On average, adults make about 35,000 decisions a day, and for small business owners, a lot of those decisions have to do with the well-being and advancement of your business. Unfortunately, there’s no way to guarantee that all of your choices will pay off in the long run. There are, however, ways to make sure you’re making the most educated decisions; from big money-making choices to how many paper plates you need in your store’s next delivery order.
Believe it or not, one of the major secrets to success is actually a full night’s rest.
How Sleep Impacts Decision Making
During sleep, REM sleep in particular, your brain is actively improving your memory, your ability to retain new information, your mood, and decision making. When you don’t give your brain an ample amount of time to run through its processes, you might be doing your business more harm than you think.
In a 2016 study by the Rand Corporation, they claimed the United States experiences an economic loss of about $411 billion a year due to employees and managers suffering from a lack of sleep. This totals out to about 1.23 million work days, and that’s money directly out of your business’ pocket solely because of sleep deprivation.
A part of that billion dollar figure has to do with managers and employees making more errors and less accurate decisions. The National Institutes of Health published a study that showed tangible evidence of sleep deprivation’s impact on a person’s performance. A significant lack of sleep slowed response time by up to 50%, and decision making was as inaccurate as somebody with a BAC of 0.05%. After even longer periods without sleep, the participant’s performance was the same as somebody with a BAC of .1%. This means sleepy decision making can be just as risky as drunk decision making, and doing so can mean additional loss for your business.
When it comes to split second decisions, studies have shown your decision making is 4% more accurate after a full night’s sleep. This might not seem like a big deal on paper, but in real life for the sake of your small business, even the smallest advantage counts.
Sleep Tips For Smarter Choices
If you aren’t getting the sleep you need to efficiently run your business and manage your employees, here are a few things you can try out to naturally induce sleep.
- Sleep On A Comfortable Mattress – It’s hard to get a good night’s rest when you’re resting on an uncomfortable surface. If you sleep on a lumpy, old mattress that you purchased 12 years ago, it’s time for a new mattress. The Tuft & Needle mattress is a great option for busy business owners because it’s affordable, comfortable, accommodating, and ships right to your front door.
- Start A Nighttime Routine – Work-related stress is often cited as a reason why some people have trouble sleeping, and this is especially true for small business owners who have responsibilities on their plate 24/7. Practicing a relaxing nighttime routine helps put those anxious thoughts on the backburner, and prepares your mind for sleep mode so it’s easier for you to fall asleep. Common pre-bed activities include light yoga stretches, reading a book, drinking herbal tea, or listening to calming sounds.
- Stick To A Set Bedtime – This goes hand-in-hand with a nighttime routine as you should regularly go to bed at the same time to help maximize sleep. Once you get into the habit of going to bed 7-9 hours before you like to wake up, your body will start to recognize when it’s bedtime and naturally wind down your body and mind for bed.
- Avoid Late Caffeine Fixes – Caffeine has a half life of about 5-6 hours, which means it takes about 5 hours for your body to break down just half the amount of caffeine in your body. That means consuming cups of coffee too late into the afternoon can cut into your bedtime, and keep you awake longer than you anticipated. As a rule of thumb, stay away from caffeine intake later than 2 or 3 in the afternoon.
Turn Off Electronics Before Bed – You’ve probably heard of our circadian rhythm, our internal alarm clock that regulates our sleep-wake cycle. It’s heavily influenced by light and darkness, and the blue light that emanates from electronic screens is enough to throw it off track. Unplugging an hour to an hour and a half before bed allows your brain to wind down after constant electronic use and properly prepare for sleep.
McKenzie Dillon is a blogger and sleep enthusiast for The Slumber Yard, a reviews site that focuses on bedding products. In her free time, she likes cooking, hiking and attending concerts.