Last night I woke up at 3 a.m.
That's not too unusual for me as I rarely sleep through the night. After decades of being in business I have learned to allow my body to listen to my mind when it stirs me from slumber. I wake up and intentionally focus on what my mind has brought to my attention. I know there are tons of books out there saying all the right things about how to avoid sleep disruption. Don't work two hours before you go to bed. Don't eat late. Don't get up. Meditate if you wake up, and relax until you fall back asleep. Do not look at your blackberry. The list goes on and on.
But you know what? From years of experience I understand that sometimes it is small amounts of sleep that allow my subconscious to work on an unresolved problem that I had in the day. So, when I wake up thinking about that specific problem, I pay attention to what my mind is generating. Usually that's when I can isolate the issue and find a solution. It amazes me how our minds work. And I know our bodies do need rest. But the fact is, over the years I have solved more problems at 3 a.m. then I have in a whole day of activity. Too often, we spend our days so busy "doing" that we have no time for "thinking". As an entrepreneur, that challenge is likely exasperated as we end up being actively engaged in all aspects of our growing businesses. Which is in and of itself an issue (and a topic for another blog post).
Perhaps I will have doctors respond to this blog and say I am preaching about accepting the wrong type of behavior; that what I do by not sleeping through the night is bad for you. But I wonder: is it? Is it wrong that my mind wants to solve problems while I sleep, and wakes me to be more aware? I love sleep. Don't get me wrong. But equally, I love how my mind can step in and help me -- particularly when I can't seem to help it during a busy day.
As an entrepreneur I rely heavily on my instincts and my work ethics. I try to find as many inputs as I can to solve problems. However, when our minds are full of facts and "doing", we need to allow some processing of what's in there to occur naturally. And for me, that often happens during the night.
What about you? Are you a solid sleeper? Do you think entrepreneurs sleep less and have more disruptive sleeps than the norm?