New Year, New You, and New Sleep
Sleep More, Sleep Better for a Happy 2021!
You must be cracking those New Year resolutions for 2021! It must be exciting to finally write down a few fresh things to achieve for 2021. Well, how about improving your sleeping habits? It might seem simple, but it’s actually a good idea for the New Year.
As we get older and schedules become busy, sleep hours dwindle. With just 24 hours a day to accomplish our never-ending pursuits of life’s daily hustles, getting enough quality sleep time becomes a challenge. Some people reduce their sleep hours to as low as 5 to 6 hours a day.
Chronic sleep deprivation is a serious issue. Sleeping less than 7 hours daily at night can lead to an increased risk for obesity, diabetes, and heart disease.
As per the National Sleep Foundation, adults should be getting as much as 8 hours of sleep a day. Unfortunately, less than 30% of adults observe this.
The New Year is the best time to review your sleep routine. Make sleeping more and sleeping better be your #1 New Year Resolution!
6 Reasons Why Sleep Should Be Your #1 New Year Resolution
Having a good sleeping habit – and sleeping more and sleeping better – is very beneficial and is worth pursuing as a new year’s resolution.
In 2021, get more sleep and sleep better, knowing it will make working towards all your other New Year’s resolutions – such as losing weight, eating better, working out, being less stressed, learning something new, being more productive, traveling to new places, spending more time with family and friends, saving more, and quitting bad habits – easier.
Getting enough quality rest is associated with greater motivation, smarter food choices, beautiful, glowing skin, and healthier body weight. And sleep helps the brain work well, facilitating learning, problem solving, attention. When you don’t get enough quality sleep, you have negative thoughts, decreased motivation, and increased anxiety – all things that can quickly throw you off track from achieving and keeping your other New Year’s resolutions.
Below listed are some benefits of sleeping more and sleeping better:
1. People who are well-rested perform better at work and in relationships.
Well-rested people handle stressful situations better, and may be more cheerful, alert, and motivated at work and in relationships.
You will be happier, calmer, and more aware of how those around you are feeling. You will enjoy your waking hours more.
2. People who are well-rested have more energy.
Well-rested, you are more likely to exercise during the day. And moving more during the day increases the chances you will sleep like a baby at night!
3. People who are well-rested eat better
Getting enough good sleep may be helpful for controlling the amount and types of foods we eat. When people do not feel well-rested, they are more likely to choose to snack food and reach for high-calorie, weight-gain promoting foods, and sweet snacks.
This can lead to unwanted weight gain and a spare tire around the waist, and possibly your glucose (sugar) level reaching pre-diabetic levels. This is all the more motivation to get that recommended 8 hour shut-eye most, if not each, nights.
4. Well-rested people are happier and enjoy better mental health and well-being.
When you don’t get enough sleep, you are more likely to be anxious, and have depressive thoughts and symptoms, which can make pursuing your other New Year’s resolutions, all the much harder.
5. Good Sleep Could Help You Live a Longer Healthy Life
You will be less likely to get sick or die early. Ongoing lack of good sleep has been associated with medical conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, obesity, and even cancer. Many studies over the years have shown that the shorter your sleep, the shorter your life. In fact, sleeping less than 5 hours nightly, may impact your ability to live a longer and healthy life.
6. Good Sleep Makes You Think Clearly and Make Better Judgment
Getting enough quality sleep ensures we are safe to drive on the roads. Prioritizing sleep and sleeping the recommended hours ensure we are able to carry out tasks accurately and efficiently both at work and at home. In a 2016 study, AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety found that when one is sleep deprived, one’s reactions to stimuli are slowed, and one experiences long lapses in attention.
So sleep more, sleep better in 2021! Sleeping at least 8 hours per night is mandatory if you want to live a healthy, longer life. Go ahead and create a proper sleep schedule and stick to it every night! You can read more about the benefits of good quality sleep in our article https://simplygoodsleep.com/sleep-basics-answers-to-your-most-common-questions-about-sleep/
How to Get More Sleep?
Sleep easily evades most of us, but others seem to do it effortlessly. The key is to practice good sleep hygiene. Here are some useful tips on how to sleep better for 2021:
1. Prioritize Sleep
Schedule sleep on your daily “to-do list” and cross it off every night.
2. Stick to a sleep schedule even on weekends.
Wake up and go to bed at the same time each day, even on weekends. Regular bedtimes and wake times keep our biological sleep clocks on track. Staying up late on a Sunday night, makes it difficult to settle back into a routine the following Monday.
3. Nap smarter
If you like taking naps during the day, plan these naps near your natural dip in alertness during the day. Nap no more than 30 minutes.
4. Reduce Your Exposure to Blue Light in The Evenings
When was the last time you went to sleep without your smartphone or your bedroom TV blaring? Even worse, when was the last time you switched off your computer before preparing to bed?
Well, with our busy schedules and our constant need for social media, we end up exposing ourselves to blue light from these devices. These devices give off light which affects the body’s biological sleep clock and creates mental distractions, making falling asleep difficult.
There are a few ways you can improve your sleep by reducing your exposure to blue light:
1. Get eyeglasses with lenses that block blue light if you must use your devices right before bed.
2. Turn off any devices at least 2 hours before going to bed to limit the exposure to blue light.
3. Try reading a book or a magazine or practice meditation instead of watching anything on your devices right before bed.
5. Reduce Your Caffeine Intake
As much as you love your cup of coffee during the day, it’s actually bad for you. When you take caffeine later in the day, it will stimulate your nervous system, making it harder for your body to relax at night.
If you want to sleep better for the new year, you need to cut down your coffee consumption. Take it early in the morning and avoid any caffeine-related products after 3 pm.
6. Avoid or Minimize Alcohol Intake
Of course, social drinking is acceptable, but if you must have a beer or any alcoholic drink every night, your sleep is severely compromised. Did you know that alcohol has been discovered to increase or cause symptoms of various sleep-related illnesses such as sleep apnea?
Well, that glass of wine after dinner or bottle of beer after work might be relaxing, but it’s time to ditch it if you want to sleep better in 2021. Keep your drinking to a minimum and do it on the weekends when you don’t have a busy schedule for the day.
7. Refurbish Your Bedroom
We all have that chair in the bedroom where all the dirty and clean clothes end up. If you are not careful, it will become unsightly, and the whole bedroom décor will not be restful at night. For good sleep, it’s time to make sure that your bedroom is relaxing at night.
Start the year off right by organizing and decluttering the bedroom. For tips on decluttering your bedroom into a sleep haven, check out our articles on bedroom decor ideas:
Ensure there is no noise coming from the outdoors when you are going to sleep. If this is not possible, a white noise machine or earplugs can help mask the noise, and help you get that much needed sleep.
Also, you should block any type of light coming into the bedroom by using blackout curtains, turning off electronics, and wearing a sleep eye mask.
Even better, you should throw away those bright alarm clocks because they are ruining your sleep. Sleep on a clean, comfortable, breathable mattress and pillows.
8. Control your stress
Stress affects pretty much everything in your life — from the way you look, to how you sleep. To avoid the effects stress can have on your sleep cycle, do everything you can to keep your body and brain feeling calm and collected in the New Year.
Take a few minutes each day to de-stress with meditation and exercise. Take in some sunshine in the morning, and go for walks throughout the day.
Close the day with relaxing activities, such as meditation, yoga, tai chi, deep breathing, guided relaxation, positive affirmations, progressive muscle relaxation, listening to soothing music, sipping tea, and reading to help relax the mind and body for sleep.
For other ways to sleep more and sleep better, read more about our article on good sleep hygiene: https://simplygoodsleep.com/tag/checklist-to-better-sleep/
10 Great Ways to Stick to Your Sleep Resolution
Here are a few simple steps you can take today to help you stick to your New Year Resolution:
1. Write down your resolution to sleep more and better in a clear and concise statement
An example of your resolution might be to get a full eight hours every night or, it can be sleeping and waking up earlier or at set times every day. The key is to set a clear and actionable objective.
2. Make a plan to sleep more, sleep better.
You may find it easier to adapt to gradual changes. Plan going to bed 15 minutes earlier each week. Take the first step as soon as possible. Start today!
3. Have your sleep resolution written down in multiple places where you can see it often.
On a fridge notepad or a whiteboard, write down your goal to sleep more, sleep better. Also, make a list of benefits that would motivate you to sleep more, sleep better. Examples of benefits of having enough good sleep may include losing weight, having more energy, and becoming healthier.
Keep this list in an accessible place to remind you and motivate you daily in your progress towards achieving and maintaining your New Year sleep resolution. Have a small calendar, marking days that you keep to your schedule.
4. Visualize the end result.
Visualize yourself sleeping soundly.
5. Understand the consequences of not having enough good sleep.
Consequences can include lack of focus and attention, lack of energy, decreased willpower, increased risk for weight gain and chronic diseases, etc
6. Make yourself accountable.
Announce your New Year sleep resolution to people you don’t want to let down, like your partner or your friends. This will encourage you to keep moving forward through challenging areas. Do you want more support? Post your sleep resolution on Facebook.
7. Celebrate your success!
Changing behavior and habits is not easy. If it was, there would be no such thing as New Year’s resolutions! Celebrate your success along the way by doing something rewarding and meaningful. Ask your family, friends, and online support groups to cheer you on.
8. Evaluate your journey.
Any time you did not make a change, think of it as a step toward your goal. There is a lesson learnt in each sincere attempt. When you felt you did not move towards your sleep goal, take a moment to think about what did and didn’t work. Take a step back to a less ambitious challenge, and try again.
9. Keep checking progress
Monitor your progress. Set a regular calendar reminder at a set interval, for example, once a week or once every two weeks. There are many sleep-tracking apps if more detailed monitoring would inspire greater motivation.
Aiming to sleep more, sleep better in 2021 will pay off in the long run, in terms of benefits to your overall health and well-being. All it takes is a conscious decision to integrate healthy sleep habits into your daily routine.
10. Keep a sleep diary and see your doctor if your sleep does not improve or worsens.
Ongoing sleep problems may be a sign of major underlying health issues. They can also put you—and others—at risk while driving or operating heavy machinery. Keep a sleep diary and track your sleep habits for 2 weeks and bring the results to your doctor. See your doctor if you continuously wake up feeling not refreshed, and feel sleepy during the day.
In conclusion, if you want to achieve any other resolutions for the new year, you need to improve your sleep. Being one of the pillars of good health, sleep should be the first thing on your resolutions for 2021, next to healthy eating and exercise.
With a good night of sleep, 2021 may be your year to shine! So start your New Year’s sleep resolution as soon as possible. What better night to begin than tonight?
Do you plan to get better sleep this year? Share your tips for keeping your New Year’s Resolution to sleep more, sleep better!
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Updated. Originally published January 01, 2021.