At the core of the Entrepreneurs' Organization (EO)'s mission is an unwavering commitment to helping entrepreneurs at every stage learn and grow to new levels of leadership. In recognition of Global Entrepreneurship Week, November 12-16, EO will host EO24/7, a five-day, free virtual learning event that includes a Day One focus on well-being with expert tips to help entrepreneurs maintain good health in mind, body and spirit--like this:
Did you know that the week after the US sets its clocks back to standard time each November is designated as Drowsy Driving Prevention Week? It draws attention to the dangers of driving after a night of less-than-optimal sleep: According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, drowsy driving causes more than 100,000 motor vehicle accidents in the US each year.
If a sleep deficit is that dangerous when driving, what are the implications at work? Does sleep impact your ability to be productive and make good decisions?
Sleep is undervalued
For entrepreneurs, sleep is often one of the first casualties of growing a company. In our culture where being busy and working beyond capacity is celebrated, sleep is undervalued--but that is changing as we learn more about the importance of adequate rest.
Instead of being wasted time, there's mighty ROI in a good night's sleep, especially considering that a lack of sleep contributes to a host of health problems, from heart disease to obesity to reduced cognitive function.
Yet, approximately 100 million Americans don't get enough sleep.
EO Colorado's Megan Hottman, a lawyer who considers it part of her life's mission to help other entrepreneurs become healthier, happier people who take care of themselves, found herself struggling after neglecting sleep.
"I was running my law practice as I launched another business, sold and purchased real estate, changed insurance companies and refinanced a commercial real estate loan--all while also training hard physically," Megan recalled. It was only when her health began to suffer that Megan began to take sleep seriously, instituting a sleep strategy that helps her catch more z's.
If you're one of the millions of people around the world who don't sleep enough, here are eight tips for getting more quality time with your pillow.
1. Schedule sleep
You schedule sales calls, vendor meetings and weekly standups, but have you ever considered scheduling sleep? By carving out eight-plus hours on your calendar and sticking to it, you'll avoid over-committing while affirming that sleep is a priority.
2. Monitor caffeine intake
Coffee may be a warm, welcome boost, but it could keep you up at night if you drink too much, especially late in the day. Using caffeine as a crutch is an indicator of poor sleep, so consider switching to decaf, herbal tea or water.
"Dehydration is a leading cause of daytime fatigue," notes Gerry Morton, CEO of EnergyFirst. Keep that in mind the next time you reach for a caffeinated beverage that could potentially disrupt your sleep schedule.
3. Get moving
Regular exercise can help you fall asleep as soon as your head hits the pillow--and, of course, is good for the entire body. It's a best practice to schedule workouts to end at least three hours before bed so you can fall asleep quickly.
4. Blue screen blues
Do you check your phone, laptop or tablet before bed? If so, blue light may be suppressing your body's production of melatonin, a key hormone for sleep. Avoid screens two to three hours before bedtime and, to eliminate texting temptation, implement a no-phone policy in the bedroom.
5. Be consistent
When you deviate from your sleep schedule, it's hard to catch up and get back on track. Maintaining a consistent sleep schedule, even on weekends, helps your body know when it's time to sleep.
6. Meditate regularly
"Physiologically, when you meditate, you enter a state similar to deep sleep," said author and attorney Jerry Teplitz, Ph.D., who promotes meditation as a healthy practice for entrepreneurs. "Your vital signs are lower than in a normal state of sleep, so in effect, you give your cells and body a tremendous rest in a very short time."
7. Make a list
Getting thoughts out of your head and onto paper works, according to psychotherapist Jonathan Alpert: "Write out everything on your mind that needs to be dealt with, and place it with your keys for the next day," Alpert recommends. "Out of mind will help eliminate the chronic worry that often keeps people up at night."
8. Keep wellness top-of-mind
Your health significantly impacts your company and its future success. To maximize both health and productivity, consider the revolutionary art of biohacking, a process that Dr. Vanessa Ingraham and Ben Ridler describe as using science, biology, and self-experimentation to take control of and upgrade your body, mind and life. The process can help you become more energetic, productive and stress resilient--and consequently, more successful.
How can you cultivate a mindset of good health? Leverage daily opportunities to learn about wellness practices through podcasts, apps and other virtual learning opportunities where business leaders, doctors and wellness experts offer knowledge and advice to implement in your quest for living well. Your body, mind and business will reap the rewards.