If you’ve resolved to do anything better in the new year, improving your sleep could be the secret to your success. Studies show that a good night’s sleep has benefits in just about every area of life - increased productivity and focus, healthier eating and exercise habits, and better relationships. So whether your intention is to make more time for the people and things you love, finish a project, or get in shape, the quality and quantity of your sleep could make or break your results.
Luckily, a few surprisingly simple steps can make a huge difference. So to help you achieve your true goals for 2017, we rounded up 3 easy sleep resolutions that will contribute to making those other ones stick. Or at the very least, make you look and feel healthier and more rested - even if you don’t quite finish organizing the garage or writing that novel this year.
3 New Year’s Resolutions to Improve Your Sleep In 2017
1. I resolve to unplug 1 hour before bed.
The almost automatic routine of checking Facebook, replying to emails, or watching a show before bed feels easy and relatively harmless. However, the use of digital devices at night is having a dramatic impact on most North Americans’ capacity to fall and stay asleep.
Not only are our devices, apps and games programmed to remind and reward us for constantly, (and often mindlessly) checking them, but doing so excites the brain, triggering a “fight or flight” response that wakes us up, rather than lulls us to sleep. And even if the endless content doesn’t keep us scrolling for hours longer than we planned, the physiological excitement of just a few minutes on the device can take 1-3 hours to wear off.
Additionally, the blue light from the screen signals “daytime” to the brain, and delays the natural release of melatonin, the sleep hormone of our circadian rhythms. This prevents us from feeling tired, even when we really need to sleep.
Resolving to shut off your TV, laptop and phone an hour before bedtime in 2017 is a simple, effective step in restoring your sleep patterns. And as an added bonus, it will give you an extra hour to truly relax, and even enjoy things you couldn’t fit into the day before, like reading a good book.
2. I resolve to stop drinking caffeine 8 hours before bed.
While the instant jolt of energy from caffeine is sure to get you revved up to accomplish your goals during the day, it’s stimulating effects can last anywhere from 8-14 hours, easily spilling over into the evening, when your body and mind are meant to slow down in preparation for sleep. It also disrupts your circadian rhythm, so that even hours after you’ve metabolized your coffee, it could still be preventing you from falling asleep.
We wouldn’t dare suggest skipping your morning latte or sneaking decaf into the office coffee machine, but if you just can’t wind down at night, resolving to give yourself a good 8 hour buffer between your last shot of espresso and your ideal bedtime could go a long way in making 2017 the year you actually fall asleep when you go to bed.
3. I resolve to exercise for 10 minutes each day.
We’re not talking about training for a marathon (although if that’s your goal, power to you!). Study after study suggests that even simple, moderate exercise, done regularly, can profoundly improve insomnia and poor sleeping patterns. If joining a gym or going for a daily jog seems daunting, think smaller.
Our favourite way to fit a bit of movement into a busy day? 10-minute yoga or pilates videos on Youtube. These gentle, guided and quick workouts, done in the comfort and privacy of your own home, can be just as effective as more intense athletic activities when it comes to improving sleep. Resolving to do just one short exercise session a day in 2017 will help you fall asleep faster and sleep more deeply, night after night.
Don’t know where to start? Try this 9.5 minute beginner yoga video:
Choosing one (or more) of these resolutions, and sticking to it, could significantly improve your sleep patterns in the long run, providing all the benefits that come with being well rested. So we hope you find one that works for you.
Of course, other factors can affect your ability to sleep too - like comfort, temperature, injuries, or health concerns. So if you find that your mattress is part of what’s keeping you up, come visit us. We can help you find the perfect, all-natural mattress for your individual needs, to help you snooze your way into 2018.