Insomnia is bad for your health and for the health of your business. Banish insomnia from your life!
Being an entrepreneur is no cakewalk. Whether it is a start-up or an established business, you always tend to worry. Things go wrong frequently, and chances are that you feel stressed. This stress invariably translates to insomnia because you are unable to switch off from work once you come home. You end up tossing and turning and waking up several times in the night, or you go to bed late and wake up early because you are unable to sleep.
However, lack of sleep has been linked to a host of health problems. So, if you are suffering from insomnia, you need to take steps to remedy the issue. Apart from health problems, lack of sleep will make you dull and listless. When you have not had adequate rest, your mind slows down too and this will affect your decision-making process and productivity, which in turn will have a negative effect on your business.
So, how do you ensure you get adequate shuteye? Here are some tips:
1) Leave your work at office: Yes, it’s tough for entrepreneurs because most believe in living, breathing and eating work. But, for your health and for the health of your business, you need to draw a line somewhere. This applies to entrepreneurs who work from home too. Have designated work times. Once your working day is over, switch off and live in the moment – whether it is spending time with your family or friends, playing with your pet, streaming movies, reading or listening to music.
2) Make time for exercise: Exercise not only keeps you fit, but it also releases feel-good endorphins which help release stress. And when you are free of stress, you will sleep better. Also, try and take a 15-minute stroll after dinner. Note the word ‘stroll’, not a brisk walk! A peaceful walk after dinner will help you unwind and feel much calmer.
3) Don’t exercise too late: If you are hitting the gym or jogging or going for Pilates or Bollywood dancing or whatever, do ensure that you finish your exercise routine at least three hours before you go to sleep. Otherwise, you will be too wired up and will find it difficult to sleep.
4) Have a cup of warm milk before you sleep: There’s something so soothing and comforting about a warm mug of milk. Once it becomes a routine, it will also serve as a signal to your mind and body that it is time to sleep!
5) Have a bath before bedtime: A shower about an hour before bedtime is a good idea. It helps you to relax. And also, none of us like to go to bed sweaty, right? You’ll feel clean and refreshed as you snuggle into your bed after a shower. Ideally, have a warm water bath; however, in the searing Indian summers that may be asking for too much! If you have a bathtub, soak in it for a while.
6) Switch off electronic devices: Your laptop, mobile, computer, etc, emit blue light, which affects your sleep. If you want a peaceful slumber, where you don’t keep waking up at night, it would help if you turn off all your devices at least two hours before you sleep.
7) Meditate: Yes, it really helps. Meditation calms your mind and slows your breathing. Make it a habit to meditate every day and you will see the difference for yourself.
8) Try shavaasana or yoga nidra: Shavaasana or the corpse pose is a yoga asana that helps to relax you. And if you also do yoga nidra, which is like guided meditation, you will feel so awesomely relaxed at the end of it!
9) Make your bedroom a work-free zone: Keep the bedroom for rest and relaxation. Do not work on your laptop in bed. You could read a book to unwind before you sleep but no scrolling on the phone. It will only keep you awake.
10) Listen to some soothing music: You could play some soft restful music before you get into bed. Not rock or trance or club music; it should be music that helps you to slow down, to relax and wind down.
11) Commune with nature: Living in a city makes it difficult for us to connect with nature. But most cities have parks, beaches or lakeside walking zones. Wake up early and go for a walk in natural surroundings. It will ease your stress. And if you are less stressed, insomnia won’t disturb you. On weekends, you could take a drive to a nearby hill station or beach resort to chill out.
12) Make sure your bed is comfy: If you have a lumpy mattress or one that is too thin, pillows that feel like rocks or that are too high or low, it will affect the quality of your sleep. Invest in a good, comfortable mattress and in pillows that don’t strain your head and neck. You will find that sleep will come much easier!
13) Cut the caffeine and alcohol: The more stressed we are, the more caffeine we imbibe. And then, the more edgy and sleepless we are! Try not to have caffeine after noon because the effects of caffeine last for several hours. Alcohol may help you to fall asleep, but you will not have a peaceful sleep. You will keep waking up. So, don’t depend on alcohol for a good night’s sleep.
14) Eat at least three hours before bedtime: If you go to sleep on a full stomach, chances are you won’t be able to settle down, particularly if you have stuffed yourself. Eat a light dinner so that you don’t feel the discomfort of indigestion.
15) Practice gratitude: Before you nod off to sleep, instead of worrying about your day and planning for the next day, think of all the good things that happened to you that day and say thank you for all your blessings. It really helps to calm the mind.
Insomnia needs to be tackled because it is harmful for you in the long run. If none of the above remedies work and if you find that insomnia is disturbing your rhythm of life, then you need to visit a doctor or a sleep therapist. Don’t take sleeping tablets without a doctor’s prescription. You could get addicted to them and, in the long run, they are not going to cure you of your insomnia.
If you can relax and face challenges with equanimity, and if you can banish stress from your life, you will discover that sleep will come to you so much easier. Stay calm!