A good night’s sleep is an entrepreneur’s best friend. If you’re not getting enough sleep, you’re not at your best, and according to research by ResMed, more than 79% of Americans aren’t at their best. Every aspect of life from the personal to the professional is affected by a poor sleep schedule.
- Make sleep a time management issue. The more regular your rhythm, the better your body will abide it. Lots of people set an alarm to wake up, but few set one to remind them it’s bedtime.
- Nap smart. Napping is a great way to recharge and reset your alertness, but if you have trouble sleeping at night, a nap can make it harder. Limit naps to 15-10 minutes in the early afternoon.
- Set the mood. To make your bedroom the ultimate restful environment, use the National Sleep Foundation’s guide to using all five senses to create a sleepy sanctuary.
- Exercise. Getting in enough movement during the day makes you less antsy at night and allows your body to spend more time in the most restorative sleep stages. HelpGuide.org advises, “It can take several months of regular activity before you experience the full sleep-promoting effects. So be patient and focus on building an exercise habit that sticks.” Exercise also helps you to…
- Get more sun during the day. Your body has evolved to be awake when it is sunny, and an essential part of establishing a solid sleep routine is to work with the light. When you get up in the morning, get into the sunlight as soon as possible. Letting more natural light into your workspace also helps. Working with the light also involves keeping light away from your sleep time…
- No screens at night. Artificial light and blue light from screens make your brain think it’s still daytime. To signal your brain that it’s time to sleep, turn off the TV and put down your devices an hour before bed. Most smartphones now come with a setting that allows you to turn down the blue light at a certain time, so if you simply must check in before sleep, use them.
- Stop snoozing. A solid night’s sleep starts with a shiny morning. Hitting snooze may get you a few more winks, but snoozing actually has negative effects on your energy because it doesn’t allow you to get back to restorative sleep. Instead, set your alarm for the time you actually have to get up, allowing yourself more time in quality sleep mode, and put the alarm far away so you have to get up to turn it off.
- Say no to nightcaps. It may seem like a glass of wine before bed relaxes you, but it actually makes your sleep less restful. Dr. Rajkumar Dasgupta, spokesperson for the American Academy of Sleep Medicine says, “Alcohol messes with your sleep cycles, resulting in more arousals, and causing you to spend less time in the important deep sleep stages.”
- Lean dinners and a light bedtime snack. Big, rich meals make it harder to sleep, so lighter fare is better for sleep. If you are going to eat a heavy meal, try to eat earlier so your body has time to digest. For those who aren’t bothered by indigestion, a light snack like yogurt or a banana before bed is sometimes beneficial.
- Read at bedtime. Fill in the last of your usual screen time with some light reading. Six minutes of reading is proven to lower stress and help you relax. If you’re not a bookworm, read a magazine or keep a collection of essays or short stories that interest you. And if reading just isn’t your thing, listening to an audiobook or a podcast in bed to distract and settle your busy brain.
The Sleep Revolution by Arianna Huffington