Why Quality Sleep is Important as a Small Business Owner


As a small business owner, you work your share of long, grueling days. There are many where you are content with all you’ve completed. Then, there may be a few days where you feel the need to press on because there is too much to do, and it cannot possibly wait until tomorrow. This is the surefire path to burnout.

While your efforts to push on are admirable, burnout and fatigue will actually do more harm to your work.

How Burnout and Fatigue Affect Performance
Persisting through more work when you're fatigued may feel like you’re taking steps forward, but it can often take you a few steps backward. Here are some ways an exhausted mind and body can affect you:

  • Impaired judgment
  • Weakened motor skills
  • Increased risk of accidents and injuries
  • Slower reaction times
  • Reduced attention span and concentration
  • Limited short-term memory
  • Greater likelihood of irritability and tension

The consequences of a tired brain can hinder productivity and compromise the quality of your output. Regardless of the number of hours you dedicate to work, quality will typically surpass quantity. A well-rested mind, obtained through a good night's sleep, will make you a more effective business owner and operator.

How to Sleep Better
Similar to the importance of your daytime work, the quality of your sleep is just as crucial as the time spent in bed. There are several measures you can take to achieve more restful and rejuvenating sleep. Here are some of the best practices:

  • Minimize stimulation before bed – Light and noise can keep your brain stimulated, especially the blue light from a phone, e-reader, computer or TV. Start winding down the light and noise in your room about 30 minutes before bed so you can relax to the best of your ability.
  • Get comfortable – Aside from getting snug under your sheets, make sure the temperature of your room is just right. Simply being a little too hot or cold can make it hard to reach a level of comfort where you can easily drift off into a deep sleep.
  • Keep a routine – Work in harmony with your body's internal clock by winding down and going to bed at the same time each night. This consistency helps regulate your body's sleep patterns.
  • Manage stress – As a small business owner, there are many things on your mind that may “keep you up at night.” Perhaps look into meditation or think of other ways to relax throughout the day or right before bed.
  • Get out of bed if you can’t sleep – If you find yourself lying awake in frustration, it’s counterproductive. Get out of bed and engage in a mundane or relaxing activity for a few minutes, such as reading a dull book or practicing deep breathing. Return to bed when you feel drowsy.
  • Minimize naps – Naps may get you through the day, but taking one longer than 20 to 30 minutes can really throw off your main sleep schedule.
  • Don’t consume caffeine at least six hours before bed – Caffeine can stay elevated in your bloodstream for up to six to eight hours after consumption, so be sure to take your final sips of coffee, tea or energy drink in the early afternoon at the very latest.

Here are a few more resources you can use to take steps toward improving your sleep:

  • Supplements – There are many supplements that can improve your sleep; here is an in-depth look into melatonin and nine other sleep aids.
  • Assess sleep disorders – You may have an undiagnosed sleep disorder. Familiarize yourself with common sleep disorders and their symptoms. If you identify any of these symptoms, consider consulting a sleep health professional for a thorough evaluation.

A restful night's sleep equips you with the energy to excel throughout the day, every day, as you manage your small business. Moreover, the benefits of obtaining sufficient quality sleep extend far beyond your performance as an owner and operator; it is one of the keys to a happier and healthier life.

The Southern Consumers Alliance helps small business owners, self-employed individuals and their families improve their businesses by removing the knowledge hurdles that can hinder their success. To explore how your comprehensive SCA benefits can help your small business, visit southernconsumers.org.