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Wondering How to Keep Those New Year’s Resolutions? Sleep on it!

Tis the season for gym promotions and self-improvement tips. Yep, it's that time of year again, when your social media feeds and inboxes are full of products and advice to help you stick to your New Year's resolutions. According to Statistic Brain, 45 percent of Americans make resolutions each year, but only eight percent actually achieve them. It seems the vast majority of us can stick to our annual plans for a good two or three months (or weeks, or days), but then our lofty aspirations fall by the wayside come spring and summer. Before you know it, you're listening to "Auld Lang Syne," and wondering how the year got away from you.

7 Ways Getting More Sleep Can Help You Keep Your New Year's Resolutions

I'll admit, I had gotten a little jaded by the "new year, new you" push, but after reading Mark Kinsley's " 5 Comebacks for Anyone Trying to Keep You Awake" post, it dawned on me that improving sleep health may be the all-in-one resolution that will help you achieve your goals. From eating habits to decision-making, sleep touches many of the facets of our lives that our annual resolutions hope to improve. Make sleep your top priority this year and you'll be amazed at how your life improves. Just an extra hour or two of sleep per night can help with:

  • Weight Loss

    Weight loss is one of the top resolutions made each year, but without adequate sleep every night, your chances of losing the weight and keeping it off through next December are slimmer. That's because sleep deprivation can increase your appetite and lead to poor meal choices. When you're sleep-deprived, your body produces more of a hormone called ghrelin that tells your brain when it's time to eat and less of the hormone leptin that alerts your brain when you're full. Sleep deprivation can also lead to impaired decision-making, which might explain some of your less-than-healthy menu selections. If you're planning on shrinking your waistline this year, make sure you add an extra hour of sleep to your diet.

  • Exercise

    Many people resolve to exercise, whether the goal is to lose weight or simply get healthier. If you frequent a gym, I'm sure you've experienced the influx of enthusiastic new members in early January who seem to disappear by Valentine's Day. While there certainly is no lack of exercise trends, regimens and gurus out there to help you break a sweat more often, few people consider how sleep will help them stay motivated to stick with it. It's a no-brainer that sleep directly affects your energy level - which in turn can impact the quality of a workout - but did you know that lack of sleep can have a negative effect on your mood, compromising your motivation to hit the gym before or after work? We already discussed the toll sleep deprivation takes on decision-making, so when faced with the choice between pounding on the treadmill and binge-watching your favorite TV show, you're probably going to lean toward the latter if you're sleepy.

  • Time Management and Organization:

    Last year, getting organized was one of the top resolutions made for 2015. There are many tools you can use to improve organization and/or time management; sleep probably isn't the first that comes to mind, but how many of us let the condition of our apartments, houses or cubicles deteriorate when we're fatigued? When you're sleep-deprived, even the smallest of tasks, like doing your laundry, can seem daunting. Additionally, sleep is directly tied to your ability to concentrate, which in turn will affect how well you manage your time and maintain order. Getting an extra hour or so of sleep a night will help those cognitive processes and how efficiently you go about your daily routines.

  • Advance Your Career

    Many people will strive to make it to the next level in their careers this year through a promotion, improved performance or even getting a new gig. In today's work environment, getting ahead often means early mornings at the office or late hours at night. Though you may feel like you're accomplishing more in that extra hour in the morning or after staying up late to finish some work at home, in reality, if you're sacrificing sleep for work, your productivity and the quality of your work decline. As mentioned before, studies show that sleep deprivation can lead to poor concentration, so that extra hour or two you worked Monday night to get ahead will most likely hurt rather than help you as the week progresses. Additionally, since your brain processes and stores memories while you sleep, it's harder to pick up a new skill or retain a complex concept if you are not getting adequate sleep. So this year, when you're setting professional goals to help you get that promotion, land a new job or simply produce more or better results, make getting more sleep a part of your daily to-do list.

  • Learn Something Exciting

    For the same reason that sleep impacts your ability to advance your skills and job performance, it also will help you keep this top ten New Year's resolution. Whether you resolve to learn a new language, play an instrument or pursue an art course, sleep will help you focus while you're studying and plays a crucial role in retaining what you've learned during the day.

  • Step Up Your Game

    Ok, this one might be a stretch when it comes to the standard New Year's resolutions, but I don't know many golfers or tennis gurus who wouldn't be curious to learn about the secret ingredient for the perfect swing. Even if your athletic interests are more in line with darts at the bar rather than sweating it out on the court, sleep can help you improve your skills. Most of us have heard that there are phases of sleep and each phase has specific benefits for your brain and body. During the second phase of sleep, your brain processes learned movements (pretty much anything involving hand-eye coordination). So next time you channel Jordan Speith or Chesson Hadley on the golf course, you can thank that extra hour of sleep for your birdie.

  • Enjoy Life to the Fullest

    The goal of most if not all resolutions is this last one - becoming the best version of yourself and making every day extraordinary. Since sleep is tied to so many facets of your life, it's a key factor in achieving this ultimate resolution. The benefits of adequate sleep are numerous. When you have a healthy sleep-life, you wake up feeling energized, refreshed and ready to take on the day. Sleep benefits all aspects of health and well-being, both physically and mentally.

This year, make your sleep health a priority and resolve to make each and every day the best day. Wishing you a healthy and happy new year from the Mattress Firm team!

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