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Managing midnight thoughts for entrepreneurs

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Do any of you ever find yourself waking up in the middle of the night with a million thoughts racing through your head, your mind buzzing with new business ideas and concerns? 

Boost business adviser Kerry Stevens, a serial entrepreneur who has set up and run several of her own companies, offers some practical tips to help you navigate these midnight thoughts.

Why is it that we always seem to have our most profound thoughts at three am? As entrepreneurs, we know the value of a good night's sleep for our productivity and overall well-being. So, I did some digging and found out that our body has its own internal clock, also known as the circadian rhythm, which regulates when we feel awake and when we feel sleepy. 

As we transition into the lighter stages of sleep around three am, it’s easier for external factors or internal stimuli to wake us, and our minds can begin to race. This is when we find ourselves in deep contemplation about everything from our never-ending to-do lists to the meaning of life.

But here’s the thing, the voice that wakes us up at three am, is not our true voice. It’s more like the voice of our inner prankster, who just wants to have a little fun. This voice is the one that convinces us that the problem we had at work today is a life-altering crisis and that we’ll never be able to sleep again.

Here are some practical tips to help you navigate these midnight moments and maintain your entrepreneurial edge:

  • Reframe the situation: Instead of viewing these late-night thoughts as disruptions, see them as opportunities for reflection and creativity. Keep a notepad by your bedside to jot down any new ideas that pop into your head. 
  • Practice mindfulness: Relaxation techniques like deep breathing can help calm your mind and body and get you back to sleep in no time.
  • Limit screen time: Going on your phone or computer can stimulate your mind and make it harder to fall back asleep. So, try to avoid checking those emails or catching up with social media for at least an hour before bed and when you wake up in the middle of the night. 
  • Avoid caffeine and sugar: These substances can disrupt your sleep patterns and make it harder to fall back asleep.
  • Establish a bedtime routine: Creating a consistent sleep routine can help regulate your circadian rhythm and make it easier to fall asleep and stay asleep.
  • Embrace the comedy of it all: Instead of getting frustrated and stressed, try to find the humour in the situation. You might end up laughing yourself back to sleep!

With these tips, you’ll be able to turn your three am wake-up calls into a positive. In fact, the following day (hopefully when you feel better rested and refreshed), armed with your notepad, why not contact Boost and talk through your notes of ideas, concerns, and opportunities with a Flying Start business adviser. 

Our team of advisers understand the challenges and emotion of starting a business and impacts that can be made from turning business ideas into a reality.

About the author

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Through her role as a business adviser delivering the Boost Flying Start programme, Kerry provides pre-start-up support to entrepreneurs starting a business, and business support to owners of young businesses with aspirations to grow.

She is also the founding director of Preston-based Beanstalk Business Centre CIC which provides support and administration services to entrepreneurs, start-ups, not-for-profits and SMEs.

If you’re looking to grow, scale or start your business, use Boost; Lancashire’s Business Growth Hub. We offer a range of funded business support services. Call our Business Support Helpdesk on 0800 488 0057 to find out more or complete our enquiry form.

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