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How To Optimize Your Energy And Focus With Better Sleep And Nutrition

Written by: Jessica Spendlove, Executive Contributor

Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.

Executive Contributor Jessica Spendlove

As entrepreneurs, your success isn't just about scaling your business; it's also about optimizing your own performance. While you're juggling investor meetings, team leadership, and strategic planning, it's easy to overlook the fundamentals like diet and sleep that keep you operating at peak capacity. You already know a balanced breakfast can set the tone for a productive day and that quality sleep is non-negotiable for decision-making and innovation. Yet, the synergistic relationship between your dietary choices and sleep quality often remains underexplored. This article dives into the critical link between sleep and nutrition, equipping you with targeted strategies to refine your diet, improve your sleep, and ultimately amplify your entrepreneurial effectiveness.

Woman sleeping on blue throw pillow

What to do

Leverage the power of nutrition

As an entrepreneur, your diet isn't just fuel; it's a strategic investment in your performance and well-being. A 2020 study in the journal Nutrients showed that adhering to a Mediterranean diet led to a 30% reduction in sleep disturbances. This underlines the importance of incorporating nutrient-dense foods like vegetables, fruits, lean proteins, whole grains, and healthy fats to regulate your sleep-wake cycle effectively.

The sleep-nutrition loop is reciprocal: a poor diet can ruin sleep quality, and inadequate sleep often drives unhealthy eating, particularly cravings for sugar and caffeine. Fatigue leads to quick fixes, which unfortunately do more harm than good. A lack of sleep is associated with higher levels of ghrelin, the "hunger hormone," making you more likely to consume extra calories and opt for sugary snacks.

To counteract this, begin your entrepreneurial day with a protein-focused breakfast. Incorporate nutrient-rich foods like eggs or Greek yogurt to not only break the cycle but also to sustain your energy for the demanding day ahead.

Stock up on specific nutrients

To give your sleep quality a further edge, include tryptophan-rich foods in your diet. Tryptophan, an amino acid, is a precursor to serotonin, which eventually helps in the production of melatonin, the "sleep hormone." Foods such as turkey, chicken, fish, and eggs can significantly impact both your sleep duration and quality. Pairing these protein sources with high-fiber carbohydrates enables quicker absorption of tryptophan, enhancing its sleep-promoting effects. Don't overlook foods high in melatonin like tart cherries, eggs, fatty fish, and nuts. Magnesium, found in leafy greens, nuts, legumes, and seeds, is another key nutrient that can improve your sleep by aiding muscle relaxation.

Be proactive rather than reactive

In the ever-demanding life of an entrepreneur, meal prepping can be your ally. Prepare balanced meals in advance or opt for pre-made healthy options. Keep these easily accessible in your workspace and home to encourage performance-focused eating habits even amidst back-to-back meetings and deadlines.

By being intentional about your dietary choices, you're not just fueling your body; you're setting the stage for better sleep and, by extension, superior decision-making, increased focus, and enhanced creativity—qualities every entrepreneur needs to succeed.

What not to do

Unwind with alcohol

It's tempting to reach for a glass of wine to unwind after a high-stakes pitch or intense work session, but think twice. While alcohol can initially make you feel drowsy, extensive research suggests it compromises sleep quality. It interferes with your sleep cycle and may cause you to miss the crucial REM stage. Poor sleep can impact your decision-making and focus the next day, affecting your entrepreneurial effectiveness.

Consume caffeine late in the day

Coffee may be an entrepreneur's best friend for morning productivity, but it's a foe for quality sleep if consumed late. A study in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine showed that caffeine, even six hours before bedtime, affects sleep quality. To stay alert for late afternoon Zoom calls or investor meetings without compromising sleep, consider decaffeinated options or herbal teas.

Indulge in refined sugars

When you're burning the midnight oil, sugary snacks might seem like a quick energy fix. However, foods high in refined sugars can disrupt your sleep. A 2016 study found that higher sugar intake led to more frequent awakenings during the night. Disrupted sleep can impair your problem-solving and creativity, essential skills for scaling your venture.

Eat heavy meals late in the evening

As an entrepreneur, your schedule may often require late-night work, making it tempting to indulge in a heavy, late-evening meal. This can lead to discomfort and sleep disruptions, affecting your performance the next day. If you need to eat late, opt for lighter, protein-rich meals and aim to finish eating a few hours before you sleep.

Drink excessive fluids before bed

Staying hydrated is crucial, especially during marathon sessions of work. However, too much fluid intake before bed can lead to frequent bathroom trips, disrupting your sleep cycle. A fragmented sleep pattern can hinder your ability to focus and execute tasks efficiently the next day.

By steering clear of these pitfalls, you can optimize your sleep quality and, in turn, your entrepreneurial effectiveness.

As entrepreneurs, your success is deeply intertwined with your personal well-being, specifically your nutrition and sleep patterns. Making smart dietary choices doesn't just fuel your workdays; it can dramatically enhance your sleep quality. Leveraging cutting-edge technology like the Oura ring can offer valuable data to fine-tune your sleep habits. These two interconnected elements have the power to significantly boost your cognitive function, problem-solving skills, and overall effectiveness, essential attributes in the fast-paced, ever-changing landscape of entrepreneurship.

Are you an entrepreneurial Overachiever, an All-or-Nothing Visionary, or a Ticking Time Bomb in the high-stakes world of business? Take a step towards mastering your high-performance lifestyle by completing the High-Performance Profile Quiz. Tailored for entrepreneurs like you, this quiz will help you understand how your current habits impact your business success and personal well-being. Discover your unique profile today and unlock strategies to sustain peak performance. Visit High Performance Profile Quiz and take your first step towards entrepreneurial excellence.

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Jessica Spendlove Brainz Magazine

Jessica Spendlove, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine

Jess Spendlove is a leading Performance Dietitian, Holistic High-Performance Coach and Speaker acclaimed for guiding thousands of athletes and corporate trailblazers to their peak potential. Her adolescent struggles with under-fuelling catalysed her distinguished career. Jess’s expertise transcends reaching the top; she equips high-achieving individuals to stay there. Her strategies have supported success stories from professional footballers to CEOs, Olympic champions, and the Australian Defence Force's School of Special Operations. Her expertise in optimising performance is second to none. Whether an elite athlete, founder, established entrepreneur or corporate powerhouse, Jess is the guiding force behind achieving excellence.


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