10 minutes of mindfulness replaces 45 minutes of sleep – new study finds


Mindfulness can replenish the brain in the same way that sleep does.

 We all know by direct experience that sleep is highly beneficial for the overall health and wellbeing of the body and mind.  It is no surprise that lack of sleep can lead to a high level of exhaustion and fatigue.

Entrepreneurs are defined as people involved in the invention or discovery, evaluation and utilisation of new business opportunities. Being an entrepreneur can be thrilling and exciting but it can also be exhausting, stressful and timely. Most entrepreneurs experience high levels of stress, especially in the beginning phases of a venture. Their projects keep them busy and it is often challenging for people living such a lifestyle to get adequate sleep each night.

A new study conducted on entrepreneurs has found that mindfulness and sleep are key factors for entrepreneurs to be successful in their budding business prospects. The study, conducted by Charles Murnieks – Professor of Strategy and Entrepreneurship at Oregon State University – has also found that mindfulness can replenish the brain in the same way that sleep does, when one is feeling particularly exhausted without time to obtain adequate sleep.

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Not getting enough sleep can result in a range of negative effects. This can include – but is not limited to – a substantial decrease in motivation and little to no drive towards one’s goals, as well as increased levels of stress and irritability. These effects of insufficient sleep can be relieved by mindfulness exercises.

Mindfulness – a type of meditation – helps to ease stress and negative emotions by letting the mind focus solely on exactly what one is thinking and feeling. These exercises can include deep breathing, guided meditation, imagery and anything that lets one sit still and focus completely on oneself in order to reduce stress and anxiety.

Charles Murnieks and his co-authors set out to understand the different ways in which entrepreneurs were exhausted and methods in which to combat this tiredness. The study, published in the Journal of Business Venturing, concluded that 10 minutes a day or 70 minutes a week of mindfulness practice may have the effects and benefits of an extra 45 minutes sleep at night. The researchers observed a group of 105 entrepreneurs, discovering that over 40% of them were clearly overworked, whilst sleeping less than 6 hours each night. The researchers also found, mindfulness exercises had the same effects as adequate sleep, with most reporting lessened feelings of exhaustion after incorporating mindfulness meditation into their daily lives. Another study was conducted, focusing on as many as 329 entrepreneurs, with the findings being the same as the first; mindfulness exercises can make up for lack of sleep.

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Nevertheless, if the sleep quantity is adequate and the person is still experiencing exhaustion, mindfulness techniques will not help combat exhaustion levels.

“If you're feeling stressed and not sleeping, you can compensate with mindfulness exercises to a point. But when you're not low on sleep, mindfulness doesn't improve those feelings of exhaustion…" stated Murnieks.

Exhaustion may not always be linked to sleep. However, mindfulness meditation will always be helpful by facilitating relaxation. Mindfulness is a very positive tool to incorporate into life whether one is exhausted, busy or stressed to keep the mind active, healthy and in control.