Every year we strive to do better than the last. Many of us set goals and aspirations that are great in theory but don’t quite set the tone for the year all on their own. No matter what your resolutions are, be sure to start the year off right with a healthy night’s sleep.
The importance of making sleep part of your resolutions
With the new year coming up it’s the perfect time to make positive changes that can last all year long. Developing better sleep habits can have a positive influence on other aspects of life. People who sleep better tend to be more active, eat better, are more productive, and feel better during the day. Not only that, sleeping better helps avoid negative side effects that come from lack of sleep such as fatigue, irritability, and lack of motivation. A boost in mood is essential if you want to take on the new year and make it better than the last!
Developing a sleep schedule and daily routine helps your body get into its natural rhythm and sleep cycle. There’s no need to force yourself to wake up at 6 am as soon as the new year starts. Instead, try using the first day of the year to plan strategies that may help you go to bed and wake up at consistent, reasonable times that will work for you. Your body loves routine, so as you develop your new ritual, you will start to notice that it’s easier to fall asleep and wake up at the right times and you may even feel like you have more time in a given day. Sleeping better doesn’t have to be your only resolution, but if you make this a priority, it can help keep you on task to achieve the others on your list.
How to kick off January 1st right
Want to start the new year with better sleep but aren’t sure how? Here are some tips and recommendations to help you get started.
Morning If you stayed up to ring in the new year at midnight, try to get enough hours of sleep to feel refreshed and well-rested in the morning. Once you’re ready, an ideal way to kick start your day is with some exercise. Go for a brisk walk (or a faster pace if you’re ready for speed) for at least 30 minutes, no gym membership necessary. After you’re warmed up, stretching can help keep your body feeling good throughout the day. If you find this helpful and enjoyable, try adding other exercises to your routine. Be careful not to overdo it, especially if you aren’t already in the habit of working out regularly. Start slow and work your way up to a good rhythm. The goal is half an hour, but shorten or extend as you see fit. Remember, the goal should always be something you know you can achieve — set yourself up for success!
After your wake-up workout, reward yourself with a tasty, nutritious breakfast. If you had a little extra champagne at midnight, remember to rehydrate with plenty of water. Regardless of what you choose to eat and drink, go easy on the caffeine and switch to decaf later in the day.
If you’re spending the day indoors, try sitting by a window to let the sunlight in, and maybe have a plant nearby for some color and added positivity. If you’re sitting for long periods of time, maybe on a New Year’s Day movie or reading binge, try to get up and stretch every hour to keep your energy up and avoid the side effects of being too sedentary.
Lunch Have a filling lunch but nothing too heavy. A big meal in the middle of the day can make you drowsy and make it difficult to accomplish your goals in the afternoon. Maybe a midday workout fits your schedule better. Everyone has their preferred time of day to get the blood pumping. Don’t forget to eat something to help fuel your body afterwards.
Afternoon If you’ve decided that morning or midday exercise isn’t for you, set aside some time to be physically active in the afternoon. Cardio and aerobic exercises like swimming and dancing are good ways to move around after a long day. If you prefer to do intense exercise later in the day, be sure to do so at least 2 hours before bed so it doesn’t interfere with your ability to sleep
Evening Dinner time! Similar rules to lunch: filling, but not so heavy that it affects your sleep. Heavy foods take longer to digest, and you can’t sleep well if your body is focused on your stomach. Eating spicy foods at night might disturb your sleep too. If you work late into the day or like to be on your phone or computer, be aware of the blue light emitted from them. Blue light can lead to sleep disruption, so we recommend setting your devices to filter out blue light and/or dim with the sunset. Using blue light blocking screens and glasses can also help with this, so your body naturally gets ready for sleep.
Pre-bedtime At least an hour before bedtime, stop screen time and do something relaxing for yourself. Meditation, reading, or a warm bath are great options. These activities can help your body wind down for the night and help it know that sleep is coming soon. Make sure your sleep environment is ready by keeping the temperature cool, shutting off any lights, and turning off any electronics that may disrupt sleep. Finally, slip into your favorite pajamas and snuggle into position.
Bedtime! (The best time) From here, close your eyes, take a few slow, deep breaths, and enjoy a healthy night of sleep. Then, repeat the next day! Your new routine will take some time, so don’t be discouraged if you don’t experience immediate results. Keep in mind that these suggestions are not one-size-fits-all. Don’t hesitate to change what doesn’t work and substitute what does. Tweet us @SleepScore and share what you do to wake up and wind down!
Have a restful new year!