How to Get the Best Sleep You've Ever Had
We have a lot going on in our lives. We are entrepreneurs, we work while others are sleeping. We can sleep when we are dead. We have clients that need us, so sleep must wait.
Okay…but at what cost? If you are an entrepreneur, you really need to pay attention to this article. Especially if you are at all sleep deprived.
I understand you are the busiest person on earth and must work 15 hour days in order to keep your business going. And yes, this is inevitably just going to happen sometimes. But, we need to at least understand what is happening to us when we put sleep on the back burner.
What Is Sleep Deprivation
There are multiple forms. Here are some that have probably applied to you at one point or another:
- Not getting enough sleep.
- Not sleeping at the right times (circadian biological clock).
- Not getting enough of each type of sleep.
- Not sleeping well (tossing and turning; constantly waking up).
- Sleeping disorders.
How Do You Know If You Are Sleep Deprived?
This one is easy. Just listen to your body. Our bodies are damn good at telling us what it wants, and we seem to be damn good at ignoring it…
Some things you can look for (from obvious to not so obvious)
- You struggle to fall asleep at night.
- You toss and turn at night.
- You snooze your alarm multiple times before getting up.
- You struggle to get up in the morning.
- You feel groggy and foggy every morning.
- You require a cup of ‘Joe’ before you can have an intelligent conversation with someone.
- You get tired at random times throughout the day.
- Your energy levels are low and you might feel lazy or unmotivated.
- Your body craves things (caffeine, nicotine, alcohol, junk food etc.)
- You can’t focus…..and so on.
To be completely honest, if you need an alarm to wake up in the morning, you aren’t giving your body the rest that it needs.
Sadly, our society has made sleeping seem like a boring and meaningless task that takes away from time needed to do “more important things.”
Fun Fact: Roughly 36% of your life will be spent asleep. That means, if you live until you are 90 years old, 32 years of your life will have been spent sleeping.
If we are supposed to sleep for such a large portion of our lives, it must be pretty damn important, right?
We have made sleeping seem like something only the lazy, non-motivated, boring people do. Oh, and entrepreneurs? They don’t sleep. They are too busy “grinding” until 2 AM and then waking up at 6 AM.
By the way, I love the grind. It’s one of my favorite parts of being an entrepreneur. You get to lose yourself in your passion to the point where it almost hurts. But, why can’t I grind from 5 PM to 9 PM? Or if you aren’t in a 9-5. Grind all day, then get your much-deserved sleep!
Part of the reason I am so passionate about this stuff is that I used to be sleep deprived all the time and only cared about grinding away my life for my business. Once you experience what it’s like to get the rest your body and mind need, it’s hard to go back to being sleep deprived.
Our ancestors saw sleep as a beautiful and peaceful experience that was a very important part of life. We need to go back to that if we want to be healthy, happy and successful.
Some Sleep Deprivation Side Effects:
- Weight gain
- Lack of focus
- Brain fog
- Lack of mental capability
- Lack of memory
- Physical appearance changes (Bags under eyes, wrinkles, other signs of aging etc.)
- Losing your train of thought
- Weaker immune system
- Increase chance for disease
Honestly, I could give like 100 more off the top of my head, but I think you get my point…
What happens when you sleep (Why is it so important)?
When you are asleep, your brain doesn’t shut down, in fact, some areas of the brain are more active while you sleep than when you are awake. This is when RESToration takes place, which is a very necessary part of keeping your body and mind healthy and happy.
All the stuff we burned up during the day is restored at night while we sleep. Everything from your muscles to your skin cells to your telomeres (the caps at the end of our DNA strands that affect how our cells age)!
Spinal fluid is dispersed throughout your brain to flush away the gunk that built up throughout the day.
There are special genes that get turned on only while we sleep that are specifically for restoration. If we don’t sleep, they can’t do their job.
Are you trying to learn a new skill or complete a new task? Once you are sleep deprived, your brains’ ability to learn that new skill is smashed. Your neural connections don’t have a chance to link and strengthen.
Novel solutions to complex problems increase dramatically after a night of good sleep. Your brain craves sleep. Give it what it wants and it will reward you with energy, clarity and overall wellness.
Sleep is good. You’ve known that your entire life. But have you made it a priority?. Have you made it the number one priority? If you haven’t, I strongly suggest you do. In turn, you will see greater results in your life and in your business.
10 Tips For The Best Sleep You’ve Ever Had:
Go to sleep and wake up at the same time every day (or as often as possible). Even on the weekends if you can!
Limit Light Before Bed
Use the “Night Shift” feature on your phone to ease the strain on your eyes before bed (Start to turn everything off 1-2 hours before bed). Also, brush your teeth 1 – 2 hours before bed. Typically, the bathroom is the brightest room in the house…not ideal for trying to fall asleep!
Sleep In a Bat Cave
Make your room a bat cave. (Cold, dark and scary…jk it doesn’t have to be scary, unless you for some reason want it to be). Invest in shades if you need to.
Limit/Eliminate Caffeine & Alcohol
Limit caffeine and alcohol before bed. Ideally, don’t drink caffeine in the afternoon.
1.5 Hour Increments
Sleep in 1.5 hour increments. So, 6 hrs, 7.5 hrs, or 9 hrs. (I go for 7.5). Use the ‘Bedtime’ app if you have an iPhone. Otherwise, you can find an app for it. Aim to get at least 7.5 hrs every night.
Download a white noise app and play a soft, soothing sound. This eliminates the sound of your subconscious blabbering off about nonsense. Set a timer for about 30 minutes, if it turns off before you are asleep, you need to practice falling asleep faster.
Your body does a lot of healing and restoring while you sleep. Ensure you give it the right amount of resources to properly do its job. Have one glass of water before bed. Don’t drink too much as you will have to disrupt sleep to use the restroom.
Naps: 20 Minutes or 1.5 hours, otherwise you mess up your REM cycle and wake up groggy or tired instead of refreshed.
Sleep on Your Back
Sleep on your back with a supported neck to reduce back pain. I know you might be used to sleeping on your side or stomach, but if you can sleep on your back more often than not. You will see how much better it is for your back and neck.
Don’t EVER hit snooze! Place your alarm clock (phone) across the room. When you get up, walk into the bathroom, turn on the light and brush your teeth. The light as well as the mindless task will wake you up enough to prevent you from getting back in bed. Have a glass of water too.
- About an hour or two before bed. Turn everything off and read a book, meditate, stretch or whatever else you find pleasant. Leave your phone to charge out in the living room. You don’t need it!
- Practice hypnotizing yourself to sleep. There are plenty of online guides to doing this.
- Practice getting enough sleep and waking up without an alarm.
- If you still can’t wake up without an alarm, or need it as a backup just in case, go buy a cheap alarm instead of using your phone.