03 Jan 5 New Year’s resolutions to improve your sleep in 2018
Now that we’re in the early days of 2018, there’s a good chance that you’ve thought about what New Year’s resolutions you should be making and keeping this year.
January tends to be the month that everyone focuses on dieting and exercise: 48% of people who make resolutions intend to lose weight, while 41% want to improve their fitness, according to a YouGov survey. However, there is one self-promise that often flies under the radar at this time of year, and that’s improving the quality of your sleep.
Why should I focus on sleep in 2018?
Last year, we discussed the importance of sleep for your mental wellbeing, but it can have a positive effect on your long-term physical health, too. For example, experts say that one night of undersleeping can be enough to reduce disease-fighting cells by 70%. This is just one of many eye-opening findings made about the effect of sleep on your body in recent years.
What’s more, many sleep experts have linked quality sleep with the ability to keep other New Year resolutions. This article from Science Daily suggests that a good night’s rest can help you to achieve goals like exercising more, improving career performance, dieting, and much more. As it turns out, by prioritising sleep, you can better position yourself to keep all your other resolutions.
With both of these in mind, we’ve put together five New Year’s resolutions that you can make in 2018 to help you improve your sleep. By sticking to one or more of these habits, you will be able to enjoy a much healthier year ahead.
Start keeping a sleep diary
If you’re looking to get serious about your sleep this year, keeping a diary can give you a great starting point. Regularly jotting down details like the time you went to bed and woke up, as well as any observations about the quality of your shut-eye, can help you to get a better understanding of your routine, allowing you to spot habits where you are going wrong, as well as what works. A diary will also help you to keep focus on sleep improvement through the months ahead.
Furthermore, a sleep diary can give you a head start if you decide to see a specialist about your sleep down the line. With day-to-day information at hand, you will be able to work together much more quickly to resolve any problems.
Get yourself into a new routine
Getting into a new sleep routine and sticking to it is one of the best ways to make a fresh in the New Year. The NHS recommends keeping regular sleeping hours, as it helps to programme your brain and internal body clock. Most adults need between six to nine hours for healthy rest, so factor this into any bedtime and alarm time you set yourself.
If you often lose track of time when you’re watching TV or engrossed in a book before bed, try setting yourself an alarm around 30 minutes before you are due to sleep to give yourself time to wind down. This way, you’ll never glance up at the clock to find that it’s the wee small hours and you are still awake.
Make time for both sleep and exercise
Trying to get fitter at the same time as improving your sleep? You may find that your gym sessions end up eating into the hours you’ve set aside for resting, especially if you like to squeeze in an early-morning workout. There have been a number of studies undertaken to compare exercise against sleep and which should be prioritised, but the findings have been inconclusive.
We do know that both exercise and sleep are beneficial and worthy of time in your routine. If you still want to enjoy an early trip to the gym, you may simply need to bring bedtime forward to accommodate. Should your daily schedule not allow for an earlier night’s rest, you could try fitting in more time-efficient exercises, such as walking during lunchbreaks or taking the stairs instead of the lift.
Cut down on caffeine and sugar before bed
One of the worst ways to wind down for the day is with a caffeinated or sugary drink or snack before bed. Both of these substances are stimulants that can put your brain into overdrive before you try to sleep, which is the opposite to what you want. While you may be looking to cut down sugar from your diet as part of another resolution, aim to keep your evenings coffee- or tea-free so that your mind can relax and prepare for sleep.
Turn your bedroom into the perfect sleeping environment
One resolution that you should aim to keep is to turn your bedroom into the perfect sleeping environment so that it’s easy to nod off. Start by dimming the lights about an hour before bed, as this will switch your brain into sleep mode. Blackout blinds or heavy curtains can help to keep any outside light from entering your room and disturbing you. Next, set your room temperature to between 16–18°C, the ideal level for comfortable rest.
Finally, you should look to make your bed itself as comfortable as possible, as this will minimise any tossing and turning during the night. If your mattress is feeling its age, it’s probably time to upgrade to a new one: we recommend our memory foam range for optimal comfort and support. You will need to invest in some new bedding if your duvet, pillow, or mattress topper is uncomfortable, too.
Improved sleep definitely deserves to be among your list of New Year’s resolutions in 2018. Follow our advice here and you will be in the best position possible to make the most of a fresh start.