How often do you wake up tired?
Or drift off while you’re supposed to be working… or even driving? Maybe it’s falling asleep in meetings, or not feeling up for doing anything other than slumping on the couch and watching Netflix at the end of your day.
Whatever’s going on, chances are that you’re not getting enough sleep.
But how much is enough? Read enough research, and you’ll realize that everyone is giving you different advice. Even places like the National Sleep Foundation and the Mayo Clinic give different numbers. So what are you – not a sleep scientist – supposed to do? How do you know what’s right for you?
Like a lot of my recommendations, it all comes down to what feels good for you. As you’re experimenting with making the most of your badass self, add sleep to the things you pay attention to. You might be surprised what you find.
You’re a unicorn, baby. Don’t forget that. 😉
But number of hours aside, maybe you’re not sure exactly why sleep is important. Can’t you just skip a few hours of sleep and make up for it later?
The answer is you can, but it’s not a great idea. Here’s why.
The ABCs of getting your Zzz’s
There are a ton of posts written about sleep. How much to get. How to optimize your sleep. Why it’s important.
But for my money, James Clear has written one of the definitive posts about getting better sleep. Rather than add to the noise, I’ll point you to his in-depth reference instead. I’ve read it several times (at least), and every time I find something new. It’s good. Go read it.
And the New York Times also put together an interactive “well guide” that’s all about sleep. They cover some different aspects of sleep, including ways to reset your own internal clock — with a little work, you may just be able to become a morning person.
But what if you don’t have time to implement all those changes?
Make technology your bitch
If you’re going to do one single thing, I’d recommend trying to get to bed and wake up at the same times every day.
I know. An entrepreneur’s schedule is anything but regular, and sometimes that just isn’t going to happen. So my next suggestion is to step away from technology at least a couple of hours before bed.
Yeah, yeah. I’ll wait until you’re done laughing.
Also low on the “likelihood of things entrepreneurs will do” scale is staying away from screens. I get it. I’ve been there, and I still struggle with this one. But to compensate for my late-night screen abuse, I’ve devised ways to make technology work for me.
To start, install something like f.lux on your computer. I’ve been using this handy (and free) software for years now, and it really helps to make late night time on my laptop more tolerable. And recently, computer and smartphone manufacturers have gotten in on the game and created things like Night Shift for iPhone and Mac, and Dark Mode for Windows.
Whatever you choose, use something to help minimize your nighttime blue light screen exposure. Your sleep will thank you.
Relax your way to better sleep
And I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention Yoga Nidra.
Yes, you hear me talk about this practice all the time. And maybe you’re starting to think that it’s too good to be true. Well, you’re wrong. 😉
Yoga Nidra is one of my absolute all-time favorite practices because of all the amazing benefits it brings. Even if you’ve had a super stressful day, taking 20 minutes to wind down can make all the difference between laying in bed with your brain going full speed, and being able to fall asleep more quickly.
Even better news, you can snag a Yoga Nidra recording (with some pretty snazzy background music) from yours truly. You’re welcome!
From Zombie Zero to Sleep Hero
Now you know why sleep is so important, and how to make the most of however many hours you’re logging.
Taking the time to optimize your sleep can be the difference between wandering through your day like a zombie, and crushing whatever world-changing project you’re currently working on. Isn’t your hustle worth a little optimizing between the sheets?
How often do you sacrifice sleep for putting in a few more hours of work, or stay up late even though you know you’ll regret it in the morning? Leave a comment, and let’s work together on getting your Zzz’s back on track!