Think back to this time last year when you made your New Year’s resolutions. Do you remember the conversation you had with yourself?
You looked in the mirror and vowed that 2018 would be the year you were going to make good on them. Early morning workouts. Making dinners at home. Networking lunches. It was a pep talk worthy of Knute Rockne, General Patton and Gloria Steinem.
You started out like a blaze. Then smoldered out before Valentine’s Day. (Cue the sad trombone sound effect.) We’ve all been there.
But 2019 can actually be the year your resolution takes hold. The key is how you sleep.
Poor sleep is the main reason why 54% of us who make New Year’s resolutions fail within six months. According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information, sleep has an influence over self-control, which gives us the ability to resist pleasurable impulses in order to achieve longer-term goals.
“Any time we’re under chronic stress it’s harder to find our willpower,” states Stanford University health psychologist Kelly McGonigal, Ph.D. “Sleep deprivation is a kind of chronic stress that impairs how the body and brain use energy. Any step toward more or better quality rest can be a real boost to self-control.”
To get you motivated and primed for better sleep, we’ve compiled 19 sleep resolutions for 2019. Follow these sleep tips from the Better Sleep Council to make sure your resolutions stick this year.
Resolve to Establish Good Sleep Habits
- Understand why sleep is so important: Before you resolve to make your sleep better, take a minute to get a better understanding of why sleep is important for your body and your emotions. Trust us, it’s essential in ways far beyond keeping your New Year’s resolutions.
- Schedule your sleep: Make time for at least 7 hours of sleep each night. It’s the minimum requirement for quality rest. Block out time in your calendar so you know when you should be heading to bed.
- Get the family involved: It helps to stick to a plan when you have support. Plus, you’ll have fewer distractions and temptations if everyone in your household is focused on the same goal of getting better sleep.
- Keep it consistent: Try to maintain the same sleep schedule, weekdays and weekends. The routine will help you fall asleep more quickly each night and wake up more easily the next morning.
- Stop Netflix binging: It’s 2 a.m. You’ve just watched weeks’ worth of some housewives-karaoke-competition reality show. (The implications of that extend beyond sleep, but we’ll start there.) Before you even settle down on the sofa, set a limit of how many episodes you’ll watch in one night.
- Skip the snooze button: Hitting snooze multiple times can leave your brain stuck in a half-asleep and half-awake mode, which makes you feel even more tired the next day.
- Develop an enjoyable routine: Sleep is a necessity. But it can be a pleasure, too. Find your favorite way to wind down. Try a warm bath, soothing music or meditation.
Resolve to Get Your Bedroom Sleep-Ready
- Remove electronics: Using any electronics is a big no-no in the hour or two before you go to bed. Stimulating blue light from TV, phone or computer screens can leave you tossing and turning.
- Send your pets packing: You love your dog. But the snoring and rustling makes him a terrible sleep companion. Invite your pets into your room, just not in your bed.
- Clear the clutter: Turn your bedroom into a sanctuary for sleeping. (Sex is ok, too.) Keep it sparse so it is relaxing. Use calming wall colors. Avoid trying to have your bedroom pull double-duty as office, nursery or home gym if at all possible.
- Update your mattress: Your mattress wears down gradually over time. If your sleeping pad is lumpy, sagging or more than 7 years old, you’ll benefit from a new one.
- Take the Better Bed Quizzz™: How do you find the right mattress for better sleep? Take our Better Bed Quizzz before you go shopping. It’s got all the aspects you should consider as you decide.
- Update your pillows, too: Pillows wear out even faster than mattresses. Replace your old, flat pillows for a better night’s rest.
- Invest in some comfort: Consider adding a mattress pad to make your mattress even more comfortable.
- Cool off: Studies show that we sleep best when the room temperature is between 60° and 67° F. Program your thermostat to drop into this range overnight.
Resolve to Spend Your Day the Right Way
- Nap properly: Short naps can be a beneficial recharge. Naps longer than 40 minutes can throw off your sleep schedule.
- Exercise: Vigorous daily exercise (at least two hours before you go to bed) can reduce insomnia and lead to a sounder sleep. Bonus: It’s like multitasking. You’ll be working toward that other resolution of losing weight.
- Eat (and drink) right: Avoid caffeine, alcohol and heavy meals late in the day. These can make it difficult to fall asleep and wake you during the night with acid reflux or trips to the bathroom.
- See your doctor: Sleep disorders, like snoring, sleep apnea and restless leg syndrome, may be robbing you of restorative rest. Worse yet, these disorders can contribute to bigger health issues. Get diagnosed and seek treatment.
From all of us at the Better Sleep Council, have a happy, healthy and prosperous new year. Sleep well.
This blog provides general information about sleep and sleep products. The words and other content provided in this blog, and in any linked materials, are not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified heath care professional. This blog should not be construed as medical advice or used to diagnose, treat, prevent or cure any disease or condition. If the reader or any other person has a medical concern, he or she should consult with an appropriately-licensed physician or other health care professional. This blog is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment, and should not be relied upon to make decisions about your health or the health of others. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this blog or elsewhere on bettersleep.org. If you think you may have a medical emergency, immediately call your doctor or dial 911.