While the latest CDC data suggests that one third of Americans don’t get enough sleep, a fascinating survey from the National Sleep Foundation has explored for the first time the differences in sleep by ethnicity. According to this research, Asians are the least likely group to report poor sleep. However, this group is also the most likely to use the internet every night before bed, which may include checking work emails, finishing projects or catching up on admin at a time when the brain should really be switching off. Entrepreneurs can find it tricky to power down for the night, but actually doing so is really important for better physical and mental health, not to mention boosting alertness and productivity.
Why sleep is so important
Nearly 50% of Americans have reported that insufficient or poor quality sleep has affected their day to day productivity and effectiveness; the more tired you are, the more likely you are to make mistakes, get frustrated or miss a detail you would usually spot. A good night’s sleep will help every part of your body, from your brain to your heart to your metabolism and muscles. While you sleep, your brain lays down memories, stores information and solves problems. For those with contacts’ names to memorize or complex transactions that require clear thinking, a good night’s sleep can make all the difference. It’s also a crucial period for our eyes to recover from screen time; the latest Nielsen data shows that US adults spend over 11 hours per day interacting with media, which can cause headaches, blurred vision and dry eyes.
Keeping a spring in your step
Numerous studies have found that poor sleep can impact mental health, causing anxiety and depression and lowering emotional resilience. For an entrepreneur, energy, optimism and enthusiasm are essential tools of the trade; protecting these qualities by practicing good sleeping habits is absolutely worth the investment. Psychologists have also found that a lack of sleep can negatively affect your social interactions with others; causing you to become short tempered, quick to judge or over sensitive to colleagues’ feedback. This can result in a strained working environment, making business harder for everyone.
Suggestions for sound sleep
The first step to better sleep may involve putting on your sneakers; according to the CDC, only 23% of Americans get enough exercise, which makes it harder to drop off and sleep restfully. Next, look at your sleeping environment; does your bedding provide adequate support? Look for a mattress protector that supports the natural curve of your spine, to alleviate the effects of poor posture and long periods of time spent sitting at a desk. Try to clear your bedroom of clutter and technology; a calmer environment should make it easier for you to literally switch off. Running a bath, drinking herbal tea and practicing meditation in the time before you go to bed can also help with reducing stress and encouraging good quality sleep.
An effective and productive performance at work starts with good quality sleep. From boosting your physical health and immune system, to promoting long term mental health and improving your interactions with colleagues and clients, sleep is a powerful advantage for an entrepreneur. Create a restful, comfortable sleeping environment and look forward to the results; a good night’s sleep may be one of the best business investments you make.