A Good Night’s Sleep and Your Business – What’s the Link?


A Good Night’s Sleep and Your Business – What’s the Link?

How would you describe the quality of your sleep?

Sleep is such a vital component to our overall health and hence the health of our business. Did you know that your body is in recovery mode whilst you sleep? When I talk recovery mode, I’m not just referring to recovery from exercise but recovery from a busy day.

Whether this day has been full of meetings, lecturing, sitting at your desk, balancing accounts and all the other tasks we undertake in our business, you need to rest allowing your body to recover and repair. This means a good night’s sleep, and as humans, we need this. Did you know if we don’t sleep for ten days we will die?

Having owned my own business for many years, I have experienced the highs and lows, and often with it, I suffered many times over, from lack of sleep.

This can be due to having too much on your plate, being stressed or just lying in bed worrying about what tomorrow will bring. When you are sleep deprived it can become a vicious circle of coffee, unhealthy carbohydrate laden snacks, more coffee, more snacks and disrupted sleep.

I remember the brain fog and being so tired and so stressed that I forgot how to get home. This happened many times, and I would get lost and have to turn on my navigator. Sometimes I was only a couple of streets away from home. Instead of talking with someone about this I just kept on pushing through.

The thing is that when I was in that extreme state, I hadn’t realised the damage I was doing to myself. It just slowly crept into my life, and in fact, I even thought that just maybe I had early onset Alzheimer’s. Seriously, I got to that stage; I went for a consultation with my medical practitioner.

Running a business, especially a micro or Small Business, you are often wearing many hats; but to be effective whilst wearing these hats, you have to be on top of your game.

If you are not getting enough quality sleep, your memory is negatively affected as is your creativity. Your body’s immune system can suffer, muscles are not repairing, hormone levels fluctuate, and body fat levels are affected. This means you are not playing out at your best in your business and over time this will impact negatively on your success, apart from your health.

A big element behind achieving a good quality night’s sleep is to have a stable circadian rhythm.

Years ago, this wasn’t a common issue simply because our light sources were restricted once the sun went down. It was much more difficult to disrupt the rhythm. Now, however, most business owners are looking at their screens well into the evening.

I know, at times, we all have deadlines to meet which means burning the midnight oil but really, must you be looking at a bright screen into the evening? Television, mobile phones, laptops, gaming consoles and I’m sure there are other devices, all emit these bright lights.

A recent study published by Stone Hearth reported the following:

“Bright light alone […] induced circadian phase delays in the test subjects of about 85 minutes.”

When you sit in front of your screens in the evening, think about how much your circadian rhythm is being affected.

On the other hand, getting up in the morning and out into the sunlight will help to reset your circadian rhythm. Take in some sunlight throughout your day too such as going for a walk at lunchtime and again later in the afternoon.

What is the connection between light, circadian rhythm and sleep?

The answer is melatonin. According to

Melatonin is a hormone secreted by the pineal gland in response to darkness. It is commonly referred to as ‘the sleep hormone’, but it also plays a vital role in controlling inflammation levels in our body while aiding our immune system (this is why, if you have a few nights of insufficient sleep, you’ll often catch a bug or become run down). It achieves this through its antioxidant properties. When people ask me, what antioxidant supplements they should take, I tell them to save their money and to get their sleep back on track first.

Melatonin is generated after about four hours of darkness (the kind where you can’t see your hand in front of your face) and generally peaks around 2.00am.

Melatonin runs opposite to cortisol. When melatonin is high, cortisol is low in this state; you should be sleepy. When melatonin is low, cortisol is high; you should feel alert and energised for the day.                                   

In summary:

  • Sleep is critical for your health.
  • Sleep is important for controlling your body fat levels.
  • Light (blue light from screens) affect our circadian rhythm and hence our melatonin levels negatively.
  • Lack of good quality sleep affects your ability to think clearly.
  • Lack of good quality sleep can affect your bottom line in your business.

What steps are you going to take to improve your health and hence improve the health of your business?

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