As an entrepreneur, the phrase “burning the midnight oil” may be familiar to you or you may even brag about catching just a few hours of sleep due to how impressive your work is and time-consuming it may be. That isn’t at all good, of course. Deep down, I’m sure you know how vital a role sleep plays in our daily lives and that it is always best to get more than just a few hours of sleep. Finding out how much sleep you really need may surprise you.
Well, it turns out that those who get merely four-six hours of sleep a day tend not to have rather productive days. It may take more hours of slumber to do so. Although six-eight hours of sleep has long been considered the ‘sufficient’ amount of sleep you need a day, scientific research suggests something else. For better physical and emotional well-being and mental clarity, entrepreneurs simply need more sleep each night no matter how great they feel.
Why sleep matters
According to studies by the American Thoracic Society, getting enough sleep is important for our bodies to cater to the fundamental work of our daily life; concentration, decision-making, creating memories and optimal function to name a few. Sleep is a restorative process which aids in everything from recovering from the common cold to bouncing back from injuries.
How less sleep takes a toll on you
Meanwhile, take sleep away – an hour or so and risk yourself to physical, mental and emotional issues on the rise. The Cleveland Clinic noted that lack of sleep can lead to high blood pressure, obesity, depression, heart attacks and many other chronic illnesses. Where entrepreneurs are concerned, lack of sleep can also negatively affect your productivity, alertness and reaction time.
How much sleep is enough?
Everyone needs a good night’s sleep. So, how much sleep do you really need? Thanks to a report from the National Sleep Foundation, you can now aim for the targeted amount of sleep tailored to your age-group. The foundation carried out a study that took more than two years of research to complete with the help of eighteen scientists and researchers and six sleep specialists and representative from organisations. The representatives from groups included the American Physiological Society and American Psychiatric Association to name a few.
The amount of sleep needed for adults in different age ranges were narrowed down to:
- Younger adults (18-25) : 7 – 9 hours
- Adults (26-64) : 7 – 9 hours
- Older adults (65+) : 7 -8 hours
Is it sleep quality, quantity or both?
The aforementioned numbers are targets. This is because, business owners have their own optimal sleep needs. This is when the quality of sleep comes to question.
Sleep quality centers around how well you sleep. Are you able to fall asleep within 30 minutes from the moment you shut your eyes and rest soundly on your pillow? Can you sleep soundly for hours without interruptions? Will it be possible for you to quickly drift back to sleep if at all you were interrupted? Most bad sleep quality patterns center around insomnia: restlessness and the ability to fall or stay asleep.
The “short sleepers” syndrome
The American Thoracic Society stated that there are people who are able to function well despite less hours of sleep and do not suffer from insomnia or daytime sleepiness. However, this does not apply to most of us. A few are able to sleep with less hours of sleep each night while remaining healthy on a long-term basis.
Getting better sleep
Here are some ways for you to improve the quality and quantity of your sleep, an essential component for leading entrepreneurs.
- Set a schedule for yourself to go to bed and wake up every day. This may be rather hectic for some entrepreneurs due to their work schedules but nothing is impossible when you set your mind to it.
- Avoid electronics (TV, Smartphones, Tablets) and bright light at least an hour before bedtime.
- Sleep in a dark, cool room.
- Invest in comfortable beds and pillows that can help you induce sleep.
- Have a change of diet so you minimize your caffeine and alcohol intake. This may disrupt your body rhythms and ability to get sound sleep.
- Take the time to exercise daily whenever possible. Physically wearing out the body encourages restorative sleep necessary for muscle repair and restore depleted energy levels.
- Have a relaxing bedtime routine (i.e; a set of relaxing activities you do every night in the same sequence)
Make sleep a priority
To succeed as an entrepreneur, it is important to care for your body and mind. This is when you will need to prioritize sleep, exercise, a balanced diet and healthy lifestyle patterns.