The Smartest New Year’s Resolution for 2018: Sleep (Here’s how to kick ass at it)
According to a recent survey from YouGov, the online polling firm, the top three New Year’s Resolutions for the coming year are saving money, eating better, and exercising more. No surprise, right? These three goals seem to always top the list. Number four, on the other hand, might come as a surprise: performing better self-care (such as getting more sleep).
While we’d love to see sleep own the number one spot (because lack of sleep causes so many terrible things most people aren’t even aware of), we’re happy to see it’s finally becoming a top priority for people.
If it made your list of resolutions, we’re here to help! And, we’re going to assume you’ve done all the most obvious stuff like cutting out afternoon caffeine, getting adequate exercise, and adopting a calming bedtime routine. Today we’re sharing less-known, but equally as helpful ideas. Here are 18 unexpected tips for better sleep in 2018.
1. Give sleep just as much attention as diet and exercise.
How much time do you spend doing things like looking up healthy recipes, counting calories, and researching new fitness routines? We all know diet and exercise are imperative to good health, but sleep is just as important and should be given the same weight of attention. In fact, lack of sleep has been tied to overeating, obesity, and diabetes, so if you’re not getting enough, you’ll have to work extra hard in the diet and exercise departments to make up for it. (Even then, you might not be able to truly make up for the ill effects of inadequate sleep!)
2. Paint your bedroom a tranquil color.
According to the National Sleep Foundation, the best bedroom is a blue bedroom.
Believe it or not, people whose rooms are painted blue tend to sleep longer than those who get their shuteye in rooms with different colors.
The reason has a whole lot to do with your eyes. Specialized receptors in the retina of your eyes—called ganglion cells—are most sensitive to blue. The ganglion cells are responsible for relaying information to the part of your brain that controls your body’s 24-hour rhythm, which, in turn, affects everything from performance to how you feel physically during the day. The color blue is associated with feelings of calm which, when picked up by your ganglion cells and relayed to your brain, helps reduce blood pressure and heart rate, all of which help you receive a solid night’s sleep.
If the color blue isn’t your style, at least try to keep your bedroom wall color in the realm of relaxing shades, like grays, silvers, and neutrals, since these cool colors have also been known to help lower blood pressure and heart rate.
Go with darker tones for extra sleep-boosting powers and choose a matte finish rather than a high-gloss one to mute things even more.
3. Invest in an idyllic sleep environment.
You’ll spend about 24 years of your life asleep, so your nest deserves to be a serious investment. Choose the right mattress and pick the perfect pillows, then buy bedding that makes you feel loved. Don't underestimate the impact of a comfier comforter, a memory foam mattress cover, a weighted blanket, or a cooling pillow. Your bed is the gateway to good sleep. Consider it your vehicle to healthy rejuvenation and long-term well-being – equally as important (if not more so) as the vehicle in your driveway.
4. Make your bedroom a thing of the past.
We don’t mean say goodbye to your boudoir, we mean cut out all the modern distractions that make it difficult to sleep – TVs, computers, laptops, tablets, cell phones. All of these things emit blue light that your brain translates as sunlight effectively signalling “Wake up! Wake up!” to your whole system.
5. Buy better pajamas.
First of all, if you wear it to the gym, don’t wear it to bed. What you wear to sleep should only be worn for sleep. Your fave pj’s don't have to be pricey, but they should make you feel good. Whether that’s super silly or super soft or super sexy is your call – you should just want to wear them and curl up under the blankies. Eventually, Pavlovian conditioning should help you go into sleep mode every time it’s jammie time.
6. Try separate bedding if you share a nest.
Does your partner tend to steal the covers leaving you shivering in the cold? Or, maybe one of you prefers snuggling under a pile of blankets while the other only needs a sheet? You might want to try making the bed with separate sets of sheets and blankets. “Use only one fitted sheet to start,” Robert Oexman, D.O., director of the Sleep to Live Institute told the Huffington Post in 2013. “Then make the top-of-bed with twin-size flat sheets and blankets to meet each person’s needs. If you’re worried about how that will look — no problem — you can cover this up with a single comforter when dressing the bed each morning.”
7. Cool it.Despite a desire for coziness, the optimal sleeping temperature for most adults is between 60 and 68 degrees Fahrenheit. Find your sweet spot – maybe you sleep best in a cool room snuggled up by a hot water bottle or maybe a fan makes you feel just right. Just know that temperature makes a difference, so you should experiment to see not only what helps you fall asleep, but what helps you stay asleep.
8. Set an alarm to go to bed.
You set an alarm to wake up because you need to be up on time. To get enough sleep, you also need to go to bed on time. Treat both moments with the same importance! Most people need 7-9 hours of sleep a night. If you need to be up at 6:00 am, you should set your nighttime alarm to be in bed around 10:00 pm.
9. Take notes.
If you’re like most people, your brain is racing when your head hits the pillow. Put those thoughts on paper to calm your mind. Simply keep a notepad and pen next to your bed and when you think of something you “have” to get done or cannot forget, write it down. If you suddenly come up with the greatest idea ever, write it down. Trying to remember things actually stimulates the brain and makes it harder to doze off. Set your thoughts free with a piece of paper.
10. Give thanks.
Keep a gratitude journal and write down simple things you’re grateful for each day. It’s not only a psychologically positive activity, it puts you in a better frame of mind for falling asleep peacefully.
11. Block your clock.
How often do you glance at your clock each night? Do you watch it when you’re trying to fall asleep? Do you check it when you randomly wake up? Every time you take a peek at the time, you send signals to your mind that can keep you awake. You inevitably stress about not being asleep and fret about how it might make you feel tomorrow. It’s natural to take some time to fall asleep and it’s natural to wake up several times through the night. Find peace in those moments. Forget about what the clock says. Turn it away, put it in a drawer, slide it under the bed, set it free.
12. Strike a sleepy pose.
You may not realize it, but your sleeping position has a huge impact on the quality of your sleep and how you feel the next day. The best way to sleep is on your back (but only 8% of people do). Lying on your side is second best – tummy sleeping is the worst. Try to be conscious about your body to enjoy better sleep.
13. Use soothing sounds.
White noise and nature sounds aren’t just great for babies, they help everyone sleep better! Block out distracting noises and put your brain in a meditative, relaxing state using apps, recordings, or even a simple fan.
14. Don’t fight for too long.
“Follow the 20-minute rule,” recommends Dr. Renata Riha, consultant in sleep and respiratory medicine and the author of ‘Sleep: Your Questions Answered.’ “If you don’t fall asleep within 15-20 minutes, don’t stay in bed ‘trying harder’ to drift off. Instead, get out of bed, leave the bedroom and do something quiet and non-stimulating (such as reading a book or knitting) until you feel sleepy again. The longer you toss and turn in bed, the more frustrated and anxious you will become and the longer it will take you to relax, unwind and, eventually, sleep.”
15. Try the Sleep ZPatch.
Doctors will often quickly subscribe pharmaceuticals, but there are many natural alternatives to try first. like our Sleep ZPatch. It contains a naturally derived formula to help you fall asleep and stay asleep through it's unique overnight application. Melatonin is a key ingredient of the Sleep ZPatch, one of the most common because it so directly replicates your body’s natural sleep physiology.
16. Eat better.
“What you eat can greatly affect how you sleep, even during the early half of the day,” writes Whitson Gordon for Lifehacker. “Eat breakfast first thing in the morning to sleep better at night, and make sure it's a big one. After
17. Make your bed.
It seems too simple to be true, but a poll from the National Sleep Foundation found that people who reported making their beds also reported better sleep overall. Take the two minutes to do it and see if it works for you, too!
18. Skip sleeping in.
Basking in bed on weekend mornings might seem like a great way to balance your sleep needs out, but it’s not as simple as that. “An often overlooked way for people to optimize their sleep is to wake at the same time every day, or at least within the same hour,” says Dr. Nitun Verma, MD, a specialist in sleep medicine and the Medical Director of the Washington Township Center for Sleep Disorders in Fremont. “So rather than oversleep on off days, waking at the same time and then taking a nap allows the extra sleep without disrupting the normal wake/sleep schedule.”
Ready for the best shut-eye of your life? Welcome it in even more quickly using our utterly unexpected tips for how to fall asleep fast.
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