First Take Care of Yourself!
Part of being a successful entrepreneur is taking care of the details. And at the core of all these is one simple detail we think too many entrepreneurs neglect… taking care of themselves.
There’s a reason for the stereotype that people founding and running their own businesses work hard, work long hours, and endure lots of stress. They often do! But sometimes, all this commitment can take a toll on your health, potentially putting everything you’ve worked so hard for in jeopardy.
One of the things everyone needs to be healthy and effective is something we take for granted… sleep. Sleep is important for you and for everyone in your family. And each and every one of your employees will face the same challenges you do.
So with a tip of the hat to the upcoming snow removal season and the sleepless nights that often result, here is our series of tips, tricks and resources for getting more, better, and more-consistent sleep as part of your healthy and successful entrepreneurial lifestyle.
Straight From The Pros
We get our info from The National Sleep Foundation, a not-for-profit organization of researchers, health professionals and clinicians focused on sleep medicine, so this is scientifically-proven information written to help you enhance your health.
10 Sleep Tips – Courtesy of National Sleep Foundation
Healthy sleep habits can make a big difference in your quality of life. Having healthy sleep habits is often referred to as having good “sleep hygiene.” Try to keep the following sleep practices on a consistent basis:
- Stick to a sleep schedule of the same bedtime and wake up time, even on the weekends. This helps to regulate your body’s clock and could help you fall asleep and stay asleep for the night.
- Practice a relaxing bedtime ritual. A relaxing, routine activity right before bedtime conducted away from bright lights helps separate your sleep time from activities that can cause excitement, stress or anxiety.
- If you have trouble sleeping, avoid naps, especially in the afternoon. Power napping may help you get through the day, but if you find that you can’t fall asleep at bedtime, eliminating even short catnaps may help.
- Exercise daily. Vigorous exercise is best, but even light exercise is better than no activity. Exercise at any time of day, but not at the expense of your sleep.
- Evaluate your room. Design your sleep environment to establish the conditions you need for sleep. Your bedroom should be cool – between 60 and 67 degrees. Your bedroom should also be free from any noise that can disturb your sleep and should be free from any light.
- Sleep on a comfortable mattress and pillows. Make sure your mattress is comfortable and supportive. The one you have been using for years may have exceeded its life expectancy – about 9 or 10 years for most good quality mattresses.
- Use bright light to help manage your circadian rhythms. Avoid bright light in the evening and expose yourself to sunlight in the morning. This will keep your circadian rhythms in check.
- Avoid alcohol, cigarettes, and heavy meals in the evening. Alcohol, cigarettes and caffeine can disrupt sleep. Eating big or spicy meals can cause discomfort from indigestion that can make it hard to sleep.
- Wind down. Your body needs time to shift into sleep mode, so spend the last hour before bed doing a calming activity such as reading. For some people, the particular type of light from the screens on electronic devices is activating to the brain. If you have trouble sleeping, avoid electronics before bed or in the middle of the night.
- If you can’t sleep, go into another room and do something relaxing until you feel tired. Take distractions out of the sleeping environment to strengthen the association between bed and sleep. If you associate a particular activity or item with anxiety about sleeping, omit it from your bedtime routine.
Keep a record.
If you regularly have trouble with sleep, try keeping a record to isolate causes and find solutions. Here’s a pre-formatted Sleep Diary you can use that might help identify the things (literally) keeping you up at night.
A Wide impact
When you’re totally committed to your business, your team relies on you. Your business runs best when you’re running it. And to take care of your business, you have to take care of yourself and encourage your employees to do the same.
There’s obvious connections between staying healthy and being able to do your job, but there are subtler issues of performance and effectiveness that come into play when you aren’t at your best.
Studies show that sleep deprived individuals underestimate risks when evaluating the risks and benefits of important decisions. Drowsy driving is a proven danger, as is operating heavy equipment while fatigued. And Allergies, Asthma, Pain and Depression can all have an effect on (and be affected by) your sleep health.
Taking care of yourself is a great practice, and taking care of your sleep habits can be a great place to start.