As a high-performing entrepreneur, you need to be at the top of your game by staying alert and sharp all the time.
Even though you can reach for energy drinks and focus-boosting supplements, those are just quick fixes that may actually deplete your reserves. There’s no shortcut to sustaining top performance other than good old-fashioned shuteye.
Getting quality sleep is the key to boosting brain functions. It helps your brain work faster, make sense of new information, cement memories, think creatively, and clear out toxins accumulated during the day.
However, it’s not always easy if you travel a lot. Besides being on the road at odd hours when you should be sleeping, traveling also puts a lot of stress on your body that could impact the quality of sleep.
Here are some sleep hacks to help you maximize the benefits of sleep while you’re on the road:
- Time Your Caffeine Intake
Caffeine helps you stay alert but it can also keep you up when you need to sleep. For most people, caffeine takes six to eight hours to move out of the system. If you want to go to sleep at 11 pm, you should avoid drinking caffeinated beverages (including black or green tea, hot chocolate, and some sodas) after 3 pm.
- Nap At the Right Time
If your sleep schedule is interrupted due to travel, incorporating a nap during the day can help you catch up on some rest. Naps taken at different times and of various duration deliver different benefits. For example, a 25-minute nap from 9 to 10.30 am after some early morning work helps increase creativity, one taken around 12 to 2 pm boosts alertness, and a nap between 2 to 4 pm helps improve memory.
- Take a “Caffeine” Nap
To supercharge your power nap, drink a cup of black coffee and then nap for 15 to 25 minutes. It’s important not to oversleep so you may want to set an alarm. This hack, popular among many CEOs, can help you improve energy and focus for as long as 4 hours.
- Consume Magnesium
Magnesium deficiency can impact the quality of your sleep. Increase your magnesium level by taking a supplement and adding more magnesium-rich foods to your diet, such as legumes, nuts, seeds, whole grains, green leafy vegetables, milk, and yogurt.
- Minimize Blue Light
Blue light from computers, smartphones, and TV screens can interfere with our circadian rhythm by turning off melatonin production, making it harder to fall asleep when you need to. Ideally, you should stop looking at screens an hour or two before bedtime. If that’s not possible, use blue light blocking glasses and turn on the “night mode” on your phone and computer.
- Rest During Your Travel
While it’s tempting to squeeze as much work out of the time you sit on a plane or train as possible, you may be better off if you take some time to rest. Even if you don’t fall asleep, resting helps you conserve and restore energy. Also, change your watch to the local time at your destination as soon as you board the flight and make an effort to adjust to the time zone.
- Create an Ideal Sleeping Environment
Upon arrival at your hotel room, check to see if there’s anything that could hinder your sleep. For example, if you’re sensitive to noise, request a room far away from the elevator and the ice machine. Also, make sure the air conditioning is working properly — for most people, the ideal temperature for sleep is around 67 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Bring Blackout Blinds
A dark environment can help you fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer. If you’re sensitive to light, you can bring a set of portable blackout blinds to make sure you can sleep well regardless of the hotel room setup or your travel schedule.
- Have a Notepad Handy
Entrepreneurs come up with ideas all the time and having them swirl in your head can keep you awake. Not to mention, there are many moving parts when organizing business travel and they can keep you up at night. Put a notepad next to your bed so you can write down anything that comes to mind when you’re trying to fall asleep. This can help you relax because you don’t have to worry about forgetting them when you wake up!
- Establish a Bedtime Routine
Design a bedtime routine you can practice anywhere to de-stress and relax. For example, by taking a hot shower, drinking a cup of warm (non-caffeinated!) tea, writing in a journal, or doing some gentle stretches. Having a routine can signal to your body and mind that you’re ready to rest — no matter where you are in the world.
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