As busy business owners, I think we really underestimate the power of sleep. I certainly used to be an ‘I'll sleep when I'm dead’ kind of girl, and definitely burning the candle at both ends, and I have definitely paid the price multiple times for that.
When we’re trying to create the business we want to create as business owners, we have to play the long game, and in order to do that effectively, we need to keep our creativity, our energy levels, our focus, up. And in order to do that over long periods of time, we need to make sure we're getting proper rest - getting sleep.
So I wanted to share my sleep tips with you for the things that I put in place when sleep is getting a little bit interrupted and I need to make sure that I'm getting good sleep.
Number one - meditation.
I know, I get it - meditation. How does meditation help us with sleep? But it does.
When we meditate on a regular basis, it lowers our energy - it brings that energy down and it enables us to let go at the end of the day more easily and to fall asleep. So a daily practice of meditation will absolutely help you to fall asleep quicker and more deeply.
It doesn't really matter what meditation you do - it's really about being present, being in the moment. So it doesn't matter whether it's a dynamic meditation, some movement, or whether you're sitting crossed-legged and humming. But it's really about allowing the system to just let go of the crazy that's going on in your head and be present in the moment. So that's tip number one.
Tip number two is to do some exercise.
So we need to move. Quite often, we find ourselves at computers, especially at the moment. We're at computers all day, we're responding to clients, we're doing emails. You've got to move.
The more you can get up and move around - the more you can create both some energy through that movement but also allow your body to release - the more likely you are to have a good night's sleep. It doesn't need to be full-on HIIT training either, by the way, you can just go for some really nice walks. Especially if you can get out in nature.
So I urge you to get moving more. Do some exercise - do what you can do, get out, get moving, get some fresh air, get walking, especially later on. If I have a second walk in the evening, which it's lovely to do at the moment because the weather's so nice, that definitely will help me sleep.
Number three is afternoon naps.
I struggled for years with afternoon naps but I am a bit of a convert and I have to say, from an energy level, it just allows me to kind of spring back in the afternoon. What happens when you nap (and you don't actually have to fall asleep, just laying horizontal for 20 minutes with no stimulation and your eyes closed can be enough), what it allows the body to do, is process half a day's information, like half a day's stuff - noise. It allows it to just process and drain away. So that when you eventually go to sleep, you're not processing the whole day, which is a lot of what disturbed sleep is about. You're only processing the half that didn't get processed during the nap. So you're much more likely to fall into a nice deep sleep if you do a little bit of napping.
Don't nap after 3 o'clock, you'll bugger your sleep up doing that. Try to nap around lunchtime or early afternoon and that will definitely help you.
And my fourth one, which is kind of an all-encompassing one, is to have a little bit of a bedtime routine.
Now, there are several things I do, if I'm struggling with sleep, which will guarantee me a good night's sleep.
So, firstly, stop eating several hours before you go to bed - two or three hours. Because when your body's processing food, it's using energy and it does interrupt sleep patterns. The other thing I do is I have an Epsom salt bath. So that's a warm bath - not hot, not cold - a warm bath with some Epsom salts in it and I put a few drops of lavender in there as well. I really recommend a teaspoon of coconut oil - really good for the skin. But soak in that for about 20 minutes, probably about half an hour to an hour before you're going to go to bed.
The other thing I do is eat cherries. I'm not an expert on food, but cherries have a thing in them that really helps with sleep. I can’t remember what it’s called. If I eat cherries before I go to bed, either frozen cherries or fresh cherries, it really helps me sleep.
And the last thing is a magnesium supplement. Again, I'm not an expert - please go and consult an expert on these matters - but we are, as I understand, pretty magnesium deficient and that also really interferes with sleep. You do get magnesium from Epsom salt baths which absorb through the skin. But if you can take a really good magnesium supplement before you go to bed as well, that will massively help.
If I do that little bedtime routine, I am guaranteed a really good night's sleep. I hope that helps you today, my sleep tips for how to play the long game as a business owner.
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