This article was created by BlogHer for Nature Made.
The old adage “I’ll sleep when I die” is the unofficial slogan of hustle culture. This is especially true for solo-preneurs who are doing the job of multiple people on their own. When there are social media posts to schedule, products to ship, and meetings to power through, rest is rarely on the menu. Or perhaps it’s something you do remember, but keep pushing back whenever you’re determined to check every. single. item. off your to-do list—been there, done that. According to Dr. Susan Mitmesser, Head of Scientific Research for Nature Made, the proof is in the staggering statistics. In the United States alone, 70 percent of adults claim to have some sort of sleep trouble. However, this doesn’t mean you should stay up just because everyone else is.
Consider this a much-needed reminder that sleep is necessary because it impacts literally every part of our lives. Everyone should prioritize an adequate amount of shut-eye but the implications for creators and business owners can impact the long-term success of your business. I know, I know—”get more sleep” is such obvious advice. But starving yourself of rest repeatedly not only leads to funky moods and missed deadlines. It can also have a direct impact on your workflow. In fact, here are just a few benefits that may convince you to finally set some nighttime boundaries—and take more naps, too.
Sleep Fuels Body Repair and Immunity
Sleep, nutrition, and physical exercise are the hallmarks of optimal health. They’re also interconnected. This means each one impacts the other and whether that impact is negative or positive is your choice. Let’s zero in on the benefits of sleep for a sec. My personal favorite is this—when we’re off in dreamland, the body is repairing itself.
“Your body during sleep is really rejuvenating and repairing. If you don’t have proper sleep, your body isn’t able to do that,” said Dr. Mitmesser during BlogHer Food. “Your body is also releasing things called cytokines that help fight infection. If you’re not sleeping enough, your body isn’t able to…release these chemicals that help you bolster your immune system.”
Think of the immune system as your body’s ability to fight off infection. Some parts are innate, or “guards not letting something in” and others are adaptive, or “soldiers” that get rid of something if it’s already inside. A weak immune system can impact your ability to thrive as you work. If you’ve ever had to work while having a nasty cold, you know how much it can take you off your A-game.
Sleep Improves Learning and Memory
It’s one thing to have a brilliant idea. Retaining that idea and all of the tactics for bringing it to life is another. This is another reason sleep is especially vital to entrepreneurs. Rest conserves energy and focus, two things you’ll need whether you’re building a business from scratch or a seasoned pro dealing with an unexpected setback.
“[Sleep] is when you take all the things you learned throughout the day and you compartmentalize them in your brain,” said Dr. Mitmesser in an interview about the healing and restorative power of sleep. It’s also reset time for neurons which are the cells that transmit information to different parts of the body, including your brain. During sleep, “the neurons are being trimmed and pruned for better synapsis, or communication between the cells.”
If you’re a stickler for details and multi-tasking, sleep should be your first weapon of defense.
Sleep Inspires More Healthy Habits
Perhaps the greatest benefit of adequate sleep is that it will impact other parts of your daily routine. As I said earlier, because sleep, nutrition, and exercise are connected, all three can support the performance of one another and when necessary, illuminate areas for improvement.
For example, a 2019 study conducted in part by Dr. Mitmesser found a relationship between short sleep and inadequate micronutrient intake; specifically, calcium, magnesium, and vitamins A, C, D, and E. Combined, these nutrients support multiple body functions, sleep included, so they should always be in your diet.
Giving your pantry a makeover is one of the best ways to improve nutrition and sleep hygiene. Here are just a couple of foods each of these key nutrients can be found in:
Calcium: dairy products like milk and cheese, leafy green vegetables, sardines, and some canned salmon, beans, and lentils
Magnesium: nuts, seeds, legumes, avocados, and whole grains
Vitamin A: liver, cod liver oil, sweet potato, and bright orange vegetables like carrots
Vitamin C: citrus fruits, dark green leafy vegetables, bell peppers, melons, and strawberries
Vitamin D: fatty fish (salmon, sardines, tuna), cod liver oil, egg yolks, and fortified milk
Vitamin E: nuts, seeds, and some oils, dark green vegetables, and some seafood
Depending on your lifestyle, supplements are also an option that will save you time without sacrificing your health. Dr. Mitmesser says a multivitamin is a “great place to start” since it provides a solid foundation of micro-nutrients that will help strengthen your immune system.
No matter your needs, go with a reputable brand like Nature Made that is USP-verified and make sure your daily regimen is something you can stick to. If you don’t like swallowing pills, you can also take supplements in a different form, like, say, a gummy or soft gel tablet (my personal fave).
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