We all know the classic scenario of an overworked entrepreneur having a mental breakdown and being forced to take time off work.
Pulling all-nighters in the name of growing your business seems like a no-brainer to most, yet at the same time, the majority of successful entrepreneurs won’t stop stressing the importance of a good night’s rest to their success. Richard Branson and Arianna Huffington are both good examples of this.
The idea of sleeping when you have a heap of emails to get through might seem insane, but that sleep could actually be driving your business’s growth and creativity the following day. The CMO of Fitstop Australia, Travis Telfer, puts it: “Getting a good night’s sleep should be as high on your priority list as opening the doors to your business.”
Whether you’re already an entrepreneur or want to harness that business creativity to come up with a new side hustle idea, here’s how a good night’s rest will inspire and increase your business creativity and innovation.
Mental recovery inspires ideas
A 2018 study published in the Journal of Business Venturing explored how recovering mentally from work stresses helped to increase the daily idea generation of 62 entrepreneurs. The study found that getting enough sleep played a critical role in an entrepreneur’s creativity and ability to generate ideas the next day.
In fact, the relationship between sleep and creativity was so dependent in this study that the researchers concluded that ‘creativity’ should no longer be considered a stable trait, but rather a dynamic state that can change from day-to-day. This basically means that creativity isn’t something you’re born with, but something that you can pick up (and lose) through efficient sleep.
More productivity = more creativity
Sometimes you need a little boredom to inspire your best ideas. How does sleep come into this? Well, a healthy sleep schedule does wonders in enhancing your cognitive abilities while you work, helping you to react, solve problems, and make decisions faster.
With increased mental alertness and focus, your work productivity and performance will skyrocket, helping you smash through your daily tasks a lot faster. With all your work done quicker, you’ll be left with more time to brainstorm new ideas and more mental space to get creative with your business.
We now know that rather than switching off while we sleep, our brain actually remains quite active. And after learning something new, our brains are even more active when we sleep. Essentially, if we sleep (or power nap) after learning new information, our brain runs over the details of what we’ve just learned and consolidated all the memories. In turn, this makes the information clearer in our minds and helps us find better solutions.
In business, this translates to more creative problem solving and outside-the-box thinking. As an entrepreneur, there’s never a day when you’re not learning, and we all know that the importance of creative thinking is essential. Getting enough sleep on a daily basis will help you approach problems and decisions from a fresh, clearer perspective so you can run your business better.
It’s clear that sleep is more than just a time of rest. It’s a time of processing, rewiring, de-stressing, and polishing our minds so we can perform our best the following day. For business, sleep is a tool for increasing creativity, problem-solving, and decision making. As an entrepreneur, you need to start looking at sleep as an investment for your business.
While it may be tempting to stay up all night working, you’ll essentially be missing out on powerful time to regenerate your mind for the next day. Anyone who values innovation and business creativity should value sleep – and to be honest, who isn’t a little eager to put sleep down as a work-related task?
Author bio: Luke Fitzpatrick is a Forbes contributor and an academic speaker at Sydney University. In his past, he has worked for startups in both South Korea and Australia.