It’s that time of year again – New Years resolution time. Whether you’re a practicing resolutioner or you don’t bother because you don’t want to disappoint yourself, you’ve heard the typical New Years resolution ideas.
- Lose weight
- Drink more water
- Drink less alcohol
- Quit smoking
- Exercise more
- Eat healthier
Those are great and all, but how about a New Years Resolution idea that’s connected to some of those bullet points above?
How about resolving to practice better sleeping habits?
While it may seem ironic since many people stay up to ungodly hours celebrating the New Year, developing healthy sleep habits can help you achieve the above bullet points too.
Here are some great New Years resolution ideas to help you sleep better and have a happier, healthier year ahead.
1. Get Enough Sleep
Well, DUH, right? Yeah, it seems obvious, but do you actually know how much sleep you should be getting? You might think a five or six hour sleep suits you just fine, but the reality is that adults need seven to nine hours of sleep for optimal health.
If you get less than seven hours of sleep on a regular basis, you put yourself at risk for serious health problems including an impaired immune system and high blood pressure.
2. Get High-Quality Sleep
Not only do you need a good amount of sleep, but to help your body into a healthy sleep schedule, you need to get high-quality sleep.
What does that mean? It means you have to snooze through at least five to six sleep cycles so your body and brain can restore itself properly.
Each stage of your body’s sleep cycle plays an important role in your mental and physical health. If you don’t let your body pass through the four sleep cycles at least five to six times, then you’ll wake up feeling exhausted.
But there’s no magical pill that’ll ensure you sleep well. You have to make sure your sleeping environment is:
- Free from distractions (Get rid of that TV and computer in your bedroom if you can.)
When you designate your bedroom as a place for sleeping (and other natural bedroom activities) your brain eventually associates that room with sleeping.
3. Stop Looking at Screens Late Into the Night
There’s a reason people got more sleep before there was a computer on every desk and smartphone in every hand. First of all, we have the world at our fingertips thanks to modern technology. Second of all, it’s stinking addicting. Am I right, or am I right?
*No copyright infringement intended.
Here’s the thing. We’re not suggesting you cut out all of your fun and enjoyment. We don’t want you to stop endlessly scrolling through Instagram or watching JUST.ONE.MORE. episode of your new favorite Netflix series.
Just stop doing these lovely things at least an hour before bedtime.
Why? Well, that’d because electronic devices emit blue rays. Blue rays trick your body into thinking it’s still daytime. And when your body thinks its daytime, it increases cortisol production (think energy) and decreases melatonin production (think sleepytime).
4. Break Up With Your Snooze Button
We’re pretty sure this wasn’t on your list of “Best New Years resolution ideas”. But in reality, it’s a great idea. You don’t need to hit that snooze button. It’s not helping you.
Refer to item #2.
Healthy, good-for-your brain and body sleep occurs when your body goes through the sleep cycle. Those extra nine minutes are just putting you back in sleep stage NREM 1. Try putting your alarm somewhere in your bedroom where you have to actually get up and turn it off rather than just rolling over and hitting snooze.
5. Reduce Caffeine
While this is a common New Years Resolution idea, it’s perhaps one of the most difficult habits to break. Everyone is different when it comes to how much caffeine you can consume before it effects your sleep. The general rule of thumb is to stop consuming caffeine at least six hours before you head to bed.
If the idea of giving up your afternoon cup of joe, consider decaf. While it still has some caffeine, it’s not as harmful to your sleep cycles.
Sure, a glass or two of wine before bed can have a sedative effect, but that doesn’t mean it’s going to help you get high-quality sleep. The alcohol will make you sleepy and may help you fall asleep faster, but it also creates imablances between slow-wave sleep, in the first three sleep cycles, and REM sleep.
Basically, alcohol helps you fall asleep but doesn’t allow your body to stay in each sleep stage long enough. It results in you waking up more often, disrupting your body’s circadian rhythm.
So when your New Years Resolution is to stop drinking alcohol so much, it’ll make your body, mind, and sleep healthier.
7. Exercise More
A recent study revealed that people with insomnia could fall asleep 13 minutes faster and stay snoozing 18 minutes longer when they exercise. That’s gotta be something, right?
Just 30 minutes of heartrate-increasing exercise can help you keep your newly-form New Years resolution idea of getting better sleep. Exercise induces sleep by:
- Increasing your core body temperature: You get hot when you exercise, obviously, but that’s not where the magic happens when it comes to sleep. When your body cools down, you’re mimicking the way your body cools as it prepares for sleep in the evening. This can help your circadian rhythm get back in check.
- Relieving anxiety and depression symptoms: While exercise isn’t necessarily a cure for anxiety and depression, it can help reduce anxous thoughts, worry, and stress by releasing serotonin and endorphins.
- Resetting your internal clock: When you feel sleepy during the day and wide awake at night, your body’s internal clock is out of whack. (That’s your circadian rhythm.) When you exercise, the serotonin boost you receive can improve your brain’s capacity to regulate your sleep.
So you kill two New Years resolution birds with one stone with the exercise committment. Get in better shape and get better sleep.
8. Make Sleep a Priority
You might think, “Yeah, I know sleeping is important”, but when you’re busy or having fun, what’s the first thing to go?
A healthy sleep regimen is just as important as eating, drinking water, and exercise. It effects every aspect of your life.
Make a commitment to sleeping better. Try prioritizing practicing healthy sleeping habits for one week and see how you feel. You’ll probably feel so amazing, you won’t want to stop!
9. Get Help for Serious Sleep Problems
Perhaps you’ve tried everything under the sun to sleep better. You’ve read all the articles, you’ve taken all of the natural supplements, and you’ve made your bedroom a sleepy-time oasis.
But nothing seems to help.
Reach out for help. It’s never a sign of weakness to ask for help. It’s a sign of courage and strength. Chronic insomnia and sleep apnea are no joke. Finde a sleep center or board-certified sleep medicine doctor. Or simply ask your general practitioner. You never know. Better sleep could be just around the corner with their help.
10. Invest in Good Bedding
Last, but certainly not least: invest in high-quality bedding. Get a mattress you’re in love with. Get some super-comfy sheets. Splurge on that seemingly-overpriced pillow.
And, of course, get yourself a high-quality weighted blanket.
“A heavy blanket? How’s that gonna help?”
There’s lots of scientific evidence proving that weighted blankets can help you fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer. Without going into the nitty-gritty details, you can read those here, let’s just say weighted blankets wrap you in a wonderfully-calming hug all night long.
Weighted blankets help your body release sleep-inducing hormones serotonin and melatonin while decreasing cortisol, your stress hormone. This process is called Deep Pressure Stimulation (DPS) and IT.IS.GLORIOUS.
But you can’t rely on any old run-of-the-mill weighted blanket. You have to get one that’ll actually work without bunching, leaking, or causing you to sweat through your pj’s. The best weighted blanket to help you reach your New Years resolution goal of sleeping better can be found in a Weighted Evolution blanket.
Weighted Evolution blankets meet all the high-quality criteria:
- Cooling comfort
- Quality materials
- Excellent construction
- Machine washable
This Is One New Years Resolution Idea That’s Perfectly Feasible
Well, there you have it. 10 great ways you can sleep better this year. While it might be a little overwhelming to try to tackle all these at once, it’s most certainly worth a try to get all ten mastered by next New Years Day.
And may we suggest starting with the easiest? Shop our Weighted Evolution blankets today and start sleeping better in no time.