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How to (Really) Get a Good Night’s Sleep
Young woman relaxing in bed

Do you have trouble getting a good night’s sleep? If so, you’re not alone. For many small business owners, long hours and sleepless nights seem to be part of the job description. The problem can be especially intense in the startup years, when small businesses are often running with few employees, meaning the owner’s burning the midnight oil to complete projects, balance the books or prepare proposals.

But going without sleep leaves you groggy and unproductive the next day, creating a vicious cycle that can hurt your business. Lack of sleep harms more than your productivity: One study conducted by the West Virginia University School of Medicine found that people who sleep less than five hours a day double their risk of suffering a heart attack or stroke.

So how can you get enough sleep, become more productive and keep yourself healthy? Try these tips.

  • Set a regular bedtime. This is easier said than done for some of us, but is a big factor in getting restful sleep. There may be some occasions when you need to pull an all-nighter, but don’t make it a regular part of your business. For best results, try going to sleep at the same time every night, including weekends.
  • Make time to wind down. Ease yourself into bedtime by establishing a relaxing ritual. This could be taking a warm bath, reading a book, meditating or spending time with your spouse—anything that helps you shift your mind-set from workday to sleep time.
  • Create an environment conducive to sleep. A cool, darkened and restful bedroom will help you sleep better. Use noise-blocking tools like a white noise machine or fan if outside noise keeps you up or wakes you at night.
  • Establish a tech-free zone. Taking your smartphone and/or tablet to bed with you might seem like a great way to be more productive, but the type of light these devices emit has been shown to stimulate the brain in ways that make us more, not less, active. Quiet your racing mind by banishing these tools from the bedroom.
  • Exercise regularly. A National Sleep Foundation poll found that regular exercisers reported better sleep than non-exercisers. Even when the two groups slept the same amount of time, the exercisers reported more solid and restful sleep. Something as simple as walking for 10 minutes a day can make a big difference. If you find that exercising close to bedtime leaves you too energized to relax, try moving your workout earlier in the day.

These tips will help you see results: better rest at night and more productivity during the day.

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