When you own a business – especially a new business – it seems there are not enough hours in the day to get everything done. If you don't have time during the day to complete business tasks, you may need to stay up late to catch up. Doing this occasionally solves a short-term problem, but doing it often introduces other issues. If you need to work late, take steps to stay alert and productive.
How to Stay Up Late
If you know you need to stay up late to work on your business, taking a nap can give you enough energy to make it through the evening. Napping beforehand is a good idea; the longer you are up without sleep, the more your mind and body feel the effects of sleep deprivation. It is counterproductive not to nap if you anticipate a late night because you won't be able to focus on your work due to a lack of sleep.
Using caffeine wisely can get you through evenings when you need to burn the midnight oil. Rather than heading out to get a large coffee with an espresso shot before you start your evening work, take small doses of caffeine the entire time you're awake. If you drink all the caffeine at once, it won't be enough to get you through a long evening. In fact, there's a good chance you'll end up in a caffeine crash and not be productive.
An additional tip to staying up late is to stay in a well-lit area. Turn on all the lights in the area where you are working. Bright light can trick your body's internal clock into thinking it's not nighttime.
Why Business Owners Stay Up Late
Many business owners wear multiple hats, especially when they first start out. You may have felt the need to complete reports or last-minute client work at night. Many successful business owners wake up early, but sometimes life gets in the way, and working late into the evening is necessary to complete tasks.
As long as staying up late doesn't become a habit, it's a great way to tackle overdue work you can't get to in the daytime.
Potential Risks of Staying Up Late
Staying up late is not a long-term solution for running your business. Lack of sleep has several downsides that affect your ability to perform productively, impact your relationships, and damage your health. Staying up late repeatedly is likely to:
- Weaken Your Immune System – Your immune system is linked to a predisposed wake and sleep cycle, known as the circadian rhythm. The circadian rhythm is programmed for regular sleep and wake intervals, and when you change your sleep routine, your immune system suffers.
- Increase your risk of diabetes and metabolic syndrome – Men who pull all-nighters are at increased risk for diabetes. Women who consistently stay up late are twice as likely to develop metabolic syndrome.
- Cause a decline in brain health – When experiencing chronic sleep loss, you are depriving your brain of nutrients and the time it needs to reset.
- Increase mental errors – It doesn't do you any good to stay up late if you make mistakes in your work.
- Negatively affect your personal relationships – Your family and friends want to see you occasionally. If you are always working, you are depriving them and yourself of normal social interactions.