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The New Year’s resolution that should be at the top of your list is ‘Getting Better Sleep’. It will pave the way to achieve the rest of your goals.
These decisions to change for the better - as any resolution is bound to be - often include getting healthier in some aspect of your life, such as increasing fitness or losing weight. Learning something new might be on the list, as well. Or, resolutions might be around getting more connected; enjoying life more, helping others, spending time with family, and falling in love.
While these are the top resolutions that we make, they are also the top resolutions that we break. The secret to making your resolutions stick could be as simple as sleep. Our sleep expert, Dr. Maas says “sleep is a catalyst that can help us reach just about any goal”. In fact, he works with professional athletes to include sleep in their training regimen to reach their goals.
Science is uncovering new understanding about the pervasive effects that sleep has on our lives. It has a profound impact on energy level and mood, which influence the ability to feel motivated and empowered. Without enough sleep, it’s hard to stick to new habits during a moment of weakness. As well, too-little sleep doesn’t help to improve relationships and connections because without adequate rest, feelings of empathy, patience and understanding fade quickly.
In a recent study at the University of Pennsylvania, subjects reported a dramatic improvement in mood when resuming normal sleep after deprivation.
Sleep also affects physical health and brain function aiding in learning, fitness and weight loss goals. Consider this:
Fortunately, there are many effective ways to get enough quality sleep. While many changes do not require spending a lot of money, they do require changing habits that sabotage your sleep.
1. Maintain a regular sleeping schedule. Wake up at the same time each day even on the weekends so that your body becomes accustomed to the rhythm.
2. The ideal room temperature is 65 degrees Fahrenheit. Most people sleep in a room that is too warm for restful sleep. By turning down the thermostat, you can save money while sleeping better – a win, win.
3. Ensure that your bed including your pillows, comforters and blanket promote sleep. Find pillows that are soft to the touch yet provide good support for your head and neck. Blankets and comforters should be sufficiently cool in the summer and warm in the winter.
4. Look for a mattress that provides support for your pressure points.
5. Check that lights and noises are kept to a minimum.
6. Kids and pets can be very disruptive to sleep, consider having them sleep outside of your bedroom
7. Limit your activities in bed. Your bed and bedroom should not be used as a movie theater or second office. Turn off your screens 15 to 30 minutes before bedtime to avoid the blue light they give off.
8. Avoid the consumption of stimulants, like nicotine or caffeine, or a depressant, like alcohol, at least three hours before bedtime.
9. Avoid eating and drinking right before going to bed.
10. Exercise regularly. Physical activity during the day improves sleep duration and quality. Avoid heavy exercise a few hours before bedtime since this could interrupt your circadian rhythm and you will not sleep as soundly.
11. Use a sleep tracker to measure your sleep before and after making changes. For some reason, we want to do better when we see a score and watch improvements on the screen. Use this psychological trick to help you make new sleep habits.
New Year’s resolutions are so popular that they have become a modern tradition.
Your best New Year’s resolution is to get enough sleep and start getting healthy!