Small business owners don’t get enough sleep

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According to PayPal over a quarter of SMB owners are getting 5 hours of sleep or less! You might feel like you’re doing great but in reality if you don’t get enough sleep your health could be suffering.


Mental health is one of the core reasons why business owners have trouble sleeping and the impact of the pandemic enhanced this for many. Unfortunately, PayPal found that over half of respondents had bad sleep thanks to the effects of COVID-19. Interestingly, our ancestry plays a huge role in how we cope with stress which at one point, helped us evade dangers out in the wilderness.

If you think back to our ancestry, adrenaline was a short spike to help us evade danger from predators. We were never really intended to run on that for too long, but even before the pandemic people running on it on a daily, weekly, monthly basis.

To make matters worse, when we’re running off adrenaline, we sleep very close to consciousness – we need to be ready for the next lion. So you sleep lightly, have vivid dreams and wake up like you haven’t slept at all. Then you’re in a vicious cycle of running off adrenaline again, rather than rest.

– Ross J Barr, Acupuncturist and wellness expert

Sleep your way to success

global study found that lack of sleep results in around 207,000 working days of lost time in the UK. With eight in ten British small business owners saying they are regularly having trouble sleeping.

Sleep is one of the most powerful tools we have to aid our success. Physiologically, when you don’t have enough sleep, you’re running off reserve power that’s powered by adrenaline. For a business owner in modern life, this constant risk analysis can lead to over-catastrophising and then decision paralysis because you’re always second guessing yourself. You need to be a good, calm state to make the best decisions for your business without spending hours overanalysing it, and a good night’s sleep helps you do that.

– Ross J Barr, Acupuncturist and wellness expert

Ross’ top tips for getting a good night’s sleep:

  • Eat three meals a day – our bodies are ruled by a circadian rhythm and our food intake is a key signal for our bodies to help it ‘keep time’ throughout the day, so consistent mealtimes are vital.
  • Avoid too much coffee – you want to be running off your own energy, not caffeine, throughout the day.
  • Go to bed when you start to feel tired, but don’t exhaust yourself. Many people make the mistake of thinking that they need to exhaust themselves to sleep better, but in fact it does the opposite as exhaustion causes a spike in adrenaline.
  • Read a book – reading before bed is worth hundreds of pounds of sleep therapy. Preferably a physical one and nothing that is too stimulating, some light fiction is perfect.
  • Don’t worry about getting the perfect sleep – you’ll just end up not sleeping because you’re anxious about not sleeping!

Time for a nap anyone?

2 Responses

  1. The reason many small business owners get little sleep is the hassle they getting from using PayPal, especially when they suspend one’s account for no tangible reason.

  2. Interestingly, that’s often due to PayPal and their affiliates messing up and not stepping up to help.


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