Research shows that entrepreneurs aren’t getting enough sleep

How can you make sure you’re keeping both you and your business healthy?

Recent survey results reveal that entrepreneurs are among those getting the worst quality sleep every night. The study – undertaken by the Division of Sleep Medicine at the Harvard Medical School – found that around half of all CEOs get less than six hours sleep a night. The study also found that sleep quality is even worse among business owners who are just starting out.

It’s no surprise that business owners make a lot of sacrifices for their companies. Relaxation time, personal relationships and even structured eating and sleeping habits are often abandoned in favour of getting through business tasks. Even Twitter founder and CEO Jack Dorsey reported getting between four and six hours sleep a night back in 2011.

But what effect is this sleep deprivation having on the health of entrepreneurs and their businesses? A business is only as capable as its key decision makers, and a lack of sleep could actually be lowering your efficiency.

What are the effects of sleep deprivation?

Studies have found that the average individual requires between seven and nine hours of sleep a night. Getting through the odd night with less sleep than this won’t do much harm, but repeatedly missing these targets can have detrimental effects on both your productivity and your health.

The effect on your health

According to research by the Centres of Disease Control, more than a third of all professionals aren’t getting enough sleep. Because of this, more and more professionals are starting to experience repercussions in the form of serious health conditions like obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes, stress, anxiety, heart disease and even strokes. 

The effect on your output

When you suffer, your business suffers. The data produced by the Division of Sleep Medicine at the Harvard Medical School found that not only does sleep deprivation damage you, but your business too. Not getting enough sleep has a serious negative impact on your cognitive abilities. These include your memory, your mathematical capabilities, your concentration, your perception, your judgement and logical reasoning. 

This can create an endless cycle, as a reduction in productivity piles on more pressure to make a success of your business, meaning you end up putting in more time. This then leads to even less sleep, meaning less efficiency and a higher risk of health concerns.

So what can you do to sleep better?

You might think getting in a couple of extra hours of work is more important than a couple of hours sleep, but you’d be wrong. Achieving high quality sleep is vital for entrepreneurs, so what can you do to improve your sleeping habits?

Manage your stress

It’s not uncommon for entrepreneurs to have to deal with stress, as running a business is itself a stressful task. Finding a way to unwind before bed can help relieve the stresses of your work day and leave your body and your mind better prepared for sleep. Whether it’s exercise, reading, meditation or keeping a journal — find what works for you.

Give yourself a curfew

One of the most effective ways to avoid bedtime stress is to make sure you aren’t working until the last possible moment. Give yourself a cut-off point in the evening, after which you can’t check emails, carry out research or work on projects. Night time is your time, so step away from the screen.

Cut down on caffeine

Sometimes trouble sleeping can be down to something as simple as drinking too much coffee. We drink an average of 2.1 cups of coffee a day, but this number tends to jump up when we’re sleep deprived. It might make you feel more energised in the short run, but these hits of caffeine can also damage your sleep pattern the following night if drank in excess.

 

If your business is giving you sleepless nights, it might be time to seek out help and advice from our experienced business advisors. Contact TEDCO Business Support today on 0191 516 6102.