If you work in a highly competitive environment, you may have come across people who brag about their lack of sleep as if it doubles as the key to success. Although this may seem outrageous now, it is important to note that these individuals probably took the advice of well-known entrepreneurs who spoke about their own sleep deprivation.
Moreover, many successful entrepreneurs have also shared their struggle with sleep deprivation. Let’s take business magnate Elon Musk as an example; Musk had publicly stated that his lack of sleep negatively harmed his physical and mental health and has since then made it a goal to get at least six hours of sleep per night if he wants to prevent a dip in his productivity.
Potential Side Effects of Sleep Deprivation
There have been numerous studies in the past and present that point to the direct correlation between sleep deprivation and increased risks of various diseases. The CDC has also reported that adults who get less than seven hours of sleep per night are more prone to chronic health conditions compared to those who get enough sleep.
Here are the top 8 conditions that can stem from the lack of sleep:
- Chronic Heart Disease
- Heart Attack
In addition to the list above, there are also other short-term problems caused by sleep deprivation such as reduced focus, as well as increased irritability; all of which will affect your productivity as an entrepreneur.
Badge of Honor? Or Societal Pressure?
Despite the attempts of health experts and scientists to warn people about the dangers of sleep deprivation, why do some still choose to wear this as a badge of honour? Well, it seems that it has something to do with the pressures of society. According to a 2019 study published in the Journal of the Association for Consumer Research, it has been found that men who sleep less are perceived as more masculine than those who get a full 8-hours of sleep. But is it entirely based on masculinity? Not really. The CDC researchers found that sleep deprivation was not only prominent with men but also with women as well. In fact, women fell short of only a few percentages compared to their male counterparts.
If not a matter of masculinity, what could it possibly be? For entrepreneurs, not getting enough sleep signifies your dedication to your work, your journey to success, so many have jumped on the bandwagon in order to feel more ‘accomplished’ in their jobs. Unfortunately, this is a trend that needs to disappear, and for good reasons, if you want to avoid heavy burnouts in your professional life.
What You Can Do
Sleep deprivation is not something we can fix with one full night’s rest. Just like how lack of sleep is accumulated, their negative effects are also accumulating over time. This means that consistent sleep is needed in order to remove yourself from the downward spiral.
Here are some of our tips to maintain and improve your sleep:
- Avoid staring into your screens (smartphones, tablets, computers) 30 minutes before going to bed – The blue light from these devices has been proven to negatively affect the quality of your sleep. Instead, opt to read a book or meditate.
- Don’t drink stimulants like caffeine a few hours before bed – This depends on your sensitivity to caffeine but it is still good to avoid them as a general rule of thumb. It is said that the effects of caffeine usually lasts for three to seven hours so be sure to consume these drinks no later than 2 pm in the afternoon.
- Create a cozy environment conducive to sleep – This depends on your personal preferences but ensuring that your room is quiet, dark, and cool usually does the trick. If you are really serious about your sleep, we recommend investing in a comfortable mattress and sheets.
A productive entrepreneur is a good entrepreneur. When you deprive yourself of good quality of sleep, you are also sabotaging your productivity at work. As an entrepreneur, it is important for us to look after ourselves just as much as we strive for excellence and something as simple as getting a good night of sleep is the best health investment we can make.