery by your bed will mean you can write down whatever those work-related thoughts are, hopefully taking your mind off them as quickly as possible so you can feel more relaxed and finally get some sleep.