Sleep Resolutions That Will Help You Reach Fruition

  1. Make quality sleep a priority
    It sounds simple, but sometimes it really isn’t.  Depending on things like what time of year it is, our stress levels, things happening at work or in our homes, we can all be easily distracted and get caught up with life — which means that keeping a routine can be difficult.  The key here is to remember that having a productive day and feeling good during waking hours really starts with getting quality sleep the night before.  In order to plan ahead, you need to plan for sleep first.

    If you set out to achieve major goals this year — like running a marathon, losing weight, or competing in other athletic activities, sleep is truly going to help you see the results you seek.  Be sure to block out 7-8 hours in your daily schedule that is dedicated to sleep only.
  1. (Re)organize your bedroom
    If you use your bedroom as a multi-purpose place — meaning, not just for sleep, but also for things like work, entertainment, and eating — your brain and body might have a hard time distinguishing between when you’re supposed to rest, work or play.

    One of the best things you can do to optimize your bedroom for a better night’s rest is to clean up and reorganize the space that you sleep in. Try to keep all work activities outside of these four walls; that means don’t stay up too late with your laptop in bed and move your desk to another room that can serve as your work area.  This will turn your bedroom into a calm and peaceful environment and will help your brain avoid staying in the doing mode so that you can fall and stay asleep.
  1. Invest in Sleep-Hacking Glasses
    The lighting in your environment directly influences your natural circadian rhythm. Many centuries ago, humans solely depended on the rise and fall of the sun to determine when they would wake up, eat, hunt, and go to bed.  In today’s world, people are encouraged to be “on” all the time due to developments in technology, such as fluorescent and LED lighting, which is found in light bulbs as well as digital devices (computers, tablets, phones, and televisions).  

    These light sources emit blue light, which signals to your brain that it’s light outside and you need to be awake.  If you think about how much light you’re exposed to throughout the day — when you wake up in the morning, when you’re sitting in front of your computer at the office for 8+ hours, watching tv at home, and when you’re using your phone in bed — you’re not alone in realizing that you’re constantly being bombarded by blue light.  

    Overexposure to this artificial blue light — especially right before bedtime — confuses your brain and body about what time it is and will continue to stimulate your brain.  If you’ve ever felt that “wired and tired” feeling, pay attention to the lighting all around you, and be proactive about protecting your eyes from it.

    It’s also worth noting that green light has been shown to disrupt sleep in the same manner as blue light.  Sleep-hacking glasses that block blue and green light are recommended to help you take more control of the light in your environment (30-90 mins before bed, on average). TrueDark Twilights glasses use technology to block 98%+ of blue and green light at night. They essentially put your brain into an alpha (or meditative) state, so that you can fall asleep faster and rest more deeply.

    Read: The Best Sleep-Hacking Glasses for Sleep
  1. Blackout your bedroom when you’re ready to sleep
    This is important for everyone, but it’s especially relevant for shift workers that work outside of the typical 8am-5pm workday, and that need to get some shut eye while the sun is still up.  Since the presence of light acts as a stimulant to keep you awake and alert, you want to be proactive about blacking out your bedroom when you’re ready to get some rest.

    Some simple solutions include:
  1. Make your bedroom cooler at night Like light, the temperature is also an important factor when it comes to keeping your natural circadian rhythm in sync.  Your natural body temperature dips around 4 a.m., and this helps you preserve energy. Keeping your bedroom cooler typically makes it easier to fall and stay asleep (as opposed to sleeping in warmer temperatures that might lead to night sweats). Some simple solutions include:
  • Installing blackout curtains to help block out light and heat during the daytime, which will continue to keep your bedroom cooler at night
  • Using a fan or air conditioning
  • Keeping your bedroom door open slightly so that air can continue to flow throughout the house, which also helps prevent your room from getting too stuffy
  1. Cut back on caffeine and alcohol
    Caffeine is a drug that acts as a stimulant, both mentally and physically (SHF).  It not only makes falling and staying asleep more difficult, but it can also cause the need to urinate during the middle of the night.

    Alcohol is also best to be avoided for at least 4 hours before bedtime as it’s associated with more frequent awakenings, night sweats, nightmares, and headaches.  Binge drinking will actually affect your body’s ability to produce appropriate levels of natural melatonin for up to a week.

    By reducing and appropriately timing your consumption of both caffeine and alcohol, you’ll have more control over your natural circadian rhythm. Subsequently, you’ll have a better chance of falling and staying asleep.

  1. Invest in a new mattress
    Consider this:  you spend one-third of your life sleeping on your mattress.  So, it’s wise to invest in a sleep surface that promotes deeper, quality rest.  

    Older and damaged mattresses can cause issues ranging from neck and back pain to insomnia. If your mattress is on the older side, it may be time to invest in a new one.  And don’t assume that the more expensive it is, the more comfortable it will be. Everyone is different and has their own preferences; your comfort in your own sleep environment is a priority, so it’s ok to be picky!

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