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10 Tips To Get Better Sleep As An Entrepreneur

Updated: Nov 27, 2023

The life of an accidental entrepreneur can be thrilling, but it's also a wild rollercoaster of stress, decisions, and endless to-do lists. Balancing the demands of running a business, keeping clients happy, and maintaining a personal life can leave you feeling like you're chasing your own tail. Amid this whirlwind, one aspect often takes a back seat: sleep. In this blog post, we'll explore the relationship between sleep and stress, and I'll share some practical tips to help you experience better sleep.

"First and foremost, it's seeing sleep as an asset. And I work with a lot of high achievers and I hear often from people, and I over the years, you know, I'll sleep when I'm dead. You know? Like, sleep is overrated, that sort of thing. I always laugh. I'm like, okay. We'll talk about that in a little bit. But tell me why you feel that way. But, You know, prior to the industrial revolution, sleep was revered. I mean, for 1000 of years, sleep was seen as this amazing thing." — April Likins


**This was also a podcast episode (episode #214. Use the player below if you'd prefer to listen to this message.


The Sleep-Stress Connection:

Let's dive straight into the deep end and talk about the elephant in the room—the connection between sleep and stress. As an accidental entrepreneur, you might be accustomed to late nights and early mornings. But this chronic sleep deprivation can turn into a vicious cycle of stress and exhaustion.

  • Stress Impacts Sleep: When stress creeps into your life (and it will), it disrupts your sleep patterns. Stress hormones like cortisol can keep you awake, leading to restless nights and groggy mornings.

  • Sleep Deprivation Begets Stress: On the flip side, when you're sleep-deprived, your tolerance for stress decreases. You're more likely to get frazzled over minor setbacks, further fueling the stress monster.

The Accidental Entrepreneur's Sleep Survival Guide For Better Sleep:

Now that we understand the sleep-stress relationship, let's jump into some actionable tips to help you get better sleep while riding the entrepreneurial wave:

1. Embrace Self-Awareness:

Start your day by checking in with yourself. How do you feel? Assess your mood and energy levels before diving into work.

"But the best gauge is always just checking with yourself because you know your body inside and out, and you can kind of gauge how you feel from day to day."— April Likins

2. Track Your Sleep Wisely:

If you're a data enthusiast, consider using sleep tracking devices. But remember, it's not just about the numbers; it's about how you feel.

Gauge your sleep quality by how alert and refreshed you feel upon waking, rather than obsessing over data.

"One of the most important things you can do daily is Check-in with yourself for 30 seconds at least once a day, maybe a couple times a day and yes, how am I feeling but also what do I need today to thrive?"— April Likins

Amanda's Tech Tracker Preference: To help me track my sleep and get better sleep, I use an Oura ring. If you'd like to save $40 on your Oura ring, use the link below:

Image of scrabble letters that spell "Get Good Sleep"

3. Disconnect from Devices:

Break the habit of staring at screens right before bedtime. The blue light emitted by phones and computers interferes with melatonin production, making it harder to fall asleep.

Try putting your phone away an hour before bed. It can work wonders for your sleep quality and personal relationships.

"I had a client at the beginning of the pandemic that started putting his phone away, about an hour or so before bed for a couple reasons. He was just tired of feeling like he was always tied to it, but he also was noticing that it was kind of diminishing the quality of his relationship with his wife and his children, and there have been some studies that have shown that."— April Likins

4. Set a Caffeine Cutoff:

Caffeine is a sneaky sleep disruptor. It can stay in your system for hours. Find your personal caffeine cutoff time, ideally before noon, to avoid late-night jitters.

"So in her experimenting, she figured out that her actual sleep cutoff time for caffeine is 10 in the morning. That anything after 10 for her just really backed up her sleep, and so that was helpful for her to experiment with and play around with."— April Likins

5. Light and Environment Matters:

Dim the lights in the evening to stimulate melatonin production. Your body responds to lower light levels by preparing for sleep.

Create a sleep-conducive environment in your bedroom: darkness, quietness, and a comfortable temperature (around 60-65°F) can work wonders.

"Having the right environment is super important as well. Making sure your bedroom is dark, it's quiet and you want the temperature around 60, 65 °F give or take, that's kind of what sleep experts recommend, but for some that's a little cool. But really anything over 80 degrees and under 55 degrees make it harder to fall asleep." - April Likins

Amanda's Pro Tip: use technology to your advantage. We use Hue lights in our home and have timers set so they help us wake up in the morning and slow down and sleep well at night.

6. Catch Some Morning Sun:

Your circadian rhythm thrives on natural light. Spend a few minutes outdoors in the morning without sunglasses or hats to reset your internal clock.

*Check out this resource from The Huberman Lab Podcast to learn more about the science behind this.

Photo of a sunrise

7. Move Your Body:

Incorporate some form of movement into your daily routine. Whether it's a workout, yoga, stretching, or a simple walk, physical activity helps relieve stress and promotes better sleep.

"All movement is beneficial to the body so if you're not into running hit workouts and crossfit, that's fine, do whatever you enjoy, maybe that's bar, maybe that's yoga, maybe it's like stretching, maybe it's walking, you know, all of it's beneficial. All of it switches you back into parasympathetic nervous system, that rest and digest system and that your cortisone levels and will help with sleep too." - April Likins

8. Tame the Mental Chatter:

Entrepreneurial minds often buzz with thoughts and ideas, even at night. Keep a notebook by your bedside to jot down thoughts and to-do lists, reducing nighttime mental chatter.

"If you're noticing you're having a lot of just thoughts and anxiety in the evening of like, oh my gosh, I have to do this, this, this and this tomorrow and you're thinking about all those things just writing it down or, at the end of the day looking ahead of the day and strategizing and planning by writing down your top priorities can be super helpful too to kind of curb that rumination that can happen in the evenings." - April Likins

9. Practice Gratitude and Mindfulness:

Spend a few minutes before sleep reflecting on positive aspects of your day. Gratitude can help calm your mind and reduce stress.

10. Experiment and Adjust:

Sleep preferences vary from person to person. Experiment with these tips, and find what works best for you. Your ideal sleep routine is a personal journey.

"What do you need today to thrive?" - April Likins

Ask yourself this question so that you can capture the information and ideally take the action within the day so you can be proactive with your mental and physical health. By asking yourself this question you have a better chance of feeling successful throughout the day and therefore sleeping better at night.

Take Away Message / Action

As an accidental entrepreneur, you're no stranger to juggling responsibilities, but don't let sleep and stress be casualties of your success. By prioritizing your well-being, you can optimize your performance and lead a happier, healthier entrepreneurial life. Remember, sleep isn't a luxury—it's a necessity for your physical and mental resilience.

So, go ahead, take that afternoon walk, dim the lights, and put away your phone. Embrace the power of self-awareness and mindful sleep habits. Your entrepreneurial journey will be smoother, and you'll tackle each day with renewed vigor and clarity. Sleep well, live well, and keep thriving in your accidental entrepreneur adventure!

Find what works for you by testing different tactics so you find your best sleep routine. And until next time give yourself permission to sleep well and grace along the way. I'll talk to you soon.

About April:

April Likins is a board-certified health coach, dual-trained at Duke Integrative Medicine and the Institute for Integrative Nutrition. Her story and articles have been featured in Wellbeing Magazine, Mantra Wellness, Better Humans, and Authority Magazine. Driven by her own previous experience of hitting burnout (which led to a total health collapse,) she's fiercely passionate about helping professional women, and female entrepreneurs reduce stress, find balance, and get their spark, energy, and joy back. She lives in Virginia with her family, and when she's not working with clients, she enjoys writing and speaking on wellness topics, traveling, photography, and searching for the perfect matcha latte.

April's Resources:

Other Resources Mentioned:

Ep. 214: Sleep, Stress & Entrepreneurship with April Likins

"First and foremost, it's seeing sleep as an asset."

— April Likins


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