Up All Night? How to Recover from Entrepreneur Insomnia


May 21, 2008   •   Fact checked by Dumb Little Man

Written on 5/21/2008 by David B. Bohl, the author of Slow Down Fast.

Do you toss and turn all night? Do you feel groggy upon awakening? Does your energy crash in the middle of the day? You might be like a large percentage of Americans who do not get enough sound sleep. And you might be like a growing group of business owners who are burning the midnight computer screen.

It’s great fun having your own business and working out of your home office. No commutes, no office politics, and you don’t even have to get dressed. On the flip side of all these perks is that some entrepreneurs never close the door on their work. Do you find yourself too often up all night? Are you racing to meet a deadline and can’t quit until you’re done? And when your head finally hits the pillow at 2:00 am, is your mind racing through all you need to accomplish the next day? Well, it is already the next day!

We refer to this as entrepreneur insomnia and it is very prevalent among new business owners, entrepreneurs with growing businesses, and the typical type-A personality–there’s always more to do! The truth is that if you want to be effective at what you do, enough sound sleep is part of the formula. You will not be as effective in your dealings with clients and in the services you provide, if your brain hasn’t had a chance to wind down and renew itself every night.

Occasionally, you might have an exception where you must get a project out on time. Other than that, how do you recover from entrepreneur insomnia and learn to practice better sleeping habits? Consider some of these helpful hints to cure this unhealthy situation:

    1. Set your business hours. Open your business from 10 am-6 pm, and close the office door promptly at 6 pm. (or choose whatever hours work for you.) If you stay up until 2 am, start your next day at 10 am so you get adequate rest. 
  • Let others know your hours. Your family, friends, and clients need to know when you’re available and when your time will be occupied with work. This way, you can set boundaries and establish a good work-life balance. 
  • Prioritize your days. You’re less likely to find yourself working all night if you focus on your top priorities each day. Save your lower priorities until your higher ones are done, or delegate them to others. 
  • Plan time off. Sleep is renewing, but even more so are full days off from work. If you’re working a 6- or 7-day week now, plan at least one day off/week, at least one full weekend/month and at least one or more weeks/year. That means no business, no laptops, no emails–just rest, renew, refresh. 
  • Use your bed for sleeping. Don’t bring work to bed. Finish it in the office, close the door, brush your teeth, put on your pajamas, and climb into bed. It’s time for sleep, not more business.

You, your clients, and your family will get so much more value out of who you are and what you have to offer if you recover from entrepreneur insomnia, and balance your life between work and rest.



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