Run a marathon, stress less, master a killer new recipe… If you haven’t decided on your New Year’s resolution yet, why not start with sleep? No matter what your goals for the new year are, a sleep commitment will set you on the right track to accomplishing just about anything. Here are 7 simple sleep resolutions to try in 2016. Cheers!
1. Get Going
You may be wondering what fitness has to do with sleep quality, and the answer is: a lot. It makes sense—working up a sweat wears you out physically and makes you more inclined to crave rest. It also releases chemicals and hormones that help combat stress and anxiety—a key ingredient to falling and staying asleep. Just make sure to end your sweat session 2-3 hours before bedtime so you’re not too pumped up to fall sleep.
2. Soak up the sun
Sun exposure helps your body know when it’s time to be asleep or awake, making it easier to stick to a healthy sleep schedule. It can be a challenge to soak up the recommended amount of sunlight, especially during the short, dark winter days. If you can’t get it all at once, try gathering a few minutes at a time throughout the day. Remove your sunglasses on your trip to work, park a little further away from the office, run out for errands at lunch or take an afternoon jaunt around your home or office building.
3. Set it and forget it
Consistency is key, especially when it comes to sleep. So set a regular sleep schedule and stick to it. Yes, even on weekends. That extra hour on Saturdays may feel essential, but getting up and out at the same time as you do during the work week will keep you clear-headed and help you avoid a sleep delay later on.
4. Spruce up your space
Luxurious sheets and pillows are not only comfortable and attractive— they can boost your mood and get you excited about sleep…maybe even help you stick to that 9:30 bedtime. When investing in sheets, look for long-staple cotton (Egyptian, Pima) in the 300-400 thread count range. Not all sheet sets are designed to fit every bed. If you have a thicker mattress, look for sheets with deep corners that’ll fit comfortably without sliding off. When shopping for a new pillow, take into account your preferred sleep position and pillow filling (down, latex, memory foam, poly-fill).
5. Lay off bed-time tech
The light emitted by your smart phone is strong stuff—it has the ability to delay sleep and can make it harder to reach the REM stage of your cycle. Plus, the mental stimulation you get from activities like social media and email can make it harder to shut off your thoughts. To ensure tech isn’t interfering with your sleep, stay away from your device an hour before bed, or if you’re really committed to unplugging, put it in another room for the night.
6. Clear the clutter
You know the junk mail, to-do list and People magazine piled up on your nightstand? Tuck those away when you crawl into bed tonight. Too much visual stimulation, especially if it reminds you of work, makes it harder to let go of the day and fall asleep. A nightstand or bed frame with storage drawers make it easy to de-clutter in a hurry, which is helpful when you’re super tired at the end of the day.
7. Support yourself
When your body gets the support it needs, tossing and turning is reduced, you’re less likely to wake achy and your neck and spine will thank you. The approaching New Year is a great time to reflect on your sleep space and start afresh. If it’s been a few years since you shopped for a mattress, check out what the new technology has to offer—you may be surprised. Seize the day and make 2016 the year you invest in your rest!