New Year’s Resolutions
The ball has dropped and the kisses smooched at midnight – the time has come to create your yearly resolutions. Year after year, do you find yourself making the same exhausting resolution to get fit or stop bingeing on candy? You’re not alone! Unfortunately, New Year’s resolutions are only successful 39% of the time. Yikes! Where do yours fall?
There’s a reason – or a few – why your resolutions are not making it past January. Maybe your goal was too complex or unrealistic. Or maybe you’ve been struggling with healthy living because you’ve been ignoring an essential pillar of good health: sleep. Like physical activity and healthy eating, sleep is crucial for optimal health. And yet 40% of us rarely get a good night’s sleep, according to the National Sleep Foundation. We compiled a list of resolutions for better sleep in 2016.
1. Power down an hour before bed
Whether you’re checking one last email, Facebook stalking or finishing that last level on Bejeweled – you can’t put the gadget down until your eyes are closed for the night. Nearly 95% of Americans use their devices up to an hour before falling asleep, according to the National Sleep Foundation.
The reason electronics wreck your sleep? The blue LED light emitted from electronic screens disrupts your brain’s natural melatonin production and can trigger alertness, keeping you awake longer.
2016 game plan – Try powering all devices down at least an hour before bed and pick a different way to unwind. A warm bath or a good book – no kindle – are relaxing ways to transition into sleep mode.
2. Commit to at least 7 hours of sleep each night
With our chaotic schedules, 7 hours of sleep each night might feel nearly impossible – so you think. There’s no magic number of hours to sleep per night but it’s recommended 7-9 hours a night to feel functional and maintain optimal health. Not getting adequate sleep can result in an increased risk of heart problems and obesity, just to name a few.
2016 game plan – Calculate backward 7-8 hours from the time you need to wake up, then go to bed as close to that time as you can. You’ll also need to calculate how long it takes you to fall asleep and whether or not you wake up in the middle of the night. It’s important to factor midnight wake-ups in as well so you can hit the 7-8 hour mark.
3. Stick to the schedule
When the weekend hits you can’t wait to be social, stay up late and sleep in. Both staying up long past your regular bedtime and sleeping in later than normal can wreak havoc on your sleep schedule. Adopting radically different sleep patterns on the weekdays and weekends is known as “social jet lag”
Throwing off your sleep weekly routine on the weekends disrupts your internal clock and can be difficult to wind it back to normal.
2016 game plan – Come Monday morning, you’re already saying you’ll be staying in like a hermit next weekend ¬(probably won’t happen) but you can live your social lifestyle and still maintain a consistent sleep routine even on the weekend. Stick to your typical routine and commit to those 7-8 hours. Allow yourself one night of staying up late and sleeping in the next morning, as a treat, once a week. Follow through!
4. Reduce caffeine intake
Drinking coffee might be a great way to round off your evening meal or perk you up in the late afternoon, but it may disrupt your sleep later when you’re set to retire for the night. Consuming caffeine even 6 hours before bedtime can reduce total sleep time by more than 1 hour each night.
2016 game plan
• Commit to enjoying your last coffee no later than 2 pm.
• Avoid jumbo drinks, such as energy drinks and XL sodas.
• Taper caffeine as the day progresses.
5. Can’t sleep? Get up!
Counting sheep rarely works but who wants to get out of bed at night when you can’t sleep? In truth, getting out of bed can actually help you fall back asleep faster and reduce the stress of staring at the clock or gazing at your phone in the middle of the night.
2016 game plan – Get out of bed and take a stroll through your bedroom or snuggle in a chair in the living room. Drink a warm glass of milk and read a magazine or a book. Staying in bed can cause you to be anxious, which makes it harder to fall asleep – which wrecks that perfected sleep routine.
2016 is almost here and you have a fresh chance to maintain your healthy sleep routine or start a new one and get back on track. Beat the odds with our sleep suggestions and enjoy being on the winning side of the New Year Resolutions.
Happy New Year!