The holidays are almost over, which means many of us are thinking about New Year’s resolutions. You know — lose weight, stop smoking, spend more time with family, etc. All of these are worthy resolutions as we try to make a positive change for the new year, and if they’re on your list, please act on them. But the one that should be at the top is to sleep better.
Top of your Resolutions List: Sleep Better
Wait … sleep? Yes … sleep! We all know how important quality sleep is. But it’s not surprising that so many people still don’t sleep very well — especially after the past few years with COVID-19, mounting political strife that has all of us riddled with anxiety and not always seeing eye to eye, and just an overall inability to recover mentally, physically, and emotionally. Per the National Sleep Foundation, adults need 7 to 9 hours of sleep each night. Most fall woefully short of that.
We expect or hope it will get better on its own. But it won’t — not unless we embrace change and do the little things now that will help us sleep better in the long run.
Sleep better, and you can guarantee the following positive results:
- More energy and improved overall mood
- Ability to make better decisions
- Live longer
- Improved eating habits
- Perform better at work and in personal relationships
- Help set the stage to achieve other resolutions
“A good laugh and a long sleep are the
two best cures for anything.” — Irish Proverb
When we start talking about “sleep hygiene,” most people don’t even know the basics. Below is a simple list of things you can do right now, courtesy of drmikesleep.com and a few we’ve all known about for years.
- Go to bed at the same time each night — Also, get up at the same time each morning. This habit strengthens the biological rhythm and controls the sleep-wake cycle. If these cycles are disrupted for a significant amount of time, we feel like we’re in a constant state of jet lag.
- Go to bed only when you are sleepy.
- Avoid heavy meals late in the evening. If you have to eat, choose a light snack.
- Do something relaxing in another room — This is especially helpful if you can’t fall asleep or wake up for more than 30 minutes during the night. The bedroom should be associated with sleep, not anxiety about not sleeping.
- Count sheep — That’s what diaphragmatic breathing and counting are really all about. Breathing is our body’s default way to relax and reset. Try 5 seconds in, 6 seconds out, while counting, and watch how quickly you fall asleep.
- Deep breathing — Sometimes called diaphragmatic breathing, this is a practice that enables more air to flow into your body, which can help calm your nerves, reduce stress, and eliminate anxiety.
Keep Reading for Better Sleep
- Avoid sleeping pills for more than one night per month. Avoid them completely if you have obstructive sleep apnea.
- Don’t use the quiet time once the lights are off to rehash the day or plan the next day’s activities, think about bills, or worry about your family. Plan a time earlier in the day to address these concerns.
- Don’t nap for more than 30 minutes during the day. Naps keep you from staying asleep at night.
- Don’t drink caffeine after lunch — It may not keep you from falling asleep, but it keeps you from obtaining deep sleep and having the overall ability to sleep better.
- Exercise — Regular exercise during the day (not late at night) helps promote deep sleep.
- Keep the room dark, cool, and quiet — Never try to fall asleep with the light or TV on. Draperies, including blackout curtains, help darken a room. They also serve as sound absorbers. Cool rooms are better for sleeping than warm ones.
- Avoid alcohol in the evening, as this aggravates snoring and obstructive sleep apnea.
All we’re trying to say is that our ability to sleep better will help us make positive changes in 2022, and it should be at the top of any New Year’s resolutions list. If you find that you are constantly tired or unable to concentrate on the simplest of things, consider improving your sleep hygiene.
We care about You and Your marriage!
Do you have the tools to communicate better in your marriage? Let us help. Send us your question in the email below! Plus, YOU are the best way we know to spread the word about Great Marriage. Forward one of our blogs to a friend today!
Did we leave anything out? What are a few ways you are trying to improve your sleeping habits? Did you enjoy the suggestions above? Please send us a quick email and help us keep this conversation going at Mike@MikeandSusanDawson.com.