Are Entrepreneurs in Danger of Burnout?

There is a reason they call it “business”. The word as we know it comes from the Middle English term “busyness” (no prizes for deciphering that), which in term comes from the Old English word, “bisgnis”. Interestingly, in contemporary linguistics bisgnis translates to “anxiety”.

Which is, ironically, rather worrying.

This etymological finding says a lot about the current entrepreneurial psyche. Though work-induced insomnia might be in vogue, experts are concerned about the oncoming burnout that hardcore business owners are putting themselves through in order to keep on top of work.

In the long term, this is doing far more harm than good.

Why We Need Sleep

Sleep is seriously underrated. The body works with cycles of REM (Rapid Eye Movement – basically the time during sleep when you dream) and Non-REM, as a way of giving your brain a kind of MOT, except with neurons instead of mechanics in oil-stained jumpsuits.

A normal full cycle lasts approximately 90 minutes, which means in six hours of sleep you’ll dream four times. In fact, it needs between six and eight hours per night for you to function properly.

The Sleep Council has observed a phenomenon they like to call “sleep hacking”, the false belief that one can “cheat” sleeping by training the body not to feel exhaustion.

Which, if you think about it, is kind of like trying to train a car to run without petrol.

It’s an idealised, glistening view of the world, but it doesn’t exist. Really, your body needs sleep, and it needs it regularly.

This Means Business

You may think that by burning the midnight oil, you can get more done and generally enjoy greater business success. This isn’t true. Lack of sleep seriously impairs your ability to make informed decisions, as well as disrupting short-term memory and task management, which means, well, you’ll kind of suck at your job.

All that work that you’ll be steadily getting worse at finishing will begin to mount up, leaving you amped up with the adrenaline your brain releases under stress. Keep it up and you’ll eventually have to deal with insomnia.

One of the best steps you can make is outsourcing any excess work you might be dealing with. That way, the work is still getting done at a decent pace, without you having to miss out on your Z’s. If you’re worried about cost, it’s worth considering that some outsourcing companies provide relief for overflow, meaning you don’t have to worry about unnecessary spending.

Maximising Sleep

– Unwind before bed. Doing work or exercise a couple of hours before bed can really hinder your ability to relax.
– Don’t work in your bedroom. You need to sleep in an environment you don’t associate with work.
– Take naps. It’s the in thing – Google and Nike both encourage short naps in the daytime to maximise employees’ productivity. Twenty minutes is ideal.

A real entrepreneur needs to recognise the importance of sleep and its relevance to business. Sleep tight!

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