I was recently lucky enough to attend a mentoring session with Paul Orfalea, the founder of Kinkos. While he handed out laser-focused business advice to each attendee perhaps the most striking and simple advice was given to the whole room … to paraphrase, “Get a good night’s sleep, and go for a walk.”
I’ve always had a complex relationship with my sleep patterns. I’m a light sleeper, my body is almost always hot, I have some synaesthesia that turns sharp noises into flashes in my eyeballs when they’re closed, coffee keeps me awake, and alcohol wakes me up early.
Add to that the hustle of entrepreneurship and a triathlon training schedule that keeps me sore and tired: it has been an ongoing quest to get a good night’s sleep.
And that has impacted our bottom line.
Think about the difference between the you that sleeps well and wakes up naturally refreshed and the you that is forced awake with an alarm having tossed and turned all night. Think about the productivity and creativity differences between Rested You and Groggy You.
I learned a valuable lesson about sleep from Ironman training: the better the sleep, the more likely I am to get out the door for workouts the next day. Even with physical soreness my attitude towards the workout is that I am ready to take on the challenge. And since there are workouts almost everyday I need to repeat the process every night to be consistent.
That same consistency is necessary in our entrepreneurial journeys. Like Ironman training there are few days off. When we are rested we can take on the workday, whether that’s filled with accounting, marketing, networking, or creating content.
It’s awfully difficult to present your Best Self when it’s hiding behind Groggy You. Groggy You doesn’t write the best marketing copy, doesn’t close the first two sales of the day, doesn’t help your coaching client, and messes up your 30 second commercial at the local networking event.
Here are the things I know help me … hopefully writing this post will spur both you and I to implement them consistently:
- Make sleep a routine. Go to bed and wake up at the same time every day including weekends.
- Wind down the day. Start the process of going to bed 30 minutes before sleep … change out of your clothes, brush teeth, read a book (if you read on your phone, turn down the backlight, turn off notifications or use airplane mode), lights down, quiet.
- Reduce alcohol and food after dinner. Remember that sleep is a time for your body to heal at a cellular level: fueling it late means it’s spending energy to digest.
- Reduce caffeine. Personally, any caffeine after about 11am affects my sleep.
There are many apps and resources online related to getting a better night’s sleep and I invite you to do some research of your own … leave your best tips in the comments below.
Listen to your body, sleep well … and Profit!
This is Part 1 in a 4 part series. Part 2 is on Guts!.