Contributed by Giles Watkins, coach, mentor and author of Positive Sleep: A Holistic Approach To Resolve Sleep Issues and Transform Your Life.
The words “sleep” and “entrepreneur” may seem like strange bedfellows unless you are running a start-up in areas such as making mattresses or developing a new Sleep app. However sleep is a wonderful, natural and free resource that anyone starting or running a business must draw on optimally to be the best they can be for their customers, colleagues, stakeholders and loved ones.
Way too often, in my opinion, there is an emphasis on the downside of not getting enough quality sleep. Surely it’s far better to emphasize the many benefits of getting enough sleep. So whilst I share the agony of a decade of my own sleeping problems in my book Positive Sleep, my emphasis is more on the life-changing effects of getting the sleep you need.
So what is enough sleep? How can sleep help you? Are there any tips that can really help you sleep better? Sleep science itself is really only about 100 years old, and multiple studies over that time show that the vast majority of us need 7.5 to 8 hours of sleep in a 24-hour period. This need not necessarily be in one go, so the opportunity for a nap (NASA recommends 26 minutes!), ideally before 3 pm can truly help us catch up on our rest during the day.
One part of us that disproportionately benefits from being well-rested is the prefrontal cortex of the brain, which directs our executive functions—areas such as problem-solving, reasoning, organization, planning and carrying out plans.