As an entrepreneur, there are constant demands on your time and attention. Your business consumes you and fills most of your waking hours.
While this isn’t a bad thing, it’s important to ensure you’re well-rested. If not, your performance will suffer over the long run and contribute to founder burnout.
Founder burnout, as you may be well aware, can have a huge impact on your business’ ability to survive in a competitive landscape.
This short guide shares multiple ways that busy entrepreneurs and even executives can get better rest.
Keep a consistent sleep schedule
Sleep at the same time and get up at the same time every day including on the weekends. Sticking to a sleep schedule can regulate your biological body clock and help you sleep better at night.
That’s because your body understands when it’s required to work and when it can slack off. Keep in mind that everyone has a specific circadian rhythm and times of peak performance.
Before you settle on a sleep time, take a moment to understand what your personal rhythm is, and build your sleep schedule around it.
Create a good bedtime ritual and practice It
Avoid doing a relaxing bedtime activity in a place with bright lights. This will help separate your bedtime from things that cause stress, excitement, or anxiety.
Those three things can make it hard to fall asleep, enjoy a good night’s sleep, or stay asleep at night. If you usually have trouble sleeping, it is a good idea to avoid late afternoon napping.
I understand that a power nap can make you feel energized and better able to tackle your day. Avoid all naps if you see that whenever you sleep in the afternoon, you have trouble sleeping at night. If a nap is essential for your normal functioning, keep them as short as possible.
This seems like common sense but many people are unable to muster the will to make it happen. Both rigorous physical activity and light physical activity can be beneficial so don’t think you need to work out for an hour before you get the benefits.
Even though vigorous exercise can be more beneficial than light exercises when it comes to sleep, light exercises are better than no exercise.
Try splitting your exercise sessions up throughout your day. Instead of trying to get a big one in at a specific time, do a few minutes here and a few minutes there. This has the added benefit of energizing you throughout the day.
Create a sleep-friendly environment
A bedroom with many lights, distractions, and uncomfortable temperatures will do a lot more harm than good. I know, the work of an entrepreneur never ends but make sure you don’t take any of your work materials into your bedroom.
Try as much as you can to make your bedroom a sanctuary. It should be tranquil and keep ambient noise to a minimum. Don’t go as far as soundproofing your room because that may lead to you being unable to react to danger.
Temperature is also an important consideration. It should be between 60 and 67 degrees for optimal sleep.
In addition, you should make your bedroom a light-free zone at night. Check your sleep environment for distractions such as noises including a bed partner’s sleep disruptions like snoring. It may be a good idea to use devices like eyeshades, blackout curtains, “white noise” machines, earplugs, fans, humidifiers, and so on.
Sleep on a comfortable mattress and pillows
A comfortable mattress and pillows can ensure a good night’s sleep. Ensure that your mattress is ideal for you and provides the best back support. A good quality mattress, like Tempurpedic, can last anywhere between 9 and 10 years. If yours is older than that, it may have exceeded its life expectancy.
Comfortable pillows can make your sleep environment beautiful and inviting for sleep. Ensure that the pillows you have, wherever you may be sleeping, are free of allergens which may affect you. A simple way to do this is to wash them regularly. Also, keep the area free of objects that may make you slip or fall when you wake up at night.
Avoid bright lights
As mentioned earlier, your circadian rhythm regulates the sleep and wakefulness cycles of our bodies. Artificial bright light can confuse this rhythm and make it difficult to get to sleep at night. This is also true when the point of light is relatively small.
Avoid this by turning off all bright lights before you sleep and even using coverings for the eyes in case someone else turns on the lights. Even if you don’t have a problem sleeping with lights on, it can affect the quality of your sleep because the body isn’t designed to sleep with lights.
Avoid cigarettes, alcohol and heavy meals in the evening
It is a good idea to avoid cigarettes, alcohol, and caffeine as these things can interfere with your sleep. A big or spicy meal can result in disruptions to healthy sleep patterns as it causes discomfort from indigestion.
As such, it is good to try as much as possible to avoid eating a large meal 2-3 hours before going to bed. If you still feel hungry before bedtime, consider eating a light snack 45 minutes before going to bed.
You may also want to keep healthy snacks like fruits around because it can help control your appetite and don’t have the same effects as large meals. Also, drink water. Just make sure you use the restroom before you sleep so you won’t be forced to wake up in the middle of the night.
Always remember that your body needs time to shift into sleep mode. Therefore, it is a good idea to shift your body into sleep mode by doing a relaxing activity like reading. Some people have trouble sleeping after using an electronic device like a laptop before bedtime as the light that emanates from electronic devices is activating to the brain. If you have trouble sleeping, don’t use electronics before going to bed or in the middle of the night.
You can also consider practicing breathing exercises to get your body ready to sleep.
Daniel Ndukwu is the CoFounder of Growth Boost and the Founder of KyLeads. He brings extensive digital marketing experience to the table and enjoys helping people on their entrepreneurial journey. When not creating internet-first brands, he spends as much time as he can with his family.