Being a busy and high-performing entrepreneur requires a high level of emotional intelligence and methods to not let stress overtake you. And one of the biggest factors in taking control of those areas is getting sufficient sleep.
Unfortunately, entrepreneurs have a tendency to sacrifice their sleep for a few more hours of work. Not only will your waistline and lifespan be greatly affected by neglecting sleep, but your overall performance and leadership capabilities decrease as well leading to an increase in risk-seeking behaviors.
With that said, when looking to improve your sleep, most people immediately look to nighttime activities. But, getting a good nights sleep begins the moment you wake up with this one simple habit--exposure to sunlight.
Why does sunlight help with your sleep and workday
Your body has a plethora of processes going on at any moment. One of those is your circadian rhythm, known as your wake-sleep cycle and is largely controlled by the amount of light and dark exposure during the day.
With that said, there are two big hormones at play when it comes to sleep and energy levels, melatonin and cortisol.
With our basic circadian rhythm, cortisol is a naturally occurring hormone which is supposed to peak in the morning while melatonin is supposed to peak at night. Cortisol helps keep you alert while melatonin is associated with deep and restorative sleep. The issue with these arrives when you don't have them align with their natural peak production times.
Too much bright light exposure at night slows melatonin production down which leads to lower quality sleep and decreased performance the next day. While melatonin is king at night, you want to shut this off in the mornings because you're needing to get the day started.
And since you're wanting to slow melatonin and maintain a proper circadian rhythm, exposure to sunlight is a fantastic option due to helping you release cortisol in your system along with numerous other health benefits.
I know cortisol is often depicted in a bad manner, but that's because when at high levels, it does become an anchor to your health. But with proper and bountiful sleep, this isn't an issue.
Besides initiating cortisol production to help with alertness, early morning exposure to light helps with your waistline, serotonin production (which is a precursor to melatonin needed later in the day), and Vitamin D production which plays a role in your mood, immune system, and bones among many other things.
Maintaining an optimal circadian rhythm is the first and a large step toward better sleep along with improving performance in all facets of your life.