Most everyone knows that lack of sleep can be harmful since sleep affects a number of aspects including mood, risk of depression and certain psychiatric disorders, immune system health, and cardiovascular disease. Yet the high stress of working extra long hours and running a successful company often finds entrepreneurs trying to function on very little sleep. Getting a good seven or eight hours of restful sleep a night is a very important element to the success of any entrepreneurs’ business. Sleep directly affects executive function, which is the part of the brain that’s responsible for key decision making, memory, response time, and creative thinking. Consider the following six sleep habits that can lead to higher levels of success overall.
1. Power Down All Electronics Before Going To Bed
Shut off all your electronic gadgets at least an hour before you intend to go to bed. The light they emit causes your neurotransmitters to go into ‘awake’ mode. Also, electronic gadgets force the brain to remain active when it should be de-stressing and relaxing. Part of the process of becoming drowsy at the end of the day includes your core body temperature starting to drop so make sure to spend the hour before going to sleep doing something very enjoyable and relaxing like talking to your partner about something pleasant or reading a book. It’s also very important to create the ideal sleep atmosphere. The best sleep environment includes creating a space that’s quiet, dark, and cool. Be sure to remove any light and noise disturbances by charging your phone or other gadgets outside your bedroom so you won’t be tempted to respond.
2. Sleep On A Comfortable Mattress And Pillow
Having a mattress that is suited for your body type can drastically improve the quality of your sleep. Most people don’t know that the firmness of your mattress is dependent on your body type and helps with the curvature of your spine. Choose a mattress that will align your spine and still be soft enough and comfortable enough to help you sleep. Make sure to replace your mattress after so many years or with signs of age as mattresses don’t last forever. If budget is an issue, consider getting a mattress topper to provide extra comfort, support or protection. As for pillows, you want to make sure they’re not more than 3 years old and make sure they’re still plump, or even consider sleeping without a pillow.
3. Relieve Your Worries By Writing Them Down
If you go to bed and your mind keeps racing about certain events of a particularly stressful day, write down the issues that are troubling you in a journal. For people who are stressing over extensive to-do-lists, write them all down on paper as well. This tells your mind that it’s okay to rest now since you can revisit the list in the morning and start getting things done.
4. Avoid Drinking Alcohol Before Going To Sleep
Although alcohol can help many people fall asleep, it negatively impacts the quality of sleep. Alcohol-induced slumber is somewhat lighter, which means there’s significantly less REM, the most vital phase of sleep. Also, alcohol can easily wake people up during the night. In fact, most people will naturally wake up after approximately four hours since that’s about how long it takes to normally metabolize alcohol. However, once they’re awake they often have a difficult time going back to sleep. Even though studies show that a single glass of wine during dinner can positively affect cardiovascular health, experts say to avoid consuming alcohol at least two or three hours before going to sleep.
5. Wake Up To Natural Light
Both morning and evening are critical to your general sleep habits. Waking up to natural sunlight resets the circadian rhythm of your body by making sure you get more tired during the evening hours. Start your day right by sipping your coffee while watching a beautiful sunrise.
6. Avoid Eating Sugar-Laden Foods Before Bedtime
If it’s almost bedtime and you’re craving a snack, grab something that’s rich in protein or healthy fats like yogurt instead of one high in sugar and starch. Sugary snacks or simple carbs give the body energy that’s generally followed by a crash, which can disrupt your normal sleep pattern.
Manage Your Sleep Habits
Although some people require less sleep, it’s quite rare to continue doing this without it eventually impacting their health. This concept is the same as eating a poor diet over a number of years and although you may still be able to function, eventually the affects will catch up. Because many individuals aren’t aware of the negative effects that poor sleeping habits can potentially have on their overall health, they often mistake the key symptoms with other causes, such as lack of exercise, aging, or stress. Experts agree that while it’s probably challenging to modify your sleep habits, it can indeed be done. In fact, in most cases it only takes a few weeks overall. But, this means altering your lifestyle in addition to changing your actual bedtime. For most people, this can be rather difficult. It may mean no more late night TV or surfing the Web. When it comes to the actual amount of sleep that’s necessary for optimal function, everyone is different. The key is to be in control of your specific sleep patterns no matter how stressful your job or busy schedule keeps you running all day long.
Frank is the author and founder of www.thesleepjudge.com. A blog all about improving your nights rest with the best advice and sleep products on the market. Connect with me on Google+, Facebook, Twitter, About.me