Want to keep your New Year’s Resolutions? Let sleep help!
As we near the final stretch of 2020, kicking this year to the curb will give us all special pleasure. What a year! And as we look toward the promise of 2021, it’s time to start thinking how we’ll improve the path ahead of us. Whether you’re hoping to improve your health, lose a few pounds, live life less cluttered or just learn to relax, it all starts with one thing. Sleep!
To our bodies, sleep is like running a diagnostics test on your computer or car. As issues are detected, systems ramp up to repair damaged tissues, manufacture life-sustaining hormones and catalog memories from the previous day – all while you sleep. Shortening your sleep time can impair your ability to react rationally to stress (physical, mental and emotional) and learning new skills is severely diminished. People who sleep less than 6 hours a night don’t spend enough time in the deepest stages of sleep and are at higher risk of heart attacks and strokes than those who clock at least 7 hours.
To be clear, shortening your sleep can shorten your life.
Ready for a new you in the new year? We have you covered with tips to conquer your resolutions.
If your goal is to lose weight – choose sleep instead of…?
If you’ve struggled to maintain a healthy weight, counting calories or carbs aren’t nearly as strong a strategy as getting a good night’s sleep. Without enough sleep, your body is prompted to release higher amounts of insulin after you eat. Insulin not only controls your blood sugar, but how and when fat is stored. Higher insulin levels send a signal to your body to hang on to fat.
Whether you’re hitting the gym or doing yoga at home, exercise also plays a key role in weight management. But when you’re tired, the motivation to get moving nosedives. What’s more, a no-pain, no-gain strategy won’t work either. Our ability to withstand pain plummets with sleep deprivation. So those tough yoga poses and muscle burn at the end of your set of weight repetitions feel even more uncomfortable.
- Snack (at bedtime) on foods with tryptophan. Tryptophan, an amino acid found in turkey and lamb, is a well-documented sleep super hero. Turkey contains less fat and calories when compared to chicken and beef, which makes it easier to digest so your tummy can sleep when you do. Ready for more better bedtime snacking suggestions?
- Hit pause on Netflix. Don’t freak out, but research studieshave found that for every 2 hours spent staring at the TV, increases your risk for diabetes, heart disease and even early death. And it can also lead to weight gain – yikes! Try an evening walk, reading a book or family game night to relax after dinner instead of binging on Netflix.
- Celebrate the New Year with love. When it comes to weight loss, studies have shown that an hour of sex can burn 150 calories and reduce late-night snack cravings. When it comes to sleep, making love helps release cortisol, a stress-inducing hormone. Surges of cortisol leaves the body feeling more relaxed, which can lead to a better transition into sleep.
If your goal is to declutter, begin with your bedroom
The start of a new year is the perfect time to organize and reclaim your space, especially in the bedroom.
Your bedroom is your most private and personal sanctuary, intended for sleep and the other “S” thing you do there.
As Marie Kondo says, our homes should be for the person we are becoming and not the person we once were. Meaning to truly cherish the things you cherish, you must first discard those things that have outlived their purpose. When it comes to your bedroom, it should a sanctuary where you recharge your batteries, rejuvenate your spirit and find yourself at peace before falling sweetly into the depths of dreamland. “Clutter is not just stuff on your floor – it’s anything that stands between you and the life you want to be living.”
No matter how you feel about a messy room, if clutter creates stress or buzzes in the background like an annoying fly in your ear, bedroom chaos will affect your ability to get a healthy night’s sleep.
Try these 3 tips for decluttering your bedroom:
- Organize with a plan. Tackle each area of your bedroom separately. Your closet, available storage space – and what you may need for additional storage – and the open spaces in your room should be organized one at a time. And with each area of your bedroom cleaned and organized, you’ll begin to feel better.
- Clean your bedroom. A deep clean of your bedroom doesn’t have to be a painful exercise, say the cleaning experts. Here are their squeakiest, cleanest tips for creating a healthy, clean bedroom you’ll adore sleeping in: how to deep clean your bedroom.
- Create a bed(room) you’ll love sleeping in. When you’re trying to create your ideal sleeping environment, there are a variety of elements that should guide your decisions – the right (for you) mattress and foundation, pillows, sheets and blankets. As well as overall design of your bedroom – right down to the use of laundry hampers and personal mementos on your bedside table. Learn how to create the perfect bedroom.
If your goal is to de-stress your life, you guessed it – get more sleep
When a new year begins, we want to feel fresh and that means washing away the negative stresses of life. After all, stress is a fixture of our lives – some of it good, some of it strong enough to hurt – especially in 2020. You know the kind we’re talking about. That tightness that begins in your gut and travels to your fingernails and earlobes like an electric snake. It makes you snap at loved ones and in some cases, leaves you sobbing and unable to make a rational decision. Slowdown in the new year by tweaking your sleep schedule.
- Reduce stress. From family crises to stress around preparations for the holidays and overloaded schedules, stress can wreak havoc with your sleep. Conversely, a lack of sleep can amp up your stress, too. The toxic dance between the two can be stopped with a few savvy tactics designed to turn down the volume on stress and preserve good quality slumber: reduce the effects of stress.
- Learn to sleep with anxiety. If anxiety is your unwelcome daily companion, the bad news is that even as you manage to nod off, your anxiety is still active. While we sleep, our minds are still active and maybe processing information. If we don’t take time throughout the day to process information and to unwind, then stress/anxiety can make it difficult to fall asleep or stay asleep. Try these tips to soothe your anxious mind.
- Boost your immune system. Sleep is a crucial component for good health because of the important role it plays in strengthening the immune system. A recognized flu-fighter, sleep helps us fight off viruses and disease and is a crucial boost to recovery if we do get sick. While a good night’s sleep is by no means a cure to COVID-19, it’s an effective, natural immune booster during every day, regular life but especially during a crisis.
Keeping your new year’s goals can be tricky especially when your daily life takes over. But when you think about it, getting a good night’s sleep can be beneficial for everything you do – from eating healthier to exercising and relaxing. Time to conquer 2021 with a new you!
Rest well & wake up ready to go!
Better sleep gives rise to better mornings, bringing your goals into focus and dreams within reach. Hungry for more sleep info? Dig into these posts:
- Health-boosting new year’s resolutions
- The art of napping and how to get the best nap of your life
- Sleep aids for better sleep – how to wake up happy without a prescription