Dear younger self,
Get some sleep. I know you are proud of your unbounded energy and ability to live without it, but sleep has many scientifically proven benefits and will help you succeed in the game of business.
As a runner, you’ll appreciate that entrepreneurship is a marathon, not a sprint. Overnight success stories are actually built over a decade. It will take courage, resilience, physical and emotional strength to succeed. Sleep will be your essential companion during the good times and the bad. It will help you maintain the focus and mental health required to go the distance.
Business building entails a series of important, time-sensitive decisions. Sleep improves our cognitive and decision-making abilities. Decisions will need to be made quickly – with a clear, objective and focused mind, oftentimes with limited data points, and relying primarily on your instincts. During sleep, your brain is busy processing your day, making connections between events, sensory input, feelings, and memories. Deep sleep is a very important time for your brain to make memories and links, and getting more quality sleep will help you remember and process things better.
People make successful businesses. Sleep is linked to emotional and social intelligence. Someone who does not get adequate sleep is more likely to have issues recognising other people’s emotions and expressions. You’ll need empathy to understand how to lead the people who will drive the business towards success.
Entrepreneurship is lonely. It’s a difficult road full of ups and downs. You must be mentally strong. There will be days of despair and days of elation.
There is an association between sleep and mental health. Lack of sleep can accentuate stress and lead to depression. Sleep impacts many of the chemicals in your body, including the production of serotonin. Serotonin helps regulate your mood and social behaviour, appetite and digestion, memory, and sexual desire and function.
Business building is relentless and so is parenthood. Not only will you and your partner be building two businesses but you’ll be blessed with identical twin boys. There will be no downtime during evenings, weekends or sick days. Sleep helps the body repair, regenerate, and recover. Research shows how better sleep quality can improve the immune system and help the body fight off infection. A good night’s sleep makes you feel energized and alert the next day.
Perhaps most importantly, sleep is when you dream, and your dream is to make a positive impact on the world. So if you really want to make a dent in the universe, go to bed and get some rest. There’s a long journey ahead. Good night!
This originally appeared on Tech Nation's blog, which you can find here.