Sleep for success, says Arianna Huffington
It took an exhaustion-induced collapse for Arianna Huffington, Co-founder and Editor-in-Chief of The Huffington Post, to realise there was something amiss in her life. A round of doctor’s appointments later she realised that the fall was thanks to the way she was leading her life -- mainly sleep deprived.
Time is money in the business world, whereas, sleep is considered a productivity guzzler. Arianna reportedly said,
“Sleep is a small miracle that lets you see the world anew with fresh eyes and reinvigorated spirit. I became an all-out sleep evangelist after my collapse from sleep deprivation... Let sleep be the big idea that shapes 2016.”
In fact, she values sleep so much that she saw it worthwhile to write a book on it: The Sleep Revolution: Transforming Your Life, One Night at a Time.
Arianna’s not alone in this battle between productivity and sleep, hundreds and thousands of doers and achievers go through this internal turmoil often at the cost of their health.
Rakesh Munnanooru, Founder of an on-demand driver service, Whistle Drive, has been sleeping only for three to four hours every night since the past 40 days --the time he started his venture.
A 24/7 service means that he rarely gets a shut eye with calls pouring in every quarter of an hour. There are many things that a human being can sacrifice but a lack of sleep can drive people insane. Sleep definitely should be on one’s priority list.
Due to the odd timings, Rakesh takes a power nap of 20 minutes every four hours. “I drink a lot of water and consume green tea an hour before I sleep which helps calm my body. Sleeping in a dark room also help my case to fall asleep as soon as I hit the bed,” says Rakesh.
We spend around one-third of our lives sleeping and the fact that we ignore it obviously shows on our tired minds and bodies. When you don’t get enough sleep, your normal, daily routine is impacted because you suffer from irritability, headaches, and the fact that you get easily distracted. When this happens every day over months, you are prone to weight gain, poor vision, heart disease, a vulnerable immune system, and even cancer.
As a compensation for all the times you’ve squeezed in an extra hour at your startup, try following these to get a better sleep life:
- Avoid coffee, caffeinated beverages at least two to three hours before you go to bed. The blue light coming from your smartphone can alter your circadian rhythm making your sleep go completely awry. Blue is a sign for our brains to be alert. When we use our smartphones within three hours of bedtime, our brain constantly sees it as a signal to be alert which leads to a loss of sleep. If you are an iPhone user, you can activate the Night Shift mode while you can use the Night Shift app if you are an Android user.
- Ensure the room you sleep in is dark. Use blackout curtains to achieve the same. It is easy for entrepreneurs to be highly distracted during sleep thanks to the constant multi-tasking and mind-juggling. Use white noise generators to prevent getting distracted and help you sleep faster. One can find such white noises on the app store. They usually are the sound of the ocean, rainfall, and the sound of nature, etc. Try the TMSoft app which comes along with a sleep tracking functionality.
- Eat healthy before you sleep: If you find yourself dreaming about greasy chicken kababs, don’t give in to the temptation. Treat yourself to a small, carb-heavy snack with a dash of protein. Healthy snacking an hour or two before sleep produces serotonin, a calming neurotransmitter.
- There is no catching up on sleep on the weekends: Sleep is not something that you catch up on. You give it a consistent seven to eight hour every day. Why not set an alarm to remind you to go to sleep?
- Reduce mental chatter: To-dos and deadlines are at the top of an entrepreneur’s mind. This is very usual with entrepreneurs who are likely to think of at least 10 different things at the same time. It is wise to spend a few minutes organising your mind to empty your thoughts before you hop on the bed. One simple way would be to create a list of everything that needs to be done the next day. Now there is no burden to carry over during your sleep-time.
- Stick to a schedule: Have a ritual that signals your brain with a “Hey buddy, it’s time to sleep now.” Reflect on the day that just ended, say a simple thank you and your body automatically starts to pre-empt sleep.
With inputs from Vinayak Garg (Founder of Zest.MD, an eClinic platform for Health Coaches)
Related read: "Top ten ways to have a productive life