If you are like many small business owners, the long hours and pressures of running your business may be affecting your sleep. Earlier in the year, a survey of over 1300 small business owners by online business community Manta found that among respondents, 37 percent (nearly four out of 10), indicated they averaged less than six hours of sleep every night. That’s not enough say sleep experts, although exactly how much sleep you need depends on the individual. According to Health.com, “most adults need seven to nine; others manage fine with just six.”
The key is to find out what your body needs and make sure you get enough sleep. Lack of sleep affects your productivity; it makes it harder for you to concentrate, pay attention and solve problems. And that’s not all. Not getting enough sleep can make you sick, leading to heart disease, strokes and high blood pressure. Also when you are tired, you tend to overeat since sleep helps the body control the hormones that balance hunger pangs.
In “The 7 Sleep Habits of Successful Entrepreneurs,” sleep specialist Dr. Lisa Shives provides some tips for getting a good night’s sleep. Among them:
Turn off electronics: It’s becoming more and more difficult to disconnect. A Harris Interactive survey of American smartphone users conducted last year for security technology provider Lookout found that 54 percent of those surveyed said they check their smartphones while lying in bed: before they go to sleep, after they wake up, even in the middle of the night. Not only do our mobile devices force our brains to stay active when we should be relaxing, Shives says that the light from the devices puts our neurotransmitters into an awake position.
Write your worries away: Keep a worry journal to write down issues that are troubling you. Also write down a to-do list if you can’t get to sleep thinking about all the things you need to do.
Exercise: Shives points out that exercise releases serotonin and dopamine – the same neurotransmitters that are important for regulating the 24-hour sleep-wake cycle, known as the circadian rhythm.
Here are some other tips for a good night’s sleep from the Mayo clinic:
- Stick to a sleep schedule: Go to bed and get up at the same time every day to reinforce your body’s sleep-wake cycle.
- Watch what you eat: When you go to bed hungry or stuffed, the discomfort may keep you up.
- Get comfortable: Make sure your room is conducive for sleep. Aim for cool, dark and quiet.
- Manage stress: Control stress with breaks, delegating, setting boundaries – whatever it takes.
Don’t wait to catch up on your sleep. Make a good night’s sleep a daily habit.