Don’t believe everything you hear about successful entrepreneurs powering through workdays on a few hours of sleep. The stereotype is dangerous for your health, and probably for your business.
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Successful business leaders work under stressful conditions. They often wear many hats in their enterprise, juggling many different responsibilities. They must lead their company and inspire their workers to succeed. While that may sound like an excuse for not getting sleep, it’s actually a case for more rest.
Good, restful sleep helps heal the body, restore energy and reduce health risks. A bad night’s rest can lead to agitation and crankiness. It can disrupt concentration. It also takes a toll on the body, contributing to more serious health issues like heart disease, obesity, and diabetes. A successful entrepreneur avoids these problems by committing to taking time out to sleep.
It takes more than a comfortable bed and a silk pillowcase to improve your sleep. Consider these reasons why any business leader should act now to rest more and perform at a higher level.
1. Improve brain function and concentration
There is such a thing as brain fog when the mind wanders or has trouble concentrating. One contributor to this condition is a lack of sleep. Without enough rest, it is difficult to recall details and absorb new information. Practically speaking, your brain lacks time to properly store memories with less sleep. Sleep helps improve learning and memory.
When the body rests for at least seven hours, brain function improves. Research has shown that sleep increases cognition, performance, concentration, and productivity. It’s an opportunity for your brain to catch up with the body. A lack of sleep over an extended period of time has the same effect on the brain as being drunk has.
2. Boost mental health
Beyond the physical benefits, a good night’s sleep also helps your brain process emotions. Sleep ensures your brain can perform in a positive way when it comes to emotional response. It also helps reduce mood disorders, such as anxiety, panic attacks, and depression. Some research associates poor sleep with an increased risk of death by suicide.
There is something to be said about the phrase, “you should sleep on it.” When your body is fully rested, you increase your ability to react more productively to situations. Poor sleep also interferes with your brain’s ability to process important social cues and interact productively with others. Bedtime resets your body and mind, allowing a fresh start for the next workday.
Sleep disorders like obstructive sleep apnea and insomnia can lead to other serious conditions, such as depression. These disorders can lead to long-term, chronic health problems. Consult your doctor if you experience such disorders.
3. Help keep the weight off
One of the biggest risk factors for obesity is a lack of sleep over an extended period of time. Rest helps keep the weight off through healthy hormone production, including the leptin hormone that hinders appetite. There is also research that shows good sleepers eat fewer calories. People who sleep less struggle more than good sleepers to manage their appetites. Better sleep also helps restore the body’s energy and increase interest in exercise.
4. Become a better athlete
Many successful business leaders take time to exercise as a way to decompress. You can improve your athletic performance with more sleep. Rest restores the body’s energy and helps increase stamina for sports like running, swimming and cycling. A lack of sleep also takes a toll on the motivation needed to finish that workout.
A proper amount of sleep also helps restore and repair muscles after a tough workout. It also increases your body’s reaction time, which is necessary for activities such as boxing. Without a good night’s rest, it’s harder for your body to face your workout’s mental and physical challenges.
5. Keep your body healthy
As is true with mental health, research links many diseases and chronic physical conditions to a lack of sleep. Poor sleeping habits can increase your risk of heart disease. Good rest reduces your blood pressure, which gives your heart and blood vessels much-needed downtime. The less you sleep, the more your blood pressure remains high. A major contributor to heart disease and stroke is high blood pressure.
Research also connects poor sleeping to increases in blood sugar and decreases in insulin sensitivity. This can lead to symptoms of prediabetes and, left untreated, diabetes. Sleeping less than six hours a night for an extended period can increase the risk of type 2 diabetes.
Sleep deprivation can also cause inflammation in the body, including in the digestive tract. This can lead to lower GI disorders, such as inflammatory bowel disease.
Sleep’s role in success
There are many demands on an entrepreneur who is working hard to build a business. But one of the most important is the mandate for a good night’s sleep. This is something that you can easily control in a 24-hour day that often features many things you can’t. Help your body and mind perform at their highest levels by enjoying a full eight hours of sleep.