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When you think about ways to grow your business and make it more profitable, sleep probably isn’t the first thing that comes to mind. In fact, sleeping probably sounds like the very opposite of what you need.

However, there’s increasing evidence that sleep deprivation has many harmful physical and mental effects. Small business owners—who often work long hours—are especially susceptible to this problem.

Let’s look at why small business owners need more sleep.

The Benefits of Sleep

Here are some sleep benefits that are especially relevant to someone who runs a small business:

  • It improves learning and memory. Many studies indicate that sleep improves learning and retention. This helps you with many everyday tasks related to your business, from learning new software applications to remembering important information about customers.
  • It helps you solve problems more efficiently. You’ve probably noticed that it’s hard to think clearly when you’re tired. Chronic sleep deprivation interferes with your ability to solve problems and think creatively. You’ll make better decisions for your business (and in all areas of your life) when you get enough sleep.
  • You can enjoy better health. Some of the health benefits of sleep include protecting your heart health, reducing inflammation, and even making you less likely to get colds. Aside from feeling better, this means fewer trips to the doctor, lower medical bills, and more time and energy to run your business.
  • You can stay safer. If you drive to work, you’ll be safer on the road. With sufficient sleep, you’re also more likely to function safely at work. This is more significant if you’re around heavy machinery than if you sit behind a desk, but safety is a concern for everyone.

The Dangers of Sleep Deprivation

Just as there are significant benefits to getting enough sleep, there are serious drawbacks to losing sleep. Everyone has an occasional bout of insomnia or a late night every so often. Long-term sleep deprivation, however, has consequences worth noting:

  • Lack of energy. Running a business takes lots of energy. When you’re tired from a lack of sleep, your productivity suffers greatly.
  • You make more mistakes. You’re more likely to make mistakes when you’re tired. Even minor errors are often costly and time-consuming for small business owners. Remember that impaired judgment contributes to poor business decisions. This is worth considering if you typically forego sleep to work more.
  • Lost time due to illness. There’s evidence that sleep deprivation affects the immune system. Health is valuable in and of itself. However, if you need another reason to sleep more, think of the time and money lost when you’re sick. You’re less effective at running your business, you spend money visiting doctors, and your health insurance premiums can go up.
  • You put yourself and others at risk. Recent statistics indicate that drowsy driving causes one in five fatal accidents. When you drive tired, you’re not only endangering yourself but everyone else on the road as well.

It’s Time to Invest in Sleep

Don’t make the mistake of thinking of sleep as a waste of time. This is a shortsighted point of view. An additional hour or two of sleep every night makes you healthier, happier, safer, and more productive. Think of sleep as an investment in your health and well-being. Here are a few tips to help you get more sleep:

  • Go to bed earlier. Extra sleep is more valuable than an hour of TV or internet browsing.
  • Stick to the same sleeping schedule every day. Staying up too late on weekends makes it hard to adjust back on weekdays.
  • Cut back on foods and beverages that interfere with sleep, such as coffee, alcohol, and large meals, especially later in the day.
  • If your schedule makes it hard to sleep for seven or eight hours consecutively, try to fit in a nap at some point.
  • If you suffer from serious insomnia, discuss it with your doctor.

However you manage it, do whatever it takes to improve your sleeping habits. It’s essential for your business, as well as every area of your life and health!