New Year’s Resolutions? Start With Sleep!

 

How have your New Year’s Resolutions been going?  Did you make one to get better sleep?  Pretty much any resolution you make will be more effective if you make one of your resolutions to get better sleep.  If you are not sleeping well, it will be harder to lose weight, have energy to exercise more, or even do better at work. Here are some tips to make getting better sleep one of your priorities in the New Year!the-provisions-of-the-1963668_1280

Figure out when your ideal bedtime is
Most adults need between 7 and 9 hours of sleep.  Try keeping track of your sleep for a week or so and see how much sleep you average.  Also keep track of how you feel during the day.  You should then be able to see on how much sleep you did best on.  Then take what time you have to be up in the morning and go backwards the amount of hours you do best on to see what time you need to be asleep.  It should take us between 10 and 20 minutes to fall asleep, so you should plan on being in bed 10 – 20 minutes before you should be asleep.

Have a relaxing bedtime routine with dim lights
We always talk about children having a relaxing bedtime, but this is important for adults as well.  Try to do calm activities and dim the lights in your house for about an hour before you want to be asleep.  Darkness signals your body to produce melatonin, a calming hormone.  Using electronics like computers, smartphones and tablets before bed stops your body from producing this hormone, so try to put those away in the hour before you sleep.  If you normally sleep with the tv on, try white noise instead.  It will give your brain something to focus on, without light.   My two favorite white noise machines are the Marpac Dohm-DS All Natural Sound Machine, White and  the HoMedics SS-2000G/F-AMZ Sound Spa Relaxation Machine with 6 Nature Sounds, Silver.

(If you cannot turn off electronics, there are glasses and other accessories you can buy that will block the blue light from these devices.  Click on this link for a selection of them from Amazon –  Blue Light Blocking Glasses)

Create a spa like sleep environment
Along with white noise and having a dark room, you also want to pay attention to what temperature your sleeping environment is.  Researchers haven’t settled on an exact temperature, but the ideal range to sleep in is between 65 and 72 degrees.  You do want to sleep in a cooler room.  When we sleep, our internal temperature decreases.  If the room is too hot, our bodies have to work harder to decrease that temperature and our sleep is not as restorative.  So think spa like for your bedroom.  Cool, dark, with calming noises.

Remember, if you sleep well, you are more likely to follow through with some of those New Year’s resolutions.  You’ll have more energy to exercise, you will be less likely to crave fattier foods, and you’ll be able to concentrate better on work projects.

 

 

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