You've heard it before—getting at least eight hours of sleep every night can be a huge health booster. But how many people can actually commit that time to simply resting each and every night? Entrepreneurs know all too well that there aren't enough hours in the day, but they may need their rest even more than their corporate counterparts.
Ben Rubin, CTO and co-founder of ZEO, an in-home sleep tracking system, said small business owners need quality sleep to be on top of their game and help their businesses thrive.
"It's low-hanging fruit for entrepreneurs," Rubin said. "Sleep is one of the most important factors of health, especially for people trying to get their peak performance—but it’s one of the factors people ignore."
Getting poor quality sleep every night is detrimental to making sound decisions at work, Rubin said. Citing research by Stanford Professor Baba Shiv, Rubin said there are two types of decision makers—Vulcan and Emotional. Vulcan decision makers only consider logical explanations, where as emotional decision makers think with their gut, not the logistics.
He said a lack of sleep turns you into a Vulcan decision maker, which believe it or not, according to Rubin, is not good, especially for entrepreneurs. Emotional decision makers are more able to stick with the choices they make after the fact.
"You can't be as emotional if you're not getting enough sleep." Rubin said. "When an entrepreneur makes a decision, they need to collect all the facts like a Vulcan, get a good night's sleep, and then make an emotional decision the next day."
If you want to improve your work performance, and the success of your company, Rubin said you have to schedule the time to sleep consistently every night. That means the same hours nightly too, for the best rest you can get.
"You don't want to catch up on weekends," he said. "Entrepreneurs work 15-hour days, and then try to schedule a work out in, and spend time with family, and then sleep six hours a night. When the weekend comes, they crash."
Catching up on weekends is a surefire way to confuse your body, Rubin said, and does not allow it to adapt to a regular cycle. Even getting the same number of hours of sleep a night, but shifting the time you sleep disrupts your body's rhythm.
"This gets you a lower quality of sleep than you would otherwise have, because you miss that first cycle of deep sleep," he said.
So where can small business owners begin? Rubin said to start by putting down your Blackberry and computer an hour before its time to hit the sack. This limits light exposure, and also puts your mind at ease.
"You get the added benefit of not having your mind running at full speed," Rubin said. "You need a power-down hour every night."