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Business on the Brain: 8 Exercises to Clear the Mind So You Can Get a Good Night’s Rest

Georgia McIntyre

Georgia McIntyre

Finance Writer at Fundera
Georgia McIntyre is the resident Finance Writer at Fundera. She specializes in all things small business finance, from lending to accounting. Questions for Georgia? Comment below!
Georgia McIntyre

As a small business owner, you’re all-on all the time.

Your dedication and commitment to your small business are what make you a great entrepreneur. But if your business is on your mind 24/7, you’re going to burn out from the stress—especially if you can’t get the rest you need to have a clear mind at the start of each day.

Turning your thoughts away from your small business is easier said than done. And don’t worry, many small business owners like yourself suffer from “entrepreneurial insomnia.” In fact, 83% of Americans are stressed about work—you’re not alone.

So if you need some help getting into relaxation mode, here are 8 exercises you can do to clear your mind at the end of each day.

1. Set Work Boundaries

The first step you need to take for turning off your brain is to set boundaries around your work life and your personal life.

Always checking work emails right before bed? Then it’s no surprise that business is on your mind when you turn the lights off. Create a time buffer between working and bed to separate the daily stresses of work from your rest time.

If it makes it easier for you to go offline, tell your clients and employees that you can’t be reached for non-emergency business matters past a certain hour of the day. That way, you won’t be checking in on your small business waiting to see if you’re needed.

Work-life balance is crucial for successful entrepreneurs, so prioritize time when your work is completely off your mind.

2. Create Night-Time Rituals

Immediately turning into sleep mode is challenging for even the most relaxed person—let alone a busy small business owner. If you’re expecting to fall into a relaxing night’s sleep minutes after you’ve closed your laptop and got into bed, you’re setting yourself up for failure.

A common way to cure entrepreneurial insomnia is to create and stick to a ritual every night before bed. That way, your mind and body will get used to a transition period into sleep.

Maybe you read a book before bed, write in a journal, or even do the dishes. Whatever your transitional ritual is, do it consistently every night for 20 to 30 minutes. Once your mind gets used to it, your body will know that it’s time to shift into sleep mode.

3. Ditch the Screen

Whatever your night-time ritual is, try to stay away from electronic screens before bed.

Studies have shown over and over again that computers, tablets, televisions, e-readers, and the like are stealing our hours of sleep. These electronics give off light that confuse our body clocks and keep us awake at night.

So whether it’s work-related or not, stay away from screens before you turn off the lights to go to bed.

4. Put Your Thoughts on Paper

When you spend your last moments of the day worrying about what you have to do the next day, you set yourself up for having stress dreams about your work to-do list all night.

So if those thoughts tend to clutter your mind, offload them. Keep a to-do list or notebook nearby and write it in every night. The business ideas and tasks that pop into your head right before bed will be waiting for you in the morning—so there’s no need to worry about them at night.

5. Keep Your Bed for Sleep—and Sleep Only

To train your brain to kick into sleep mode when you get under the covers, keep your bed for sleeping only.

If you respond to your emails, watch the news, or work from home in your bed, your mind and body won’t exclusively associate bed with sleep. Train your body to fall asleep when you hit the pillow by sticking to hard limits on what you do in bed.

6. Create Your Ideal Sleeping Environment

Sleep is something that everybody should take seriously. So if you need to buy a deluxe mattress, state-of-the-art blackout shades, or a white-noise machine, go ahead and do it.

Getting your bedroom in prime sleeping conditions might just be what helps you get the rest you need to start your business days off right. The prime sleeping conditions tend to be dark, quiet, and cool, but find the ambience you need to get a good night’s rest.

7. Exercise on Your Off-Time

Clinical psychologists and sleep researchers have been telling us how good exercise is for your sleep habits for years—so if you can’t sleep after work, maybe it’s time to start listening to them!

Exercise can promote regular sleep behavior by releasing serotonin and dopamine—the key ingredients to a regular sleep cycle.

So block off some time in your busy day to get outside and take a run, or hit the gym for an hour after work. You might find that you have an easier time letting go of work stress before bed.

8. Give Meditation a Try

Many small business owners swear by meditation for their daily dose of work de-stress. Regular meditation is proven to have a slew of benefits, and healthy sleep habits is just one of them.

Just like you would block off an hour of your daily schedule for exercise, block off some time to meditate—it might be the easy trick to calming your mind at night.


It’s exciting, stressful, and downright scary to be an entrepreneur.

Your business is your baby, so we don’t blame you for having your company’s well-being at the top of your mind 100% of the time.

But if you don’t take care of yourself and give your brain a rest, you’re putting your body and your business at risk. So if you’re having a hard time getting the rest you need to stay clear during the business hours, try out one of these 8 exercises! It might just be the cure to your entrepreneurial insomnia.

What’s your go-to exercise to get rid of business stress? Let us know in the comments!

Editorial Note: Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.
Georgia McIntyre

Georgia McIntyre

Finance Writer at Fundera
Georgia McIntyre is the resident Finance Writer at Fundera. She specializes in all things small business finance, from lending to accounting. Questions for Georgia? Comment below!
Georgia McIntyre

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