Wellness

Sleep Like a Baby and Improve Your Life With These Tips From Rayni Collins

Sleep Like a Baby and Improve Your Life With These Tips From Rayni Collins

VENTEUR spoke with Rayni Collins about how to improve our sleep. As an entrepreneur herself, Collins has years of experience helping other professionals manage their mental and sleep health. She believes that everyone can perform at their best if they sleep better. Collins is a Dance/Movement Therapist (BC-DMT), Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) in South Carolina, and Licensed Clinical Mental Health Counselor Supervisor (LCMHCS) in North Carolina trained in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Insomnia (CBT-i). She helps individuals with insomnia, sleep, anxiety, depression, and attention/concentration issues using movement and traditional talk therapy to shift the mind. 

Sleep Health Generally

How many hours of sleep should entrepreneurs get each night, and why?

It's subjective how much an entrepreneur should sleep each night. To sustain the stressful ups and downs in business, the moderate amount of sleep suggested would be 7-8 hours with no less than 6 hours minimum. Less than 6 hours would be hitting the danger zone for overall health in the long term. If an entrepreneur wants a sustainable and thriving business to last, prioritizing their sleep would be one of the best steps. There is only a short period during which a car can run on low battery, oil, and fuel before it fails. It is no different with our bodies and minds. 

What does healthy sleep look like?

Healthy sleep can look similar from person to person: waking up with little difficulty, not having to overly depend on caffeine to keep themselves going throughout the day, being able to stand up without slouching, having no need for a nap, and having some liveliness in their eyes. If a business person can sustain their energy levels and mental sharpness throughout the day, that indicates healthy sleep. 

Unfortunately, many people fall into the trap of thinking they can barely sleep, live on caffeine, and work their way through the day. As a result, health suffers, which adversely affects productivity and the ability to do any work. Is that a path to success? While it may appear to be in the short term, it is not in the long run. 

What is REM sleep, and why does it matter?

Our brains never "turn off,” especially when we sleep. Sleep is the time for repair and restoration. REM (or Rapid Eye Movement ) is when the mind gets to perform essential tasks such as memory consolidation, brain development, and emotional processing. Do you want to be able to remember the names of potential clients or the details of an upcoming presentation? Do you want to appear confident at that upcoming presentation? Getting good quality and quantity of sleep consistently is one surefire way to recall important information and perform at your professional best.

How can someone develop a regular sleep schedule?

A healthy sleep schedule includes going to bed at the same time every night, getting up at the same time every morning, having minimal wake-ups in the night, and waking up with little to no difficulty. 

Setting a consistent wake-up time is one way to develop a regular sleep schedule. By working backward, set the number of hours of sleep you need to get to bed at a reasonable time. Relaxing before bed is essential to get a good night's sleep, so allow at least 30 minutes before bedtime. Relaxing before bed will provide a transition from work mode to sleep mode.

How does a lack of quality sleep affect one's mental health, and why?

When a person suffers from mental health issues, sleep pattern disturbance is commonly one of the first symptoms they experience. Coincidentally, poor sleep habits over time can lead to mental health problems. Whether we keep unhealthy sleep habits consciously or unconsciously due to other health factors, sleep is among the first of our basic needs to be neglected. It can have a cascade of adverse effects on overall health if the mind and body are not given enough time to progress through the REM stage, where emotions are processed, memory is consolidated, and brain development occurs. 

How does a lack of quality sleep affect one's physical health, and why?

Among our body's systems that are most affected by poor sleep is the cardiovascular system: the heart and blood vessels. It is well known that blood pressure and heart rate change when we are stressed or anxious. Poor sleep coupled with stress may lead to a vicious cycle that will harm the body over time and can be fatal: heart attack, stroke, and high blood pressure are some of the most common health conditions that develop. Therefore, aspirations for business success require us to prioritize our primary need, sleep, which is essential for both physical and mental well-being.

What three outside-the-box sleep tips can you share, and why?

Other than the common sleep hygiene tips, I would suggest that entrepreneurs: 

Take the time during the day, especially before bed, to stretch the shoulders and neck. This part of the body is prone to hold tension. It's okay to occasionally take the burden of running a business off your shoulders.

Treat yourself with the same respect as a client or colleague, and commit to taking care of your sleep health. Would you break a promise you made to them? You probably wouldn't look like a good business partner if you did that. The same applies to promises made to yourself.

Change the way you think about sleep. Take a moment to consider what you hope to accomplish by sleeping. Do you want to be mentally sharp the next day? Do you want to stay calm and confident in a meeting the next day? Regardless of what it is, think about that before you go to bed.

Sleep and Technology

How can technology prevent entrepreneurs from getting a good night's sleep, and why?

Getting a good night's sleep can be difficult for entrepreneurs who spend much time on screens during the day and just before bed. Repeated exposure to stimuli, such as technology, changes our minds and bodies over time. Information overload, artificial lighting, short-term gratification, and numerous distractions are all factors that can overload our systems. The human body was not designed to spend hours sitting sedentary and straining the eyes. Time spent on our digital devices takes a toll on our circadian rhythms, the biological clock that tells us when we should be awake and asleep. Those entrepreneurs who only focus on the short-term benefits of technology fail to consider the long-term effects of its influence on their minds and body.    

How can technology help entrepreneurs get a good night's sleep, and why?

Technology for entrepreneurs to get better sleep is out there. Smartphone apps, wearable technology, podcasts, videos, and websites, are great sleep aids that can be used with or without professional guidance. Using any technology to improve sleep health requires identifying the current quantity and quality of sleep. The next step will be determining what needs to be done to enhance sleep quality. It may be challenging for busy entrepreneurs to complete this step independently so they can work with a sleep specialist. However, if business people knew how much better sleep results would benefit their productivity, more would commit to their sleep as they do to their job.

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