One of the perks of being your own boss means that you get to set your own schedule. Unfortunately for many entrepreneurs, this means making more time for hustling and less time for sleep.
Oddly, no one quite knows why we sleep, but we’re all familiar with the effects that a lack of ZZZs can have on productivity. While it may be tempting to pull regular all nighters, you aren’t going to produce anything of worth while running on brain fog. Here are some tips for getting a solid snooze every night.
How to Get a Restful Sleep
1. Make your room a screen-free zone. Don’t fret; this doesn’t have to be a 24-hour-a-day rule. (How would you ever be able to work from the comfort of bed??) But you should exile all electronics from your room an hour before bedtime in order to improve your sleep quality. Read a book, journal or meditate: anything but stare at pixels prior to drifting off. Bright light from screens can affect your sleep quality, and frankly it’s always good to unplug for a bit.
2. Work out. It’s much easier to drift off to sleep when you’ve, well, physically worn yourself out. If you’re usually too wired to fall asleep within 14 minutes (the average amount of time it should take), try doing even a half hour of cardio in the early evening. Even in the unlikely case that it doesn’t help you fall asleep, at least you’ll have a totally ripped bod.
Drinking fewer than three hours before bed has been shown to decrease sleep quality.
3. Don’t booze before bed. I know: it’s easy to curl up under the covers with Netflix after a couple glasses of wine, and even easier to fall asleep when you’ve been imbibing. But unfortunately the short-term aid won’t pay off for the next eight hours. Drinking fewer than three hours before bed has been shown to decrease sleep quality, which is why you might wake up feeling unrested after a night of partying. (Or even those couple glasses of wine.) If you’re out on the town that’s one thing, but if you’re just settling in for the night, stick to tea.
4. Track your ZZZs. There are plenty of apps out there that you can use to better your sleep cycle. The first is, well, Sleep Cycle — a nifty app that tracks your sleep when you lay your phone next to your pillow. (I know it’s breaking the “no screens” rule, but it’s a totally valid exception.) You can use Sleep Cycle to monitor your sleep quality each night and figure out when (and how) you snooze best.
You tell the app when you want to wake up, and it tells you when to go to sleep, based on sleep cycle length.
Another app I use religiously is Sleepytime. The premise is delightfully simple: you tell the app when you want to wake up, and it tells you when to go to sleep, based on sleep cycle length. That way you don’t wake up in the middle of a cycle, which means a more refreshing rise and shine.
5. Act natural. There are plenty of non-prescription aids that can help you sleep well. I personally started taking melatonin a few months ago, and my sleep quality has improved immensely. I fall asleep easier, and tend to stay asleep through the night. (Though I have had some weird, melatonin-induced dreams. FBI agents going undercover as firefighters, anyone?) Additionally, chamomile tea, Saint Johns Wort and, weirdly, catnip are supposedly decent sleep aids. Unleash your inner hippie and find which natural remedy works for you.
Do you have any tips for getting a better night’s sleep? Tell us about them in the comments!