An Entrepreneur’s Fight to Stay Healthy – Part II of III
This is the second part of a three part series covering entrepreneur health. To read part one, click here.
Adequate sleep may mean greater success
Sleep is extremely important and should be high on any entrepreneur’s to do list. In every decision one makes, sleep, or lack thereof, is a contributing factor. An interesting read from Science Daily shows how the lack of sleep increases one’s pension for risk.
Entrepreneurs have the tendency to sleep very little during the week. In an attempt to catch up, they sleep more on the weekend. While some of the scientific community disagrees on whether you can actually catch up on sleep, most agree that you can. The problem is, you can only catch up so much. Trying to make up 20 hours of missed sleep over the course of the weekend is not possible. An article, found on Scientific American, explains more.
Why don’t entrepreneurs sleep?
If sleep is so important why don’t entrepreneurs get enough? The first reason can be attributed to a lack of time. Starting a company is all consuming. I spend between eighty and one hundred hours per week on business related matters. Some entrepreneurs have stated they exceed 100 hours! Is there even time for sleep? The short answer is yes, but it requires work (go figure).
Let’s do the math. There are 24 hours in every day and 7 days in a week, for a total of 168 hours per week. This number, for the most part, does not change (leaving out time changes, leap seconds, etc…). Estimating a work week of 90 hours, only 78 hours are unaccounted for. With that being said, 8 hours of sleep is considered a full night’s rest (56 hours a week), though some individuals require different amounts. That leaves just 22 free hours a week for everything else.
Included in the 22 “free” hours stated above you have to commute to work, maintain a residence, and diet (discussed in part one). In order to allow for sleep, one must be a diligent time manager. To create more time, my recommendation; STOP commuting to work. On average, I used to spend 11 hours (half of my “free” time) each week getting to and from work, leaving only 11 hours for everything else! Now, I have an 8 minute walking commute, which also helps my overall fitness (to be discussed in part III). Given that catching up on missed sleep over the weekend is not possible and that it is better for the body to maintain balance throughout the week, try working 7 days a week. Spanning the work week through a full 7 days, instead of attempting to cram everything in M-F, will allow for a more regular sleep schedule. As a result, your mind and body will be thankful.
The second reason entrepreneurs don’t get adequate rest is because they simply cannot sleep. Shutting down the computer is easy in comparison to shutting down the mind. As entrepreneurs and problem solvers, one may think this would have been mastered by now. Truth be told, it is not easy to stop thinking when it’s your company on your mind. Even after finally shutting down and falling asleep, I often wake up shortly after to have the entire process start again.
Solutions for getting more sleep
Luckily, as a business leader, you have a little control over your time. First and foremost, we have the ability to turn off our phones. Remember, YOU are the boss. To cover all bases, make sure expectations and emergency contacts are set for employees and key vendors. If completely turning off communication is not an option, consider getting a home phone or setting a number on your phone that will ring while it is on mute. On those restless nights, or upon waking in the middle of sleep, resist the urge to look at your phone. Inevitably, there will be emails and notifications. These will only activate the mind even more. Finally, try putting a pad of paper next to the bed to write down thoughts. Writing down what’s on your mind or making a reminder for the amazing idea you had will allow your mind to rest.
Being an entrepreneur can be exhausting, even with the proper amount of rest. As stated before, sleep heavily impacts decision making. A lack of sleep will only increase the likelihood of making risky decisions. Ensure that you can make the most of each day by being well-rested and alert. As an entrepreneur, you only have a limited amount of free time each week, be sure to reserve time for sleep. Your company will prosper only when you are able to make clear decisions. No one wants to get on a plane with a pilot that can’t stay awake!
Are you someone that has had trouble sleeping? Have you figured out a way to combat sleepless nights? Leave a comment to share your story with us and those facing similar issues!