When we were younger the jokes were (especially for startup founders) “sleep is for the weak” and “you can sleep when your dead”. This hubris is part of a toxic work ethic and I’m glad that startups are being coached more constructively these day. The majority of society and employees have no real understanding of founders challenges – that for another post.

There is now loads of resources on founder well-being and I think that is a facet of a larger Game B evolution that must take place.

Mid way through my first startup, when things were going through a rough patch I started to worry (its a family habit) and getting up to code at around 5am – it was very productive and clear-headedness and freedom from distraction suited me – many developers do the late night after the kids have gone to bed.

My circadian clock got stuck on this cycle and its essential for me to get the “hours before midnight” that are recommended as beneficial. So, decades later I rue the “sleep is for the weak” mantra. I’m definitely underweight (sleep lost can lead to lower testosterone production and HGH).

We all have to make sleep a priority as the impacts are far-reaching – the best book I know is Why We Sleep  by Matthew Walker, I’ve seen him speak and reckon he’s the real deal. Some things he says in the book are pretty damning about things like sleeping tablets.

Heres an interview with Matthew and Rhonda Patrick.

Making Sleep a Priority but not a worry

An important takeaway from the book above is the cycle of desperation people get into. So surprise, surprise for many people mental and monkey-mind aspects a key. For me, its essential to tell myself that sleep is a high priority just as much as fixing some startup problem – it’s as essential as eating.

Worrying about sleep is rumination like any other, so the best strategy is Meditation. I’ve made any awake time an ideal opportunity to get deep meditation time – you can almost guarantee that it has the reverse effect of putting you to sleep – bingo ?

Sleep Hygiene

My problem is not getting to sleep its what happens after waking up.

There are loads of resources on sleep hygiene but I’ve got a few of my own:

  • Blue Blocker glasses after dinner. Some people advise after sunset. I have 2 types – one for watching TV, one for any reading (with a reading magnification).
  • L-theanine – chill baby.
  • No computer in the bedroom, no phone or tablet in the bedroom. This is part of set-and-setting, intention and Placebo – the bedroom must be a sacred place.
  • No clock in the bedroom.
  • Read on paper-white/e-Ink Kindle (less blue light)
  • Stop working at night – If I work, its likely to be hard to get to sleep and dreams tend to be repetitive task/problem oriented.
  • Consciously get in the mindset of winding down beforehand.