Mindfulness 'may help' entrepreneurs who don't have time to sleep

'It might help compensate and provide a degree of relief'

Olivia Petter
Tuesday 05 February 2019 12:20 GMT
What is Mindfulness?

Entrepreneurs often work outside the typical nine to five boundaries, which can hinder your sleep and leave you feeling exhausted and energy-deprived.

According to new research, mindfulness might help replenish some of those lost hours.

A study published in the Journal of Business Venturing claims that practising mindfulness exercises for as little 10 minutes a day could have the same benefits as an additional 44 minutes of sleep a night.

"You can't replace sleep with mindfulness exercises, but they might help compensate and provide a degree of relief," said Charles Murnieks, lead author and professor of strategy and entrepreneurship at Oregon State University.

Mindfulness is defined by the NHS as “paying more attention to the present moment” and experiencing a heightened sense of awareness to your own thoughts and feelings.

It can be practiced in a number of ways, for example through the mediums of yoga and meditation, but can also easily be incorporated into your daily life.

For the study, Murnieks and his team conducted two experiments with entrepreneurs, who they defined as people running their own business ventures.

In the first one, they looked at 105 entrepreneurs from all over the US and asked them about their exhaustion levels, how much they slept and whether or not they practiced mindfulness.

More than 40 per cent of participants said they worked 50 hours or more each week and on average slept less than six hours a night.

The researchers found that those who slept the most or engaged in the highest levels of mindfulness had the lowest levels of exhaustion.

In a second experiment of 329 participants, the researchers asked the same questions and found that their initial findings were confirmed: mindfulness can assuage feelings of exhaustion.

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But mindfulness does have its limitations, Murnieks clarified.

"If you're feeling stressed and not sleeping, you can compensate with mindfulness exercises to a point," he said.

"But when you're not low on sleep, mindfulness doesn't improve those feelings of exhaustion."

He added, however, that it may help provide some relief during particularly taxing periods

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