One thing that doesn’t seem to be high on anybody’s list of New Year’s resolutions is getting enough sleep. So in this article we’re going to look at why prioritising sleep should be top of everybody’s list. We’ll discuss:
It’s that time of year when many of us start to consider our New Year’s resolutions. For the vast majority, these resolutions are along the lines of “New Year, New You.” We plan to join the gym, eat healthier and hope to lose some weight.
But if you really want to make your resolutions stick this year then it’s worth acknowledging the powerful role that sleep can play in helping you achieve your goals.
Sleep is one of the most overlooked parts of our day, yet the benefits of good sleep have an impact on all areas of our waking lives. So let’s have a look at how sleep should be our top resolution this year and every year!
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How many of us make resolutions to limit the junk food, lose those extra pounds or get fit in the new year? Yet without good sleep, these resolutions are way less likely to stick.
Good nutrition is widely known to contribute to a healthy body and mind. It’s less well known that when we sleep better we’re more likely to eat better.
When we’ve not slept well we tend to eat irregularly, snack between meals, add too much seasoning to our food and eat fewer vegetables.
Our cravings for sugary, fatty and highly-calorific foods are heightened when we’re sleep deprived, so if you’re keen to adopt a healthier diet in the new year, making sure you’re getting enough sleep will help you on this journey.
When we prioritise sleep, and make sure we get enough, improving our eating habits becomes a lot easier.
Despite the endless promotion of the benefits of a healthy lifestyle, levels of obesity continue to rise.
Obesity is a major public health problem across the developed world and is associated with an increased risk of several common diseases including diabetes, heart disease and some cancers.
Short or poor quality sleep is a risk factor for weight gain and obesity.
There’s an association between short sleep duration and being overweight in both adults and children. Those who sleep for less than seven hours a night are likely to have a higher BMI than those who regularly get enough sleep for their needs.
It would be wrong and misleading to suggest that sleep alone is a miracle weight loss cure. However, good sleep is the very foundation of good health.
When you don’t sleep well, chemical signals in the body tell your brain that you need to keep eating (when you likely don’t) and they fail to signal fullness, so you’re more likely to overeat. The net result is weight gain.
Our bodies naturally hold onto more fat cells when we don’t get adequate sleep so if your goal is to shed some extra pounds in the new year, then taking care of your sleep is an excellent first step.
Getting regular exercise can help you to sleep better and when you sleep well, you have the energy and motivation needed to allow you to exercise effectively. So it’s a relationship that is mutually beneficial.
Exercise can improve your sleep, and sleeping well can help you to reach your exercise goals.
We all know that physical activity is good for us but too few of us recognise the important role of sleep in allowing us to reach our exercise goals. Studies show that people who have trouble sleeping at night, or feel excessively sleepy during the day, have less energy and a reduced desire to be physically active.
Good sleep is also crucial for your recovery from exercise. During sleep, your muscles are repaired and your body removes waste products that have been produced during exercise. So by prioritising your sleep you’re automatically taking care of your post-workout recovery.
To be successful with any resolution, motivation is key. Poor sleep depletes motivation, increasing the likelihood that we’ll engage in risky behaviours (like sneaking a few extra chocolates from the box).
If this year is the year that you want to go for that promotion or take the steps towards your dream career, then getting good sleep should be part of your plan.
When you don’t sleep well, you won’t function at your best. Good sleep is essential not only for your physical health, but also your mental wellbeing. Tiredness affects everything from your reaction times to your memory and cognitive function.
Poor sleep also affects your mood. When we don’t sleep well, our emotions are heightened. Negative feelings are amplified and we feel more anxious and stressed. When we sleep well again, we see an improvement in our mood and we feel better-equipped to face the challenges of our day.
If you’re not sleeping well, your ability to meet your career-based resolutions is going to be reduced. When your sleep needs are met, you should wake feeling motivated and with the energy to take on whatever the day has to offer you.
We hope we’ve managed to convey to you how important getting good sleep is to all areas of your life. To finish, here’s our list of sleep resolutions we think everybody should try to keep.
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