Sleep is crucial for everyone, but it is vital for entrepreneurs who want to perform at a high level. However, 35% of adults in the U.S report not getting the suggested 7-9 hours of sleep per night. Not getting enough sleep has been linked in several studies to memory impairment. Without proper sleep, your brain struggles to function correctly. Over the long haul, insufficient sleep may put someone at a higher risk of cognitive decline and dementia.
Lack of sleep can also increase anxiousness in some individuals. Sleep deprivation can intensify anxiety, spurring a negative cycle of insomnia and anxiety disorders; high anxiety levels will not help you manage your team and business.
Whether you want to improve your problem-solving, increase concentration, or just boost your immune system, getting adequate sleep is an essential first step. This article will look at eight important sleeping habits you may want to practice to help you get a good night’s sleep.
1. Stay away from alcohol
It’s a common misconception that alcohol serves as an effective sleep aid. This myth could be fueled by the fact that alcohol does induce sleep quicker; however, countless studies show that alcohol disrupts your sleep.
Alcohol reduces REM sleep
The most restorative segment of your sleep cycle takes place an hour and a half from when you first fall asleep as your body goes into REM (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep. This is when you begin to dream and also where alcohol rears its ugly head. According to 27 sleep studies, alcohol reduces REM movement, which leads to more daytime drowsiness, poor concentration, suppressed breathing, and can also lead to sleep apnea.
The level of consumption is directly related to sleep disruption
The effect of reduced REM sleep is said to have a direct cause-and-effect relationship. The more alcohol consumed, the greater the disruption in the second half of your sleep cycle. Having said that, researcher Irshaad Ebrahim, medical director at The London Sleep Centre in the United Kingdom, states, “One to two standard drinks seem to have minimal effects on sleep.”
Now that you have this information, it would seem prudent to end those traditional nightcaps to maintain a successful and restorative slumber.
2. No screen time before bed(stay away from your smartphone)
Smartphones are proving to be a blessing and a curse to modern-day living. Among the numerous benefits of convenience and capability, there comes the curse of always being connected. While this may be productive and entertaining throughout the day, screen time right before you go to bed can rob you of precious sleep.
Your brain needs time to disengage
If you are a regular social media user, you’re familiar with the range of emotions that a powerful post can give you. Discovering a post that stirs your emotions can have a prolonged effect by stimulating your brain with distracting thoughts and feelings. In many cases, this causes your brain to remain active rather than succumbing to the sweet restful darkness of sleep.
Melatonin is suppressed by blue light
Our bodies produce melatonin as a way to balance our sleep cycle. Melatonin directly impacts the timing of when you fall asleep and when you wake up as part of your circadian rhythm. The blue light from your smartphone or any digital device suppresses the level of melatonin your body produces. According to Dr. Herneet Walia, MD, your body’s internal clock and rhythm are disrupted when you expose yourself to blue light right before bed.
3. Journal before bed
Writing down your thoughts is therapeutic for several reasons. It mainly helps to organize your thoughts and get things out in the open. It’s the same concept as talking things out with someone even when they don’t have any input. Simply talking it out or writing it down makes everything seem much clearer.
Successful entrepreneurs can implement this routine for clarity at any point in the day; however, writing out your thoughts in a journal before bed helps to quiet the mind and rest any nagging thoughts that may hinder the act of falling asleep. Use your journal as one of the many sleep habits that contribute to you getting your daily quota of rest.
4. Create a hospitable sleep environment
When you can create a strong association between your room and sleep, you can improve the quality of your nightly slumber. Many people use their room to watch TV, exercise, or scroll through the latest social media posts. Get rid of as many activities as possible that distract your mind from the primary purpose of a bedroom – sleep! (Romance is a close second, but that’s another topic all in itself).
Embrace the darkness
To create the best possible environment for deep REM sleep, keep your room as dark as possible. Any form of artificial light, not just blue light, will disrupt your circadian rhythm. A dark place for rest is the ultimate environment for sleep.
Eliminate the clutter
The bottom line is that the more things you have in your room, the more distractions you have when falling asleep. Get rid of any exercise equipment, the office desk, and the hardest of all, move the TV to another room. When you go to bed, your mind should automatically associate your bedroom with shutting down and getting some hard-earned rest.
Silence is golden, but consistency is where it’s at
The trick to getting to sleep with noise distractions is to create an environment with a consistent sound. Most of the time, it’s not the actual noise that prevents us from falling asleep but those sharp or sudden noises that jolt us out of our rhythm. Noisy neighbors or appliances that make randoms sound at various times in the night can keep you from going into REM sleep. You may want to consider using white noise to drown out any disruptive sounds. Something as simple as a fan may do the trick.
Invest in your comfort
There’s nothing worse than waking up with sore muscles from an uncomfortable night’s sleep. Developing the ideal sleep habits doesn’t come without investing in a mattress that provides you with adequate back support. Pillows are also a significant component for assembling the ultimate snooze machine. The right pillow can prevent neck pain and restless nights.
Healthy body, healthy mind. It’s well known that exercise produces more endorphins to help you deal with life’s pressures. This is an excellent way to leave some of your troubles behind when the time comes to getting some shut-eye. According to multiple studies, exercise is one of the many sleep habits that decreases the time it takes to fall asleep while improving the quality of your restorative segment of sleep (REM sleep).
6. Avoid sugar and caffeine
There’s no secrets here, just straight science. Sugar and caffeine are stimulants and will get your body revved up and awake—quite the opposite of what you need when you’re winding down for the night. Avoid sugar and caffeine in the evening and you’ll not only get to sleep on time but live a healthier life as well.
7. Create a nightly routine
Humans are creatures of habit, so it only makes sense to create a nightly routine that contributes to effective sleep habits. When there’s no question as to what you’re going to do before you go to bed, you don’t leave things up to chance. Finding the proper routine that works to sustain a healthy 7-8 hours of restorative sleep is the best thing you can do to ensure you’re fresh as a daisy to tackle the day’s work.
8. Set your bedroom temperature
You may think that this is a personal choice; however, a cool temperature is the best option for a good night’s sleep. According to the Sleep Foundation, the best temperature is 65 degrees Fahrenheit (18.5 degrees Celsius), but this can vary a few degrees from person to person. Because of our circadian rhythm, our bodies expect a dip in temperature when it’s dark. Therefore, dropping the temperature at night can signal our brain that it’s time to pack it in for a good night’s rest.
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