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Listen in! Pick up some expert advice to a reader's question that we selected from CyberSchmooz.

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A Business Owner’s Guide to Getting Better Sleep

 

Do you find it tough to sleep at night? Are you often wide awake, restless, or unable to forget about your work?

 

Whatever the case may be, you can tread this path only so long before it has a negative impacts your health, happiness, and job performance. You have to do something, and preferably sooner than later.

 

How to Sleep Better at Night

Sleeping better at night demands a full-out effort. It’s a partly physical and partly mental task. The decisions you make throughout the day, both big and small, have an effect. This being the case, here are six practical steps you can take.

 

 

  • Do the Right Thing

From a mental perspective, you want to hit the hay with a clear conscience. If you’re engaged in shady, dishonest, or illegal business practices, the nighttime may well be when you’ll experience the greatest amount of unrest, due to guilt and shame.

 

And if such is the case, you will find it difficult to silence the internal noise and fall asleep. So do the right thing.

 

 

  • Protect Your Business

You shouldn’t have to worry about losing your operation to unforeseen but uncontrollable events such as lawsuits, natural disasters, or cyber attack. By instituting protective measures, you can create multiple layers of defense.

 

In particular, you should:

  • Hire a business attorney to help you deal with legal issues and/or protect your firm from such unpleasantness as defamation, fraud, idea theft, IP infringement, trademark issues, etc.

 

  • Invest in professional liability insurance, property insurance, workers’ compensation insurance, and other policies to shield you from undue legal risk.

 

Of course you hope you’ll never need a business litigation attorney or to activate an insurance policy, but you can’t be certain. If you have these in your back pocket, they should help you sleep easier at night.

 

 

  • Get Physical Exercise

On the physical side, few practices help you sleep better than getting exercise during the day. According to one study, adults report a 65 percent improvement in overall sleep quality when they exercise at least 150 minutes per week. For the best results, set aside at least 30 minutes a day for four or five days per week.

 

 

  • Consider Medical Explanations

If you find it hard to sleep over a period of many months or years, it’s possible that you have an underlying medical condition that’s creating the problem.

 

Common conditions associated with sleep problems include diabetes, heartburn, musculoskeletal disorders, cardiovascular disease, neurological disorders, respiratory problems, insomnia, sleep apnea, and epilepsy. Consult your personal physician if sleeplessness persists.

 

 

  • Unwind After Dinner

If you try to transition straight from the stress of work to the comfort of your bed, you could be stinting on a crucial buffer period to unwind and relax. It’s best to allow for at least 60 to 90 minutes of time to unwind in the evenings before going to bed (and more is better).

 

This time should be spent totally disconnected from work activities (including email). Do something you enjoy, such as reading a book, smoking a cigar, working on a hobby, or listening to music.

 

 

  • Start the Morning With a Plan

When you have a plan for your day, you’re much more likely to go to bed at a decent hour and wake up ready to go. If possible, create a simple outline the evening before. This will ensure you wake up on time and reduce your chances of hitting the snooze button over and over again.

 

Don’t Discount the Value of Sleep

Psychologist David Dinges, PhD, has spent a large portion of his professional life studying sleep in humans and the impact it has on health, happiness, and productivity. Among other things, he’s discovered that people who get eight hours of sleep or fewer per night show significant cognitive and physiological deficits.

 

“In fact, [research from] Dinges showed that two weeks of limited sleep -- about four hours per night -- created brain deficits just as severe as those seen in people who hadn’t slept at all for three nights,” the APA explains.

 

“As sleep deprivation continues over time, attention, memory and other cognitive functions suffer. Consistently failing to get enough sleep is the biological equivalent of consistently spending more money than you make.”

 

If you want to be happy, productive, and engaged at work, you can’t afford to discount the value of sleep. It’s integral to your success, so you may need to make it a greater priority for success.

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