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Sleep is a basic need. In Maslow's hierarchy of needs, sleep is defined as a basic need, along with food, drink, shelter and oxygen. We all know the feeling that there just aren't enough hours in the day, and we've all lost a night or two of sleep during an important project. But is restricting sleep really the answer to increasing efficiency?
Many productivity gurus will advocate "power napping" instead of getting eight hours of sleep every night, often using the example of Thomas Edison. However, when it comes to scientific studies and statistics, it turns out that losing sleep is not worth it. It won't improve your overall productivity as a business owner – it can actually have a significant negative impact on your performance.
From a biological point of view, after the first 24 hours of staying awake, adrenaline is released and used to generate energy. This leads to a slight increase in motor functions due to sleep deprivation. The mind will work twice as hard and your body will be a little more tense. Cortisol (the endorphin released when you experience any kind of stress) is also released, trying to regulate some inflammation and fraying strands of DNA.
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Here are eight reasons why it's important to get good sleep on a regular basis to stay ahead as an entrepreneur.
1. Improved concentration
It's scientifically proven that a regular, healthy sleep pattern improves focus and productivity. This is the main reason why skipping sleep just isn't worth it in the long run. If you sleep four hours a night, you can work four more hours during the day, but you cannot make the most of that time. You'll get a lot more done in fewer hours if you've slept well.
2. Improved problem solving skills
Solving problems and overcoming challenges are the be-all and end-all of an entrepreneur's professional life. Studies show that when you are rested, you can make decisions, solve problems, and face unexpected challenges much more efficiently. Interestingly, one study found that the negative effects on brain function caused by insufficient amount of sleep caused an effect similar to that of alcohol poisoning. You wouldn't make career decisions when you were drunk, so it only makes sense not to do so when you are tired and exhausted.
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3. Better memory
Insufficient sleep has been linked to memory problems in several studies. Most entrepreneurs' work schedule is hectic and challenging. The last thing you want is to forget about an important meeting, remember someone's name, or lose your train of thought during a pitch. Better memory also means that you will be more efficient in your work because you can remember important data and information without having to look it up every time.
4. Less anxiety and depression
It is estimated that around 15 percent of the adult population will experience depression during their lifetime. The stress and challenges of an entrepreneur's professional life create an additional risk of developing a mental disorder, particularly anxiety and depression. This debilitating condition can be life-destroying – unfortunately, unfortunately, as it increases the risk of suicide. Healthy coping mechanisms are key to preventing depression – but sleep has been shown to reduce the risk as well.
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5. Strengthening the immune system
Insufficient sleep often means that you get sick frequently and take longer to recover. When you are deprived of sleep, you are more likely to spot insects and viruses, develop inflammation, and suffer from other preventable health problems. Again, it is not worth working a few hours more every day instead of sleeping just to be sick and not be able to work for several days because you are resting.
6. Improved social interaction and emotional functioning
For an entrepreneur, it is of the utmost importance for business success to make a good impression when dealing with customers, investors and employees. However, poor sleep leads to a deterioration in mood and makes it difficult to control and regulate your emotions. It's easy to see how this can negatively affect social interaction.
The negative social effect of insufficient sleep is not just limited to how we deal with our own emotions. Prolonged sleep deprivation can also affect our ability to recognize facial expressions – even basic ones like anger or happiness. It's difficult to successfully negotiate a deal when you can't distinguish the other person's expressions!
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7. Better physical form and more efficient movement
Trust is key for entrepreneurs, and for most people, being in reasonably good physical shape is critical to feeling good about yourself. Not only can poor sleep make us eat more, but it can also make us less productive while exercising.
Several studies have linked sound sleep to improved physical performance during exercise. This means you can get a lot more out of that one hour in the gym than if you worked out while you were sleep deprived. Interestingly, the quality of sleep is related to the production of the hormones that are responsible for regulating our appetite. In fact, getting enough sleep results in fewer calories being burned on average during the day.
8. Reducing other health risks
Entrepreneurs and managers are often exposed to high levels of stress on a regular basis, which, among other things, poses a risk of heart disease and strokes. Sleep can help reduce this risk. Studies show that poor quality sleep or insufficient rest increases the likelihood of developing diseases and conditions (including heart problems and high blood pressure).