Sleep is important — so don’t let anyone ever tell you otherwise. Because, while there exists a bunch of business tycoons and billionaires who swear they don’t need to catch more than a couple of Zzzs every night, there’s not a person alive who wouldn’t function a lot more effectively after sleeping just a little more soundly.
So ignore Twitter founder Jack Dorsey, who once revealed in an interview that he spends 20 waking, working hours every day away from his bed. Take no notice of Richard Branson, who allegedly gets by on five fleeting hours of sleep. And pay absolutely no attention to Tom Ford, who maintains he can function on just three snatched hours of snoozing.
Instead, look to Jeff Bezos, Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg. Equally successful, these entrepreneurs can be found on the flip side of the power-nap pillow. They proudly prioritise rest and make sure that, above all else, they clock a full eight hours every night. And Amazon, Microsoft and Facebook haven’t suffered too much in the success department…
But it’s not just the magnates and moguls who benefit from a full night of shut-eye — many more budding businessmen and entrepreneurs set store by sufficient sleep. And so they should. As Savoir Beds, the British-based bed manufacturer that has produced quality headboards, bases mattresses for over a century, will tell you; sleep is key to rejuvenation and reinvigoration.
Whilst we’re asleep, our bodies reboot; with nerves reorganising, cells repairing, hormones releasing and thoughts reshuffling. It’s a key part of every 24-hour cycle, and one we should invest in as readily as we do our wardrobes, drinks cabinets or car collections. That’s why Savoir Beds make fewer than 1,000 beds a year — because the brand is committed to creating the most well-crafted, sleep-enhancing products it can.
Whether that’s painstakingly star-lashing hourglass springs or sourcing fibres from cashmere to Mongolian yak down, the British brand knows the benefits of an excellent night’s sleep — and so do the six entrepreneurs below. Like Gates and Bezos above, these businessmen value the restorative qualities of sleep, and have shared their own bedtime tips and tricks with us…
Gauthier Van Malderen, founder & CEO of Perlego
Many of us crack the spine on a well-thumbed paperback before bed — but Gauthier Van Malderen prefers heavier reading. As the founder of Perlego, an ‘online university library’ and unlimited font of e-textbooks, the Belgian businessman has made a living by facilitating the education of others. But what can he teach us about sleep?
I’ve found winding down properly hugely beneficial to my sleep schedule. An hour-and-a-half before I go to bed, my room becomes a ‘no phone zone’. I like to then use that time to focus, reflect on my day, and plan ahead for tomorrow.
I’d recommend you try to go to bed earlier, sleep in a cool room, and exercise when you wake up. I also recently read Sleep: The Owner’s Manual by Pierce Howard on Perlego, which I’d highly recommend if you want to build a better relationship with sleep.
Phil Beahon, co-founder of Castore Sportswear
It’s no secret that a healthy lifestyle is key to a good night’s sleep. And no-one knows that better than Phil Beahon, who co-founded Castore Sportswear with his brother Tom in 2015. With brand partnerships now ranging from Rangers FC and Wolverhampton Wanderers to McLaren F1 and Andy Murray, Beahon’s schedule is slammed. So how does he relax?
Life is always incredibly busy as an entrepreneur running a fast-growth company, and I have a similar approach to sleep as many of the elite athletes that Castore partners with. Namely, that I take sleep very seriously. No matter what hours I’m working, or whether I’ve been travelling or hosting dinner meetings, I always ensure I get a full nine hours. Without it, I can’t function and do my job at the level I need to.
I always have a hot shower and will drink a chamomile tea an hour before bedtime — which really helps with the quality of my sleep. I try my best not to use any digital devices for at least 30 minutes before lights out, and always have a full glass of water as soon as I wake up. That really helps get me going.
Caspar Rose, CEO of Fresh Fitness Food
According to various scientific sleep studies, foods ranging from almonds and walnuts to kiwis can help us achieve a better standard of shut-eye. Caspar Rose, the mind behind meal delivery service Fresh Fitness Food, knows this to be true. But what else can the bespoke nutrition expert tell us about his sleep routine?
For me, the set-up is important; a white room, white linen, chilled temperature and soft T-shirt. Be in bed by 10pm, read 10 pages, take a CBD supplement and you’re asleep by 10:30pm. My Oura ring tells me I get most of my deep sleep before 12am, so early nights are best. And putting the phone charger in another room helps ensure I don’t stare at something in bed pre-sleep.
The single best thing I’ve done for my sleep is get a Lumie lamp — particularly in winter, when it lights up the room and I’m not fumbling around for the lamp switch in the morning. Once I wake up, I drink 500ml of water, before heading out to get my Fresh Fitness Food delivery from my doorstep. I have a strict morning routine from 6am to 10am daily. It’s always the same — which helps me set my pace for the day.
Marek Mossakowski, CEO of Lumity
For many of us, it takes more than a cup of chamomile tea and a chapter or two to send us off to sleep. Thankfully, there exists supplements to soothe us to sleep — such as those produced by Lumity. Marek Mossakowski is the CEO of this start-up, but sometimes even this father-of-two and keen runner can struggle to drift off to sleep. Here’s how he copes…
To sleep, I need to be physically tired; my body needs to be knackered. Daily morning exercise ensures I go to bed needing sleep on a physiological level. I also try to avoid screens for 45 minutes before I turn off the lights, and Lumity Morning & Night supplements are now — without fail — part of my bedtime routine. I religiously take four softgels with a sip of water before bed. My sleep is much deeper and I’ve started dreaming again, for the first time in ages.
Something I’ve also noticed is the importance of body temperature levels. Not overheating is key — try sleeping with thinner layers and bin the big fluffy duvet for a much thinner duvet and blanket. Finally, alcohol is terrible for a good nights sleep. So, if I am having a few glasses, I make sure to have plenty of water and food before bed. I’ve also found myself meeting friends for drinks and food much, much earlier! It may be pretty sad to admit, but it’s a simple tactic that works, and with very few downsides — restaurants love a 6pm booking!
Guy Hills, founder of Dashing Tweeds
It’s been proven that, while we sleep, our minds begin to form and flesh out ideas. Both sides of the brain can better communicate whilst we’re asleep — and a good night of quality rest is something Guy Hills is always sure to prioritise. A fashion photographer, Hills founded weave design studio Dashing Tweeds in 2006, and relies on a nightly reinvigoration of his creative faculties to stay ahead of the style curve…
I really do need a good night’s sleep, as my whole creative process depends on waking up full of beans! Luckily, I’m quite a heavy sleeper, and typically nod off as soon as my head hits the pillow. I’ll take a bath before bedtime and, if I’m feeling unusually anxious, I’ll add some lavender drops.
Often, I’ll listen to BBC Radio 3’s ‘Night Tracks’ — they play an ethereal mix to really take you away from reality. And an occasional visit to my garden barrel sauna always guarantees a restful night. My mornings are easy. My alarm goes off just before 7am, and I’m up like a shot. By 7:20, I’m getting tea, porridge, bacon and eggs ready for my family. And, if no eggs break, it’s going to be a very good day.
Dr Guy Meadows, co-founder and Clinical Lead at Sleep School
Finally, we turn to a man who’s both a sleep expert and an entrepreneur. Dr Guy Meadows founded Sleep School in 2011, to help offer bespoke sleep support for clients’ specific needs. He explains that sleep is made up of three stages — light, deep and ‘rapid eye movement’ sleep — and that each stage has a different job, from growth and repair to mood regulation and memory processing. Here’s how he personally approaches bedtime…
My wind-down routine typically starts around two hours before bed. The first thing I do is switch off my phone and place it in a drawer in the kitchen until the morning. I then put my children to bed, which now that they are older involves playing card games, puzzles or reading to each other.
Once this is done, I may watch a little relaxing television or listen to some music, whilst following my nightly stretching routine. I’ll then head to the bedroom and read for 30 minutes before turning out the light. Some more tips and tricks on how to survive the night:
- Stop struggling against sleep. It’s a natural, biological process that can’t be controlled, and battling against it will only wake you up more. At Sleep School, we’ve pioneered the use of ‘Acceptance and Commitment Therapy’, which proposes that the first step towards achieving better sleep is to accept that you’re awake. Once you can change the way you think, you begin to remove the obstacles in the way of your sleep.
- Stay in bed, even if you wake up. It’s perfectly normal to wake in the night. But how you respond to nighttime waking determines whether you shift into a state of active wakefulness, or remain in quiet wakefulness; the bridge state to sleep. Stay in bed and rest in a state of quiet wakefulness, as this will offer many benefits similar to sleep including energy conservation, repair and memory consolidation.
- Keep a regular sleep wake cycle. Keeping an irregular sleeping pattern creates a jet lag effect known as social jetlag, whereby the brain starts to sleep and wake up at the wrong times. Going to bed and getting up at ‘roughly’ the same time each night, even on the weekends, helps to keep your body clock on time and promote a strong link between bedtime and good quality sleep.
Want more sleep tips? Here’s why ‘sleep more and sleep well’ should be everyone’s new year resolution…
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