New Year’s Sleep Resolutions
Prioritizing Sleep in the New Year
It’s that time of year when we commit to becoming our best selves in the new year. The New Year is a great time to really get inspired to take on some things that could have a big impact on our overall well being. We make a promise to ourselves that we’ll finally hit the gym, lose weight, or get in the best shape of our lives. Even if you work out everyday and eat the best of diets but don’t sleep well you could be undermining all your health goals. Sleep is one of the most important factors of our overall health.
Sleep, along with exercise and diet, are part of the three “pillars of health.”
Moreover, improving your sleep may help you to reach your other goals including eating better, exercising more and losing weight. Studies have found that losing sleep is associated with increased appetite and often when we are prone to reach for junk food. Additionally, lack of sleep creates feelings of excessive fatigue and grouchiness throughout the day. Try to exercise hard and get results when you’re tired and making unhealthy dietary choices thoughout the day.
The challenge to any health-related New Year’s Resolution is that making big changes in our behavior is to start small. Habits are hard to break. It’s hard to avoid all sweets every single day or to exercise 30 minutes more every single day. It may also be hard to sleep 1-2 hours more every single day.
Healthy Habits – Getting Started is Simple
When it comes to improving sleep, another challenge for some people may be not knowing what to do or where to start. Here are some tips to help you get your sleep habits on track for the new year and in turn reach all your other goals.
Set a Routine and Stick to a Schedule. The same bedtime and routine each night is a great way to wind down and tell your brain to slow down and get ready for rest.
Pay attention to food and drinks. Avoid caffeine late in the day and avoid alcohol if you need a good night’s sleep. Be mindful not to go to bed too stuffed (digesting food can make for less restful shut-eye) or famished (hunger pangs can wake you up).
Create a bedroom ritual. Try doing something regularly to calm you in the hour before bed that your brain will associate with sleep, such as listening to a calming playlist on your iPod, practicing a few simple yoga poses such as child’s pose or “legs up the wall,” or taking a warm bath (the rise and fall in body temperature preps you to snooze).
Stay away from light. Your body clock is affected by light, so turn off bright overhead lights, lamps, and LCD screens at least an hour before bed, since they will only rev you up.
Make Your Bedroom a Sleep Haven. Use this room for only sleep, relaxation, and sex, so you don’t associate it with other niggling distractions, such as work or paying bills. Use blackout curtains to block light from the outdoors, invest in a mattress, sheets, and pillows that you find comfortable. Using a white noise machine and keeping the room between 60 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit can also help.
Address snoring or sleep apnea issues with your doctor. If you suffer from sleep apnea symptoms please call us to schedule a Sleep Consultation.
Acknowledging the importance of sleep for health and learning different ways to improve sleep make good New Year’s Resolutions.