View the accomplishments of successful business owners, and you're likely to wonder how such super-achievers find time for sleep. Indeed, the question comes up so often that you'll find industry leaders commenting on their sleep habits.
While the reported sleep habits of business owners do vary, one thing is clear. Sufficient sleep—however that looks for each individual—is vital to ensuring peak performance.
Consequences of Insufficient Sleep
The CDC found that insufficient sleep can result in a variety of chronic health conditions and performance issues. According to the CDC, these conditions include:
- high blood pressure
- heart disease
- mental distress
- faulty decision making
The issue of insufficient sleep is as common in the U.S. as it is in other counties. The January 2017 study, Why Sleep Matters—The Economic Costs of Insufficient Sleep, surveyed the sleep habits of more than 62,000 individuals in several countries during 2015 and 2016.
—Manny Medina, CEO, Outreach
“The empirical findings of this study suggest that workers who sleep less than six hours per day report on average about a 2.4 percentage point higher productivity loss due to absenteeism or presenteeism than workers sleeping between seven to nine hours per day," the study said.
The study also looked at economic loss of insufficient sleep and found, adding, “The U.S. sustains by far the highest annual economic loss (between $280 billion and $411 billion currently, depending on the scenario)."
Sleep Habits of Successful Business Owners
Given the importance of getting a good night's sleep, many business owners make slumber a priority. Here's how 11 business owners manage to balance work with sufficient sleep.
Focus on Diet and Exercise
“Sleep is a restorative time for our bodies. Many of these transformations—like cell renewal, tissue repair and memory consolidation—can be attributed to the saturation level of oxygen in our bodies. I naturally boost my oxygen level by performing deep breathing exercises during the day—especially out in fresh air. Other sleep habits I maintain are to manage stress, which can hamper sleep, through exercise, meditation and yoga."
—Mike Kisch, co-founder and CEO, Beddr
“In order to maximize sleep, I don't eat for at least three to four hours prior to bed and refrain from consuming caffeine, including coffee, green tea, dark chocolate and soda, at least five hours before bed. Melatonin (1-3 mg) dissolved under the tongue 60 minutes before bed can also be helpful."
— Daniel Pozarnsky, chiropractic physician and owner, Balance Chiropractic & Rehab
“Our bodies rely on healthy circadian rhythms to repair, detoxify, balance hormones and clean up memory. Not getting enough sleep is like being chronically jet-lagged. My sleep habits include drinking a big glass of water upon waking, because the body runs on water, not coffee. I also take a probiotic, because low gut flora causes inflammation, and inflammation makes the body fatigued."
—Mary Brooks, certified integrated nutrition coach and owner and creator, Sustainable Nutrition
Be as Consistent as Possible
“The key is to get a consistent eight hours of sleep per night all week long. Some people sleep less hours during the work week and more on the weekends, the latter of which might feel refreshing. But maintaining consistent sleep habits is best. My sweet spot is eight to nine hours a night."
—Jonathan Rosenfeld, founder, The Nursing Home Law Center
“For me, it's about setting and abiding by consistent routines. I get up at 6 a.m., meditate, exercise and set clear intentions for the day. This routine ensures I'm clearly focused and productive during the work day. Therefore I don't feel overwhelmed and stressed, which means I can finish work at a reasonable hour and unwind properly before going to bed."
—Rob Webber, CEO and founder, MoneySavingPro
“An important part of being able to have some downtime as a business owner, which primes you for a good night's sleep, is to set limits on work-related communication. Unless something comes up as an emergency, one of my main sleep habits is to halt communication at a certain time each day and then resume in the morning. That way I can let myself decompress and get rest."
—Laura Orrico, president, Laura Orrico Public Relations
“The key to sufficient sleep is understanding what your body needs and setting up a routine that provides it. Recently, I tracked my sleep cycles for a month and found that five-and-half to six hours of sleep a night is enough for me. I don't set an alarm. Without an alarm, my body naturally wakes up when it's ready, which makes me more prepared to take on the day."
—Manny Medina, CEO, Outreach
“Adequate sleep is different for everyone. Oversleeping can be just as detrimental as sleep deprivation. For me, adequate sleep is eight hours. When I get more sleep than that, I might as well have only slept four hours. If I know I need exactly eight hours to be at my best performance, one of my main sleep habits is to not schedule anything that might conflict with getting enough sleep the night before."
—Harrison Rogers, founder and CEO, HJR Global
Ensure Sleeping Comfort
“I have invested in a superbly comfortable bed and bedding. I also keep my house relatively cool—my wife would say cold—at night. I sleep terribly if I'm hot or uncomfortable, so these two things help me tremendously."
—Stephen Babcock, owner, Babcock Partners
“Quality of sleep is just as important as quantity. As a business owner, you may be attached to your phone, but don't bring it into the bedroom. Your brain needs time to relax. Also set up your room to be both cool and dark. The last of my sleep habits is to use a white noise machine. Going through a sleep cycle and getting that all important REM sleep requires uninterrupted slumber. A white noise machine will help block the sounds of the garbage truck lumbering up the street at 5:30 a.m."
—Bill Fish, certified sleep science coach and founder, Tuck
“If I'm feeling wound up, as many business owners are before bedtime, I practice mindfulness, often with a meditation app. This puts me in the right frame of mind to sleep."
—Mike Schultz, president, the RAIN Group, and author of The 9 Habits of Extreme Productivity
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