Have you set your resolutions for the new year? If you’re undecided, running behind, or not sure what to choose, consider resolving to improve your sleep.
Getting more and better sleep can improve your health, both physical and mental. If you want to recover faster from illness and strenuous activity, have a lower risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke and more, and experience less anxiety and depression, sleeping well is key
Still not convinced? Not getting enough sleep is associated with weight gain. If you have resolved to drop a few pounds, getting plenty of sleep will help you do that. Here are some resolution ideas to help you get the sleep you need so you can function well.
Banish Electronics from the Bedroom
All of your electronic devices with screens emit what is called blue light. Unfortunately, exposure to this kind of light keeps your brain from producing its normal amounts of melatonin, which helps you sleep. Under usual circumstances, your body starts making more melatonin as you head towards bedtime.
The best way to keep your body on track for sleep is to stop looking at screens at least an hour before you want to fall asleep. And one of the best ways to achieve this is to keep electronics out of your bedroom completely. This includes televisions, tablets, and mobile phones. If you use your phone for an alarm, invest in a cheap clock and charge your phone somewhere else.
Set and Keep a Sleep Schedule
If you go to bed and get up at roughly the same time every day, your body will be more likely to be ready to fall asleep when it’s time. When you put yourself on a sleep schedule, you help your body adjust its circadian rhythms. This can take a few weeks. Once it’s done, though, you will feel tired at the same time every night and your body will be ready to fall asleep, too.
Establish a Bedtime Routine
Making sure you are relaxed before you go to bed will help you fall asleep faster so you can get the rest you need. Make a list of things that are relaxing for you, then figure out how to incorporate them into your nighttime routine. Think about things like having a cup of (decaffeinated) tea, reading an actual book, taking a warm shower, or cuddling with your partner. All of these will help you rest better.
Get a New Mattress
One of the most important parts of sleeping well is having a comfortable place to sleep. If your mattress is more than 7 years old, it’s time to consider buying a new one. If it’s more than 10 years old, this is definitely the resolution for you. At that point, most mattresses will no longer support you properly, which means you can wake up with aches and pains. They can also lose their softness, so your bed may not feel as comfortable as it used to, either.
Cut Caffeine, Nicotine and/or Alcohol
All of these substances can interfere with your sleep. Caffeine and nicotine are stimulants, so they can keep you awake at night. Alcohol may seem like it helps you sleep better, but it can actually keep you from getting the deep sleep you need every night. If you consume these substances regularly, especially within a few hours before you need to sleep, they are probably interfering with your rest. If you can’t cut them out entirely, work to cut them down or consume them earlier in the day, so they are less likely to cause sleep issues.
You may have made this resolution for other reasons, but double down on it because exercise can help you sleep better, too. Most people find that it’s not a great idea to have a strenuous workout right before bed, but even 10 minutes of aerobic exercise during the day can help you sleep better all night long. If you needed more motivation to stick to an exercise habit, now you have it!
Resolve to sleep better this year so you can improve your health and happiness. Choose one or two resolutions to start with, then incorporate the others after you’ve started establishing good habits. Pretty soon, you’ll sleep better and feel better.