Why Entrepreneurs Aren't Getting Enough Sleep

Posted by Darian Dozier on Jan 11, 2023 9:11:00 AM

Add a heading-Jul-10-2022-05-03-57-09-PM

In the age of the great resignation and the pandemic, more and more people are pursuing their own business. They want to be more in control of their work life balance, and have learned how to monetize their hobbies. Although being your own boss sounds great, entrepreneurship comes with its own set of struggles. 

One of those struggles is not getting enough sleep. There is a joke on social media that says I hated my 9-5 so I started my own business and now I work 24/7. Although more business owners may laugh at the irony of this, many of them live that reality. Owning a business comes with the responsibility of being in charge of all of its operations. This can be stressful and create many barriers for creating separation between work and life.

Here are some of the reasons why entrepreneurs aren't getting enough sleep and what you can do to combat that. 

The problems of sleep deprivation 

Before diving into why entrepreneurs aren't getting sleep, it's important to understand what the problem with sleep deprivation actually is. Many notable CEOs, such as Jack Dorsey of Twitter and Herb Kelleher of Southwest airlines sleep less than four or five hours a night due to the stress of running such an empire. Even historical figures such as Thomas Edison and Benjamin Franklin only averaged 3-5 hours of sleep a night. 

If these great intelligent minds can operate on that little amount of sleep, shouldn't everyone? 

No. Sleep deprivation can actually be your achilles heel and stop you from being successful. In fact, more often than not, that will be the case. Many successful people could be more successful if they got more sleep. 

Sleep deprivation affects every part of your life, from your focus, to memory, to your attention to detail. All of these are important qualities when you are running a business and can lead to some severe mistakes that can cost you in the long run. Mood and emotion management can also become quite weak when you are sleep deprived.

The average adult needs 7-9 hours of sleep a night, and when you consistently come in under that number, you contribute to your sleep debt. Overtime, your sleep debt can affect you mentally and physically. So it's best to not let it accumulate, and try your best to get the recommended amount of sleep every day. 

Why entrepreneurs cannot get enough sleep 

Sleep is undoubtedly very important, but many entrepreneurs are still coming up short. Why? Well, over the next few paragraphs, we will look into that and then come up with what are some things they can do to combat this problem. 

They want to get more done

One reason entrepreneurs are not getting enough sleep is because they want to get more done. There are only 24 hours in a day, which for a business owner, seems like a blink of an eye. Between trying to get a business off the ground and everything else that people have to deal with in a day, sleep seems like the one thing that can be forgone if it means getting a few extra hours a day to get things done.

The problem with this logic, is that most of the time, they are so tired during these extra hours, that the productivity is actually pretty poor, and they would be better off sleeping those extra hours. 

Not prioritizing sleep 

This goes hand in hand with the last one as sleep often is at the bottom of peoples' list. The phrase "I can sleep when I'm dead" may be the reason many people think of sleep as something of a luxury instead of a necessity. This issue is that without sleep, the proverbial death may become a reality which can clearly be a hindrance to your business operation.

Sleep has to be prioritized as a key part of your health, but this only happens after the conscious decision has been made to make sleep a priority. This means scheduling other things around sleep, instead of the other way around, and setting hard deadlines (and sticking to them) on when it's time to go to bed. 

Stay up checking emails 

Emails are an exhausting part of the day. They are just constantly popping up throughout the day and requiring attention. But due to the busyness of the day, catching up on emails may not be a possibility until late at night. However, the contents of the emails may be extremely distressing or something that requires more time than the "20 minutes" of checking your email, which can lead to hours of more work and less sleep.

Hiring someone, such as a virtual assistant, who can flag important emails throughout the day and organize the rest so you can address more important ones early in the day may be a great way to combat this problem. Also scheduling time in your day dedicated to emails can also help some. It may be tempting to address emails late at night, but if you can't do anything about them that late, then they need to wait until regular business hours to be addressed, which is a very reasonable thing to expect from a business. 

Failing to deal with stress

Stress is an inherent part of running a business. However, ignoring it until it becomes this big weight that keeps you up at night does more harm than good. You need to deal with your stress head on, even if it's exhausting or intimidating, it's better for you in the long run. Things like exercise, meditation, mental health services, and even potentially medication can help reduce some feelings of general stress.

Dealing with the root causes of stress is another task that can create added anxiety, but can lead to such relief once the task is done. Find one or two healthy activities that you enjoy and commit to doing them every day, or every other day. Don't work or focus on anything but those activities either. This way you truly have time to decompress, and then you can return to your work with a fresh mind and perspective, which can hopefully reduce some of your stress. 

Drinking too much caffeine 

Caffeine is a chemical that stimulates your brain and body. It's present in coffee, energy drinks, and many other things that we like to indulge in throughout the day. Drinking caffeinated beverages can fight the pesky fatigue that is apparent throughout the day, but it can also interfere with your ability to feel tired when you need to. Drinking caffeine early in the morning and cutting off consumption by the early afternoon can be a great way to help remove caffeine by the end of the day. Also, by regulating your sleep schedule, you may feel naturally energized and not be so reliant on several cups of coffee. 

Key takeaways

To make it as a entrepreneur, sleep is going to be your friend more than sleep deprivation. Without sleep, you are more prone to errors, lack of motivation and poor health. However, positive habits such as prioritizing sleep, scheduling it as you would with important meetings, and taking care of yourself, will provide you with the energy and longevity you need to run a successful business. 

If you find yourself truly struggling with getting good sleep, then you may have an underlying sleep disorder that should be addressed as soon as possible. Please click the orange button below to take a free online sleep test and talk with one of our sleep health experts. 


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