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The Undeniable Importance of Sleep In the Entrepreneurial Process

November 14, 2014

One thing that most passionate entrepreneurs have in common is that if given the opportunity, they will choose growing their business over sleep. I know we’ve definitely traded sleep for work while growing The Content Company.

And while cutting back on your sleep hours definitely gives you more time to build your empire, you may end up hurting the business and your health in the long run.

Poor Decision-Making

Naturally, the business decisions you make during all stages of the process are extremely important. Just a few bad decisions can mean the difference between explosive growth and bankruptcy.

A study in the Journal of Neuroscience discovered people make riskier financial decisions when they are deprived of sleep. Unfortunately, the decisions weren’t risky and intelligent, though.

Sleep-deprived people tend to be more deluded about the validity of their decisions than someone who is well rested. Risky decisions from a deluded mind don’t bode well for long-term business success.

The Memory Booster

It’s no secret that improving sleep habits can also increase learning capabilities. When you get sufficient sleep the memories you’ve built up during the day are consolidated and the connections between brain cells linked to memory become stronger. 

This means that “sleeping on it” may help you remember any new information you’ve taken in, strengthening your reserves and giving you more ammo for smart business decisions. When your cognitive function is impaired, it is difficult to remember those little details that are going to help you surge ahead of the competition. 

Health Issues

Feeling lethargic and struggling to make crisp decisions is one thing, but trading sleep for your health is quite another. You can’t run your business successfully when you’re sick, and depriving yourself of sleep on a regular basis can certainly make you sick.

Here are a few of the health issues you might expect if you don’t give sleep the respect it deserves:

  • Increased colds and flu

  • Inflammation in the cardiovascular system that may lead to heart disease.

  • Insulin resistance that can lead to Type 2 Diabetes.

  • Increased risk of weight gain and obesity.

  • Greater risk of mental health problems.

Take a Nap

If sleeping roughly one-third of your life away just doesn’t seem in the cards, consider adding a daily nap to your routine. The National Sleep Foundation has found that taking a 20 or 30-minute nap during the day can have multiple benefits. These include: 

  • Increased short-term alertness

  • Improved performance

  • Fewer mistakes and accidents

  • Improved mood

People like Albert Einstein, Thomas Edison, Winston Churchill and JFK were known as regular nappers, so you’ll be in good company. And while a daily nap won’t necessarily make up for chronic sleep deprivation, it will help.

As an entrepreneur, try to think of the big picture and keep in mind that your health and performance are major pieces. Do yourself and your business a favour. Learn to shut off your brain and go to bed!

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