For many entrepreneurs, sleep can be something that is pushed out until every last minute of activity is squeezed into our day. And once we finally collapse into our bed, exhausted, sleep eludes us. We toss, we turn, and finally fall asleep only to hear the blaring alarm shock us out of our much needed slumber to face another day, exhausted and overwhelmed. The question is, can we really be successful without sleep?
When I don’t get enough sleep, my entire day is off. I try to sleep for just a few more minutes before getting out of bed. Then I’m frustrated because my morning routine is off. I start rushing around trying to get back on track. By the afternoon, I feel like I need a nap, but I push through while really not accomplishing much. If an unexpected problem comes away, I am in meltdown mode. To compensate for my low energy, I hit the good old snack drawer, followed by a sugar crash. The evening is just a mind-numbing exercise of watching mindless TV and by the time I hit my pillow, all my problems come flashing back to me like it’s the end of the world.
As entrepreneurs, we are passionate about what we do and helping others and we want to have the energy we need to accomplish everything.
I don’t know about you but I tend to get caught up in my excitement and start ignoring all the good habits that help me perform at peak productivity. Fortunately, through awareness, I have learned that a good night’s sleep will reset everything and bring new perspective and optimism in the morning.
These are the benefits of a good night’s sleep, how you can intentionally create good sleep habits and how they help you achieve peak productivity and effectiveness in your business.
Sleep improves your outlook on your business
I don’t know about you, but when I don’t get enough sleep, I wake up in a negative mood. Life feels heavy and I tend to focus on the things that aren’t working out in my life. On the other hand, when I am well rested, I wake up energized, optimistic and ready to face my day. I have more clarity and I am excited about the vision for my business.
Sleep improves your creativity
As Entrepreneurs, creativity is an important aspect of your business. Getting enough rest opens up space in your brain to let ideas flow. With online marketing, our website and social media, sleep allows us to unleash our creativity so that we can create meaningful connections with our prospects through our visuals and messaging.
Sleep improves your problem solving
This is a big one for me. I have noticed that when I am sleep deprived, my problems seem insurmountable. I am now much more aware when this happens and simply remind myself to get a good night’s sleep and tackle my problems in the morning.
When we are well rested, we have more clarity and focus to effectively come up with solutions. Solutions to our problems but more importantly, solutions to help our customers. After all, that is why we are entrepreneurs – because we love making a difference in the lives of our clients.
These are the 7 steps I follow to ensure I get enough sleep so I can experience peak productivity in my business:
Get up and go to bed at the same time every day
We are all passionate entrepreneurs who are dedicated to our craft. We get excited about so many things in our business and want to help so many people. Our overzealous desire to get it all done can impact how we prioritize sleep and sometimes we need to introduce habits into our life to help us out
I have noticed that I need 8 hours sleep so my goal is to get to bed by 10 and wake up at 7. This gives me some time to unwind and relax before going to sleep. When I am consistent with my routine, I have noticed that I am feel more energized and am much more productive in my day.
Do 10 minutes of yoga when I get up
You may have noticed that I love Sarah Beth Yoga – she is calm, intentional and has so many great yoga routines to choose from. This 10 minute simple morning full body flow yoga for beginners helps my body wake up, gets my blood flowing and encourages me to do some deep breathing. I often take a break and repeat one of the reps during the day to loosen up my back and my spine – I can even feel my spine popping as I do the deep forward fold. The deep breathing also helps with my creativity – it opens up my mind to new ideas and services that I can offer my clients.
The 5 minute journal when I get up and before I go to bed.
Have you ever noticed how easy it is to jump into your problems first thing in the morning or focus on everything that has gone wrong just before you go to bed. These are great opportunities to intentionally set the tone to start your day and open yourself up to possibilities as well as drift off into dreamland with positive thoughts. I have a beautiful journal to capture my thoughts and use the five minute journal prompts to practice gratitude simply and intentionally. Journaling definitely helps me focus on the positive, gives me more energy and inspires me to be a more effective entrepreneur.
Limit my coffee to 2 cups per day
I love my coffee. It is one of my simple pleasures in the morning. The deep rich aroma, that very first sip when the coffee hits your palate, and of course, my favourite mug (yes, I also love mugs). After my first glass of water, my yoga practice, and my green smoothie, I lounge with my first cup of coffee as I do a few minutes of blog writing in the morning. Great coffee simply enhances the entire experience, puts me in a place of appreciation which opens up my mind to creativity.
My limit is 2 cups of coffee per day and they must be consumed before lunch otherwise I notice that my mind is wandering with racing thoughts when I go to bed. I used to think it was just stress. As I become more aware of my body and thoughts, you know, the racing heart and unnecessary worry, I have noticed that it is definitely related to my coffee consumption. Limiting coffee allows me to fall asleep more quickly with less anxiety. I sleep better, wake up more refreshed, and have more focus during my day so that I can be a more effective entrepreneur.
Get outside for a walk at lunch
Fresh air is magic medicine for the soul. Combine that with a simple walk around the block and you’ve got a perfect combination to improve your sleep. I have noticed that when I take the time for a walk, my sleep is deeper and more restful.
Fresh air is magic medicine for the soul.
Incorporating a walk into your day will give you the focus and clarity you need during the day to serve the people you are so passionate about helping. As an added bonus, the simple act of going for a walk opens your mind, enhances your creativity, and gives you the space that you need to provide the best solutions and results to your clients.
Read something soulful and uplifting before bed
Your bedtime ritual can make or break the quality of your sleep. It sets the tone for your sweet slumber so you can fall into a deep restorative sleep. After I finish up my 5 minute journal updates celebrating my accomplishments of the day (no matter how small they are) and before I ease into my bedtime yoga, I like to take a few minutes to read something inspiring and uplifting. The reading often influences my dreams and opens my mind to magically solving problems so that I wake up feeling that life is easy and effortless. Some of my favourite bedtime books are:
- Five good minutes in your body by Jeffrey Brantley and Wendy Millstine
- Simple abundance by Sarah Ban Breathnach
- Ask and it is Given by Esther and Jerry Hicks
Yoga stretch in bed
I have been using my Fitbit watch to monitor my sleep and have noticed that if I do a few minutes of yoga in bed before I go to sleep that it improves my deep sleep and REM sleep which help heal my body, and restore and improve my memory. My favourite bedtime yoga routine is by Sarah Beth Yoga – she has many free YouTube videos but this is super easy, stretches out my hips and totally relaxes me before bed – the deep breathing definitely helps.
Simple and intentional routines are best for peak productivity and effectiveness
When it comes to incorporating new activities into my busy schedule, I love the KISS principle – Keep It Super Simple, otherwise I know it won’t get done. All of the suggestions above for better sleep take less than 10 minutes each and the rewards more than make up for the time. Imagine having more clarity, better focus and improved creativity to serve your clients and transform their lives. It can be as simple as adding one practice a week into your schedule so that you can become the entrepreneur you aspire to be.