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24 December 2015
New Year’s resolutions for better sleep

New Year’s resolutions for better sleep

You’re not alone if you have a history of abandoning your New Year’s resolutions. Young people only stick to their resolutions 39% of the time, and that figure falls to 14% for people in their 50s or older.

But if there’s one New Year’s resolution worth following through with during the year, it’s making sure you’re getting a good night’s rest.

Sleep is your body’s way of repairing itself, and has an impact on everything from your memory and metabolism to your immune system. There’s no magic number when it comes to how much sleep you should get, but the general consensus is that you should aim for at least 7 but no more than 9 hours a night.

Reach your target by sticking to these sleep resolutions.

1. I will make my bed every morning

If you potter around for hours in the evening, you may need to make your bed more enticing.

One National Sleep Foundation study found that people who made their bed every morning were 19% more likely to report getting a good night’s sleep on most days. So, invest a few extra minutes in the morning to set the scene.

2. I will stick to my sleep routine – even on the weekend

Going to bed and waking up at roughly the same time every day will help you set your body’s internal clock. While you may crave a lie in on the weekend, you can only make up some of the sleep deficit. Allow yourself a few extra hours – but not much more.

3. I will ban gadgets from the bedroom

It’s tempting to check your emails or catch up on your favorite TV show from the comfort of your bed. But doing all these other activities means you’ll be less likely to associate your bedroom with sleep. When you do hit the pillow, thoughts of work are more likely to pop into your head.

4. I will shut out the light

Streetlights or artificial light from gadgets could be interrupting your sleep. According to the Sleep Foundation, artificial lighting can suppress the production of melatonin (the sleep-inducing hormone), making it harder to nod off and making your sleep less restorative.

Invest in thick curtains, pop on an eye mask and banish all gadgets before bedtime.

5. I will get some peace and quiet

You may not be able to make your surroundings quieter, but you can pop in pair of earplugs before you go to bed to block out noise.

If sudden bursts of noise wake you up, you could try playing ambient ‘white noise’  to blunt the impact of random noises.

6. I will regulate my body temperature

Being too hot or too cold can make it hard to fall sleep. The ideal solution is strategic layering so you can add or throw off layers to suit your temperature without having to get up.

7. I will get the right support

Getting the right mattress is especially important if you’re suffering from pain. Memory foam mattresses, which keep your back snug and supported, can help back pain sufferers in particular. Ask your physiotherapist or doctor if they have suggestions and spend a bit of time finding the perfect pillow and mattress.

8. I will start a sleep diary

A sleep diary can help you keep track of your sleep patterns and how your pain or medication is affecting your sleep. You can present your diary to your doctor and speak to them about changing your dosages, if need be.

9. I will exercise more (really)

Studies have shown that committing to a long-term exercise regimen can help you sleep better. Just be patient, as you might not see the benefits immediately.

10. I won’t drink alcohol before bedtime

Although alcohol may help you nod off and relax, it can interfere with the quality of your sleep.

11. I will avoid caffeine after 12pm

Most sleep experts agree that caffeine disrupts your sleep, so stick to non-caffeinated options like peppermint tea or dandelion coffee and watch out for hidden sources of caffeine in things like chocolate, sodas and decaf coffee (which still contains some caffeine).