Your New New Year's Resolution: Sleep Better
You just finished ringing in the new year, and now is the time when people begin identifying what they need to do over the next 365 days in order to become the best versions of themselves.
Just like every other year, many of us will focus our New Year's resolutions to our health and resolve to exercise more and eat healthier. But to truly live a fit life, there are three pillars to consider: exercise, diet and sleep.
So why is it that sleep is so often neglected?
Don't Overlook the Benefits of Sleep
As life becomes hectic and our days grow busier, sleep continuously gets pushed aside. Doctors recommend the average adult get seven or more hours of sleep each night, but according to a Gallup poll, at least 40% of adults are getting much less than that.
By skimping on sleep, we are neglecting our body of the time it needs to fully rest and take on the next day.
Make This Year the Year of Sleep
Here are some tips you to give a try as you try to get better sleep and become the healthiest version of you in the new year:
- Go to bed earlier, even if it's just by 15 minutes.
- Go to bed close to the same time every night.
- Turn off electronics at least an hour before bedtime.
- Avoid alcohol a few hours before bed and cut out caffeine at midday.
- Stay away from bright lights; dim the lights around your home and stay away from electronic screens. This will trigger your brain that it's almost time for bed.
- Develop a nighttime routine.
- Make your bed your sleep sanctuary. Avoid doing work and watching TV in bed.
6 Ways Getting More Sleep Can Help Your New Year's Resolutions
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 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.
Many people resolve to exercise, whether the goal is to lose weight or simply get healthier. 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?
Time Management and Organization
Getting organized is often at the top of many resolution lists. Since there are many tools you can use to improve organization and/or time management; sleep probably isn't the first thing 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.
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. 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 learn something new. 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.
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.
Prioritizing sleep will not only make your life easier on a daily basis, but will also help you stick to all your other New Year's resolutions. Getting enough sleep supports many other healthy behaviors, from having the energy to exercise to maintaining the focus to stick to your diet. Simply put, sleep makes our lives better.
Cheers to a new year! We think that sleeping more is a resolution that we can definitely stick to.