What does your bedtime routine have to do with your business success? Plenty. Every time you use everything you have on a given day and you’re exhausted beyond belief, and then you short yourself essential sleep, you’re borrowing from tomorrow’s success. It’s impossible to give tomorrow your all when you’re exhausted. So establishing a healthy bedtime routine is essential to the health of your business.
Here’s how you can do it:
At the risk of defying today’s conventional wisdom led by people like Arianna Huffington and the early-to-bed, “sleep eight hours” army, you must listen to your body in order to establish a better bedtime routine. Some people need 9-10 hours of sleep. Winston Churchill preferred a biphasic sleep where he slept for a few hours each night (usually from 3 am to 8 am) and again in the afternoon for two hours. Thomas Edison saw sleep as a waste of time and practiced a polyphasic sleep schedule sleeping for 30 minutes to an hour every four to five hours. Leonardo Da Vinci did the same. Figure out what makes you feel most rested and commit to that type of sleep schedule. The key is consistency.
Kill the Electronics
Most sleep gurus will tell you that you need at least an hour of electronic-free time before bed because blue light stimulates your brain and disturbs Circadian rhythms. Again, the electronics ban is something that is largely personal. Does checking your emails before bed cause you anxiety or does it allow you to feel more in control of what you’re facing tomorrow morning? Are you a light sleeper who is disturbed if someone sighs next to you or can you sleep with a freight train in your home? If you’re having issues falling asleep or staying asleep, try instituting the electronics ban an hour before bed and charge those electronics somewhere outside of your bedroom.
Do Something You Enjoy
Instead of using electronics right before bed, enjoy a quiet activity. You can read, meditate, work on word puzzles, take a hot bath, snuggle with your kids, or a hundred other activities that help signify to your brain that the day is ending. Some business owners prefer to review their day, congratulating themselves on their wins and putting together a new game plan to conquer their challenges. But don’t let this daily review cause you anxiety. If it does, turn it back to celebrating the good things that happened and being grateful for what you and your team accomplished.
By performing the same activity every night, your mind will begin to understand what the activity signals – impending sleep. The consistency and predictability are relaxing and set your brain up to expect rest.
Think Happy Thoughts
Nothing kills sleep faster than anxiety. Don’t use the end of your day to rehash the things that went wrong. Nor should you focus on everything you have to do tomorrow. Instead, practice mental control. If an anxious thought comes into your head, envision yourself holding it in your hand and then blowing it away like a dandelion seed. Next, think about something that brings you joy. Dwell only on that feeling, not the details of the thing or person. For instance, your children may bring you joy and you may decide to think about them during your wind-down routine. But then your thoughts quickly erode into how angry they made you today, how you let them down as a parent, or how you forgot to pack them lunch. Instead, focus on them, not the parenting activities surrounding them.
If you need to, transport you and your children to a happier place, like a family vacation that hasn’t occurred yet. Your happy place doesn’t have to be real. Focus on the joy to set your mind at ease enough to gently drift away to sleep.
Try Music and/or Meditation
This is another personal suggestion. Some people find music distracting when trying to sleep. If that’s you, try an app instead. Spotify and Amazon music offer sound, songs, meditations, and bed time stories. Choose what works for you. Many of these sites (as well as your devices) have timers so they won’t remain on all night.
Final Words on Getting Some Rest
The quest for sleep is one that eludes many successful business people. However, it’s extremely critical to running a successful venture. A lack of sleep can severely impair your problem-solving and decision-making capabilities.
The key to establishing a better bedtime routine is to do what works for you. If eight hours of sleep leaves you feeling groggy, try other sleep schedules until you find one where you feel refreshed. Use sounds or a fixed bedtime routine/activity to signify to your mind that it’s time for rest. Finally, if none of this is working get a professional opinion. You could have a life-threatening condition called sleep apnea or extreme anxiety, which could be contributing to your inability to sleep and stay asleep.
Finding a sleep solution is critical to your success in business. Stop borrowing energy from tomorrow. Create what you need today.