The business world loves to talk about ways of hacking productivity or working long hours and throughout the night as some sort of badge of honour. Even one of my favourite motivational speakers Eric Thomas states that, “Sleep is for those people who are broke,” and so it’s no wonder why young people and entrepreneurs are convinced that good work and a lack of shut eye go hand in hand. Luckily, neuroscientists continue to conduct research and expose the real dangers that come with a lack of sleep in order to change these damaging beliefs on future generations.
Here are four reason why entrepreneurs, especially young ones, should be making nodding off one of their top priorities.
1. Poor Memory
Sleep has long been known to boost learning by consolidating memories that we accrue throughout the day. The connections between brain cells that underlie our memories are strengthened, and the “useless” ones are pruned back during sleep. If like me, you read a lot, listen to podcasts then this is all going to waste if you’re not getting enough sleep as you’re not allowing your brain to fully consolidate what it is you have learned, so you are less likely to apply this knowledge to your business venture.
2. Poor Creativity
When it comes to creativity, consolidation of memories and neural strengthening is key. When two memories come together, it’s through these connections in the brain that new ideas form. The more powerful these connections the more they instigate your original thought. This is why some people have their greatest ideas in the middle of the night, because there brain is consolidating millions of pieces of information from the day before as well as throughout your life and links are suddenly made.
3. Increased Impulsiveness & Poor Judgement
Poor judgement for new entrepreneurs can be fatal. If you decide to take out a huge loan before finding paying customers first, then you’re lack of sleep may have caused you to not assess the situations accurately and act on it wisely. Entrepreneurs need to be risk takers but wise ones. In the same way that sleep deprivations can make you reach for bad food, it will also make you more likely to pursue a dead horse.
“There’s a point in sleep deprivation when we lose touch with how impaired we are.” – Gehrman
4. Increased Likelihood of Mental Health Conditions
Sleep problems are particularly common in patients with anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). It’s no surprise entrepreneurs experience more anxiety than employees, after all we’re sticking our necks on the line for something we believe in with no real guarantees. In the latest Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index, 34% of entrepreneurs (4% points than other workers) reported they were worried. It’s very common for entrepreneurs to neglect their health especially sleep, the catalyst for a landslide of health issues.
“You can get into a start-up mode, where you push yourself and abuse your body.” – Freeman
What Can We Do About All This?
As Arianne Huffington said in her TED Talk, we need to “Sleep our way to the top.” We have a serious sleep deprivation problem world wide and I believe it plays a huge part in why the majority of the population don’t choose entrepreneurship (or themselves) as a viable way to earn a living, we’re all too tired, too anxious and to impulsive. I believe everyone is a creative at heart but our lack of sleep is killing millions of great ideas.
So what simple steps can you do today to reduce your likelihood of getting a mental health condition, to make better decisions, become a creative genius and have the memory recall of the Rain Man? Easy, GET SOME SLEEP!
Sleep Tips For Dummies
- Make your bedroom a haven for sleep. Make it dark and cool.
- Reduce light exposure before bed (avoid bright bathroom lights).
- Turn off mobile phones (or put them on aeroplane mode) and computers.
- Don’t drink coffee after lunch.
- Wind down with a book.
- Eat a teaspoon of honey & high tryptophan nuts.
- Create a consistent light cycle
Purchase one of these bad boys…
During the night, your brain uses a lot of energy. One efficient form of brain energy comes from sugar stored in your liver, called liver glycogen. Your brain taps your liver glycogen before hitting your muscle glycogen (stored sugar in your muscles), so having a little extra sugar before bed can help your brain function better at night.
A raise in blood sugar before bed increases the release of tryptophan to produce serotonin, which then stimulates the liver to store amino acids, tyrosine, histidine and phenylalanine, which increases the concentration of tryptophan, being delivered to the brain for a more deeper restorative sleep.
“Enjoy the honey-heavy dew of slumber.” – Shakespeare.
References / Further Reading:
Videos You Should Watch About The Importance Of Sleep: