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Do you rely on that Grande Starbucks latte with an extra shot of espresso to get you going in the morning because you’re sleep deprived? If you do, you’re not alone. While sleep is a necessity, most of us aren’t getting enough of it. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently declared sleep disorders a public health epidemic. Research conducted by the CDC found that 23.2% of survey respondents (almost 50 million people) reported having problems concentrating during the day and 8.6% (18 million) said that sleep deficiency interfered with job performance. The New York Times reported that 1.23 million days of work in the U.S. are lost each year due to chronic sleeplessness. Harvard sleep expert Dr. Charles Czeisler says, “Just when you need to be bursting with energy and busting stress to enable constructive, creative business thinking, lack of sleep instead reduces your ability to concentrate, calculate, think logically and remember.” Entrepreneurs are especially susceptible to sleep deprivation. In the early days, it’s tempting to stay up all night or sleep for a few hours at a time as you get your business up and running. Instead of benefiting your startup, this routine will backfire over time. Sleep is one of the most important investments you can make to succeed as an entrepreneur.
Lack of sleep affects decision making
Entrepreneurs face an endless amount of daily decision making tasks. Yet sleep deprivation takes a toll on our ability to make sound choices. One study revealed that lack of sleep might lead to making riskier decisions and not even realizing it. The study observed two groups of participants over a period of one week. One group slept only five hours a night while the other group slept eight hours a night. Twice a day they were given a decision to make with two outcomes: either receiving a fixed amount of money or gambling for a higher amount and getting nothing if they lost. Over the course of the week, the sleep-deprived participants increasingly chose the riskier option. Also, as their decision making grew riskier, they didn’t notice that change happening in themselves. In research conducted by sleep experts at Washington State University, the results revealed that no matter how hard a sleep-deprived person tried to make the right choice, sleeplessness created short circuits in the brain that prevented them from making the right decision. Another study by scientists at UCLA found that sleep deprivation interferes with brain function at a cellular level. The researchers found that sleep deprivation interferes with the ability of some brain cells to function and communicate with one another, ultimately compromising mental performance.
Famous sleep-loving entrepreneurs
While many entrepreneurs wear sleeplessness as a badge of honor, others view sleep as a priority. Here are some examples of uber-successful entrepreneurs who believe a good night’s sleep is non-negotiable:
- Jeff Bezos prioritizes his eight hours of sleep a night. He says, “Eight hours of sleep makes a big difference for me, and I try hard to make that a priority. For me, that’s the needed amount to feel energized and excited.” Getting an optimal amount of rest helps Bezos stay alert throughout the day, improves his productivity and boosts his decision making abilities.
- Arianna Huffington has been very outspoken about the importance of getting a good night’s sleep since accidentally overworking herself to the point of burnout in 2007. Contrary to what people may think, Huffington says that she became truly successful after sleep became a priority. “I have to assure you that the success at the Huffington Post happened after I started taking care of myself,” says Huffington. Now Huffington is dedicated to helping people improve their well-being through multiple books including The Sleep Revolution, and her company, Thrive Global.
- Bill Gates admits that he can’t think creatively if he hasn’t gotten enough sleep. He also reads almost an hour every night as part of his bedtime routine. Gates says, “I like to get seven hours of sleep a night because that’s what I need to stay sharp and creative and upbeat.”
Sleep isn’t a luxury. It’s a necessity. You’ve heard that old saying, “I’ll sleep when I’m dead.” Unfortunately, by sacrificing sleep, you may die sooner than you think. Harvard Medical School experts revealed that people who get less than five hours of sleep increased mortality risk from all causes by about 15%. The relationship between rest and well-being is undeniable. By getting enough sleep, you are not only investing in your own health but the health of your business. Make quality sleep your superpower and watch your business thrive.
April 25, 2019 at 06:35AM
Forbes – Entrepreneurs