Sleep – the key to successful New Year’s Resolutions
Many people will be glad to see the back of 2020, which has been an enormously tough year globally. As we look toward the promise of 2021, it’s time to start thinking how we’ll improve the path ahead of us. Whether you’re hoping to improve your health, lose weight, simplify your lifestyle and home, or just learn to relax, it all starts with one thing: sleep!
When you sleep, it’s like running a diagnostics test on your body. As issues are detected, your systems ramp up to repair damaged tissues, manufacture life-sustaining hormones and catalogue memories from the previous day. Shortening your sleep time can impair your ability to react rationally to stress (physical, mental and emotional) and learning new skills is severely diminished.
Research shows that people who sleep less than six hours a night don’t spend enough time in the deepest stages of sleep and are at higher risk of heart attacks and strokes than those manage at least seven hours.
Plus, sleep can help you reach your goals.
Losing weight or getting in shape
If you’ve struggled to maintain a healthy weight, getting enough sleep is one of the best things you can do. Without enough sleep, your body is prompted to release higher amounts of insulin after you eat. Insulin not only controls your blood sugar, but how and when fat is stored. Higher insulin levels send a signal to your body to hang on to fat.
Whether you’re hitting the gym or doing yoga at home, exercise also plays a key role in weight management. But when you’re tired, the motivation to get moving nosedives. What’s more, a no-pain, no-gain strategy won’t work either. Our ability to withstand pain plummets with sleep deprivation. Tough yoga poses and muscle burn at the end of your set of weight repetitions feel even more unbearable when you’re sleep deprived.
Bear these tips in mind:
- Choose evening snacks that contain tryptophan, an amino acid found in turkey, lamb and milk. It’s a well-documented sleep super hero.
- Hit pause on Netflix. Try an evening walk, reading a book or family game night to relax after dinner instead of binging on series.
- Enjoy the many benefits of love-making. When it comes to weight loss, studies have shown that an hour of sex can burn 150 calories and reduce late-night snack cravings. When it comes to sleep, making love helps release cortisol, a stress-inducing hormone. Surges of cortisol leaves the body feeling more relaxed, which can lead to a better transition into sleep.
De-cluttering and simplifying
If your goal is to declutter and simplify, begin with your bedroom.bAs Marie Kondo says, our homes should be for the person we are becoming and not the person we once were. When it comes to your bedroom, it should a sanctuary where you recharge your batteries, rejuvenate your spirit and find yourself at peace before falling into a deep sleep.
If clutter creates stress in the background, even if you’re not consciously aware of it, bedroom chaos will affect your ability to get a healthy night’s sleep. Try these strategies:
- Organise each area of your bedroom separately. Your cupboards, your vanity, your bedside tables and any open spaces… take them on one by one.
- Do a proper deep-clean. It doesn’t have to be a painful exercise – it can be cathartic.
- Create a bed(room) you’ll love sleeping in. When you’re trying to create your ideal sleeping environment, there are a variety of elements that should guide your decisions – the right mattress and foundation for you, as well as pillows, sheets and blankets, and things that you love, like your favourite scented candle or a favourite photo next to your bed.
From family crises to stress around preparations for the holidays and overloaded schedules, stress can mess with your sleep. And the opposite can apply too – a lack of sleep can amp up your stress. De-stress in the new year by tweaking your sleep schedule.
Learn to sleep, despite anxiety. While we sleep, our minds are still active and may be processing information. If we don’t take time throughout the day to process information and to unwind, then stress/anxiety can make it difficult to fall asleep or stay asleep. Give yourself space to process well before bedtime.
Protect your health
Sleep is a critical component for good health because of the important role it plays in strengthening the immune system. Sleep helps us fight off viruses and disease and is a crucial boost to recovery if we do get sick.
While a good night’s sleep can’t cure COVID-19, it’s an effective, natural immune booster during every day, regular life and especially during a crisis.
Keeping your new year’s goals can be tricky especially when your daily life takes over. But when you think about it, getting a good night’s sleep can be beneficial for everything you do – from eating healthier to exercising and relaxing. Time to conquer 2021 with a new you!
For more news and for expert sleep advice, visit our Restonic Sleep Blog.