What is your New Year’s resolution? According to proactivechange.com, about 40 to 45 percent of Americans make at least one New Year’s resolution each year, which can include anything from an improved diet and weight loss to quitting smoking and saving more money. Another resolution that may be easier to keep is ringing in the New Year with a little more shut eye.
Sleep is one of the best things we can do to improve our overall health and happiness. According to the Better Sleep Council: “Like eating right and exercising, sleeping well is essential to feeling your best during the day. It affects how you feel, your relationships, your productivity, and your quality of life. While you sleep, your brain goes to work, consolidating the day’s learning into memory and reenergizing the body.”
Getting the recommended seven to nine hours of sleep, however, is sometimes easier said than done. Our overall lifestyle, work and eating habits can affect our ability to relax and achieve quality sleep. But, good health and good sleep go hand in hand, and there are several steps we can take to achieve both and start the New Year off right.
• Create a sleep sanctuary
Make your bedroom conducive to sleep in all ways. It should be cool, dark, quiet and comfortable, and free from televisions, computers, phones and anything work-related. Also, investing in a quality, supportive mattress and pillows (Simmons Beautyrest Collection) will go a long way to attaining a good night’s rest.
• Eat well
Eating a variety of healthy food and drinking plenty of water will help your body perform better both awake and asleep. (Tip: Try to eat at least two to three hours before your bedtime to avoid heartburn, indigestion or feeling too full before bed.)
• Exercise regularly
Getting 20 to 30 minutes of exercise each day helps your body achieve deep, more efficient, and more restful sleep. It also boosts our spirits, improves cardiovascular efficiency, and lowers blood pressure. (Tip: Don’t exercise too close to bedtime as it can actually interfere with sleep. Aim to exercise five to six hours before going to bed.)
• Avoid products containing caffeine, nicotine and alcohol
These all act as a stimulant and interfere with the body’s ability to relax and achieve deep sleep.
• Consult a doctor if you have problems sleeping
Many sleep-related issues can be easily addressed.