Keep Your New Year's Resolutions with A Better Night's Sleep

Keep Your New Year's Resolutions with A Better Night's Sleep

What's your New Year's resolution? Is it to step up your fitness game, write the next Great American Novel, or maybe spend more time with a special someone? It may sound like you need to work harder than ever throughout the year, but that's actually counterproductive. What's the most helpful thing you can do to accomplish your goals? Sleep.

Sleep is Key to Success

Sleep is more than just a luxury, it's vital for your health. Go to bed a little earlier one night and the next morning, you may find yourself perked up and ready to tackle the day. That includes juggling your current responsibilities and taking on the challenge of your resolution's new habits or goals. However, the real magic happens when you keep up the good work. Making small changes, such as each week moving your bedtime back by as little as 10 minutes, can add up over time. A consistently improved sleep schedule can:
  • reduce hunger triggers, making it easier to stick with your diet.
  • lower stress levels, which research suggests can make you predisposed to carry extra weight around the stomach.
  • increase your body's ability to build muscle when you're exercising.
  • help you approach the gym or other physically demanding hobbies with energy, not fatigue, at the end of the day.
  • naturally level out your emotions and make you a kinder, more connected partner.
  • kickstart your creativity.
  • increase your brain's functioning, improving your performance at work.
  • help you quit smoking, as you are naturally more alert yet also relaxed without needing to reach for a cigarette.

Are You Sleeping Enough?

According to the National Sleep Foundation, 60% of drivers have driven while drowsy, while 37% have fallen asleep at the wheel. Even one second of 'microsleep' is enough time for an accident to occur. The statistics don't just end at the wheel. The Center for Disease Control states that 1 in 3 adults are not getting a minimum of 7 hours a night. Does seven sound like a lot, or not nearly enough? Adults require different amounts of sleep for optimum health, depending on a lot of factors including genetics. However, 7-9 hours is a general average. Can some people function just fine on 5 hours a night? Sure. However, they're a minority of the population.

Build Sleep Habits For a Lifetime

With all of the benefits of sleep, why isn't everyone tucking in for a minimum of 7 hours a night? The fact is, we live in a high-stress era when everyone is juggling many responsibilities, numerous sleep-interfering distractions are everywhere, and many people simply slip into bad habits. Your daily habits become a rut that can be difficult to get out of, but it can be done. If you've added 'get more sleep' to your list of New Year's resolutions, here's how you can turn that into a lifelong healthy habit:
  • The light from electronic devices short-circuits your sleep cycle. Try to shut them off an hour before bedtime. If you're still restless, listen to soothing music or read a book before going to bed.
  • Your body doesn't care if it's Wednesday or Saturday. If you're prone to weekend sleep-ins, stop. Create a regular sleep schedule where you lie down and wake up at the same time every day.
  • Try to avoid working out or drinking coffee in the evening. These stimulants will work against you when it's time to rest.
  • Create a sleep-friendly environment. This includes resting on a comfortable and supportive mattress, making the room as dark as possible, and lowering the temperature slightly.

Updated: 09/13/2019