It’s difficult to be at your best when you aren’t getting a good night’s sleep. You feel exhausted and look forward to bedtime, but that’s when the thoughts and problems run around in your mind, sleep soon becomes a far off dream!
Many business owners have been there; I know I certainly have. I’m an insomniac at the best of times; but when those business challenges appear, my sleep can go out of the window.
Sleep deprivation doesn’t help us when we are facing business issues. We need to have a clear mind to be able to focus and give our best, which is difficult to achieve when you are exhausted! If you don’t get on top of it early on, it can become a vicious cycle.
Over the years, I have learned a number of techniques that have helped me to deal with insomnia. I find some work better than others at different times, but they have all been helpful at one time or another.
1. Finish your work at the end of the day
Before you walk away from your work for the evening, make a brief list of what you’re working on and what you will tackle first thing tomorrow. Getting this information outside of your head can prevent those thoughts from playing on your mind.
2. Slow the mind down before bed
Getting into bed with your brain wired is not going to help you to sleep. Try to stop thinking about your business at least one hour before you retire. If I’m feeling overwhelmed or over stimulated I will turn off the devices for at least an hour or so before bed. Reading a light hearted book or listening to relaxing music is a good way to wind down.
3. Have a relaxation routine
There are many videos on YouTube that will walk you through breathing exercises and guided meditations. Yoga and stretches are also very effective in relaxing the muscles and preparing for sleep (again there are some great videos on YouTube).
4. Don’t just lie there!
If you have been in bed for thirty minutes and you are no closer to falling asleep, get up. Journaling is a great technique for getting troublesome thoughts out of our head. Write down your thoughts, go through your relaxation exercises again and have a warm non-caffeine drink. Don’t turn on any electronic screens, they are known to stimulate brain activity.
5. Establish a strong routine
Habits are very powerful. By going to bed and waking up at the same time each day we can re-establish a sleep pattern. Resist the temptation to sleep in on the weekends, particularly if you aren’t sleeping well during the week.
6. Reduce alcohol intake
Many people think that alcohol will help them fall asleep. Research has found that it’s quite the opposite. Alcohol actually messes with both the amount and quality of our sleep long term. As it is also a diuretic, drinking alcohol is going to increase the chance of you waking during the night to go to the bathroom.