Though technically similar to any other day in the year, something feels different about January 1. Something special. It’s our opportunity to reflect on time passed, mark it moving forward, and find ways to grow from it. In life, the prospect of change, betterment, and progress is irresistible. Everyone craves a fresh start, a second chance, a clean slate. Even if the odds of achieving your goals aren’t any better or worse on this day, any opportunity for self-improvement should be embraced. And the New Year’s Day holiday is practically a celebration of wanting to be better and taking action. Or as we often call it: resolutions.
With each passing year, Americans make millions of resolutions, some new, some old, some carried over year after year. It’s part of our national spirit: we want to be better, reinvent ourselves, and do more. It’s in that tireless pursuit of self-improvement that oftentimes we get…well, tired. Yet despite being nationally sleep-deprived, with one in every three adults regularly not getting enough, too often we ignore our body’s needs and deny ourselves restorative sleep. And when we deny ourselves rest, everything else suffers. The quality of our nights substantially affects the quality of our days. Think of the yin and yang, the Force, the Oreo, or the very way the world goes ‘round: You need light and dark in equal measure to find harmony and balance. You need both day and night to succeed.
So, as you determine your resolutions for 2018, consider adding a new one to support eating well, working out, and achieving your goals: This year I will sleep better. You might be surprised at how much you can achieve when you find that balance. Get a jump start on your resolutions below, and learn how sleep plays its part in reaching them!
This year I’m going to lose weight
Easily the most common New Year’s Resolution, and for good reason: losing weight (and keeping it off) is no simple task, especially in our sugar-fueled, fast food nation. Luckily, accomplishing this goal is often a coordinated effort that helps accomplish others: you’ll likely need the following two resolutions—exercising more and eating healthier—to lose the weight you desire. Cut back on your sugars and starches, eat more protein and vegetables, and hit the gym a few times each week. But don’t neglect an important fourth step: getting the sleep you need. Less sleep means less energy, which means more food to keep you going late into the night. The longer you’re awake, the more likely you are to snack. Hormones that regulate your appetite go out of whack without sleep, all of which leads to extra weight gain.
This year I’m going to exercise more
Many resolutions are symbiotic: they work together to each other’s benefit. You may find that as you improve one facet of your daily life, others will improve as well. As you exercise more, you’ll likely be more health conscious and lose weight. But you’ll also sleep better, as even moderate exercise can help reduce the time it takes to fall asleep, the length of sleep we get, and the quality. But the rewards aren’t one-sided: the more sleep you get, the more time your growth hormones have to heal your body and develop muscles, which makes the next workout all the more likely and easier.
This year I’m going to eat healthier
You are what you eat, but might we also sleep what we eat? As mentioned above, more sleep gives you the restraint you’ll need to resist diet-breaking treats and late night fourthmeals, but it just so happens that many of the healthier foods you’ll enjoy while changing your diet can also promote quality sleep: nuts, legumes, fish, tea, oats, grains, and fruit. Eat them up (then sleep it up)!
This year I’m going to learn how to play guitar
Legends abound of rock stars who wrote classic songs in their dreams: “Let It Be” was delivered to Paul McCartney by his mother while sleeping, Keith Richards wrote the riff to “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction” in the middle of the night before falling right back asleep, and so on. Less, it seems, have reported falling asleep and waking up with newfound guitar-shredding prowess. However, sleep is a vital part of the learning process, whether you’re playing guitar or practicing any new skill. It allows your brain to make new connections and lock in information that might otherwise disappear into the ether. Play that new chord, but don’t hesitate to take a nap after. You might learn something.
This year I’m going to start being on time
There is always much to do and, as such, much to arrive late for. You’ll need to make a concentrated effort to organize and streamline your morning routine, but the simplest solution may lie in your bed: go to sleep earlier. Set an alarm not only to wake up, but to remind yourself it’s time for bed. Give yourself enough time for optimal sleep, and with practice, you’ll start beating your alarm and your coworkers.
This year I’m going to reduce stress
Modern life is stressful. Period. It can be overwhelming. There is constant activity, expectation, and information thrown at us daily, and sometimes the only response is to shut down. Sleep helps us manage that. It is literally a third of your day designated for shutting down, resetting, and healing. Stress hormones decrease during REM sleep. Get more sleep at night consistently, and you may find everything on your plate a little more manageable.
This year I’m going to spend less time on social media
What was intended as a benefit has become an addiction for many. What was meant to connect us has often divided us further apart. Social media can undoubtedly be a useful tool, or at least a fun distraction, but it can just as easily devolve into an all-encompassing time-sucker. It's easy to go from living your life to presenting it and comparing it with each new scroll. And consider when you’re likely to use your phone: lying in bed, putting off sleep. The blue light emitted from our screens suppresses melatonin and tricks us into staying awake when we should be sleeping. Put the phone on Do Not Disturb, place it out of horizontal reach, and enjoy some time off the grid.
No matter what resolutions you make this year, one thing is certain: They all start with a great night’s sleep. Because good sleep is vital to all that you do in your waking hours. And great sleep starts with the right mattress for the way you sleep. At Sleep Outfitters, we’ll take you through our exclusive sleep assessment where our sleep specialists will as you the important questions about you and your sleep. A journey that leads you to your perfect mattress, for a great night’s sleep better. Because this year, you will sleep better. Your resolution starts here.