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[Women and health] As women, learn the importance of sleep when running a business

Samara Mahindra
10th Aug 2016
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Sleep is by far the most underrated concept in today’s day and age, despite being key to a healthier and more productive life. In fact, the notion goes, the less you sleep, the more determined you are in creating a successful business. We hear of many successful businessmen and businesswomen who sleep three, four, or a maximum of five hours a night and this fuels the notion further. But if you were to go to any credible nutritionist, health and lifestyle coach, or any healthcare practitioner, they would tell you the complete opposite.

importance of sleep
(image credit – Shutterstock)

Yes, for us women, sleep is a luxury sometimes. When we play our multifaceted roles of wife, daughter, granddaughter, mother, and businesswoman, sleep is the one thing we ignore, undermine, and substitute in order to fulfil our other duties, not realising that it’s actually the one thing to preserve in order to achieve success in each one of these roles. But why?

Here is why. The reason we sleep every night is because it’s the only time when our bodies and minds rest and heal. We inherently crave sleep and whether that can be delayed by hours or a couple of days, eventually we will sleep and our mind will shut down. When we cut short our sleep cycles, we are building a chronic deprivation of sleep. There is less and less time for our body and mind to heal. This can lead to major health issues or even an aggravation of the health problems that already exist.

A lack of a restful sleep especially for women plays havoc with hormone imbalances. This leads to mood swings, erratic behaviour, skin disruptions, and overeating.

When running a business, how does the lack of sleep affect productivity?

  1. Sleepiness makes you forgetful — Sleep plays a vital role in consolidating memories and hence if disrupted can affect memory functioning and processing.
  2. Affects cognitive processes — Lack of sleep affects thinking and learning efficiently, impairs alertness, attention, concentration, and problem solving.
  3. Impaired judgment — Sleep deprivation impairs your judgment while making decisions and being mentally active in problem solving tasks.

You might then ask, what is the right amount of sleep to get every night? As this varies from person to person, around eight hours of sleep is sufficient. Any amount drastically below that for a long period of time will result in the issues listed above. If you are not able to get in that many hours, then try taking short power naps during the day.

A great way to get yourself into a restful sleep is to start with a hot shower, switch off all electronic gadgets in your bedroom (which include TVs and mobile phones) and unwind. Don’t engage in anything mentally stimulating or aggravating. Try reading as this can help tremendously. Again nothing that requires too much of your attention. Mellow music or light meditation always does the trick.

Next time don’t undermine the importance of sleep. Make it a priority and you will notice that the attention you put into every other task will grow substantially. It’s always about working smarter, not harder.

(Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of YourStory.)

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Authors
Samara Mahindra
Samara is the Founder and CEO of the CARER Program- Post cancer recovery program (www.carerprogram.com.) A certified Cancer Exercise Specialist and Breast Cancer Recovery Trainer. She is also a qualified personal fitness trainer from the American Academy of Personal Training, New York, Holistic Health Coach from the Institute for Integrative Nutrition and certified in Plant Based, Nutrition from Cornell University and the T. Colin Campbell Foundation.

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