Resolve to Get More Sleep this Year

Still thinking about your New Year’s Resolutions?  You may have forgotten an important one that could have the biggest impact… Getting more sleep!

Common resolutions such as more exercise, weight loss, reducing stress, spending more quality time with family and improving your money management tend to come and go quickly.  However, making a true effort to get adequate sleep every nite is possibly the most important resolution you can make this year.  And the bonus is that doing so will help you achieve your other resolutions much more quickly.

The National Sleep Foundation states that most Americans get less than 7 hours of sleep per nite and that sleep debt is problematic.  One of the best things you can do for your physical and mental health is to be well-rested, yet it’s the first thing we compromise when we’re time-crunched or under stress.  A few nites here and there of sleep loss may not be an issue, but chronic sleep deprivation can lead to serious problems like weight gain, high blood pressure and a compromised immune system.

Here are the top 3 reasons to get rest:

  1. Your health – Sleep deprivation can: cause weight gain by altering hormone levels that control appetite, increase stress hormones and high blood pressure, reduce immune function leading to an increased likelihood of illness, and increase chance of accidents and errors.
  2. Your mind – When we sleep the brain consolidates and processes information and events that happened during the waking hours.  Sleep loss wreaks havoc on that process and impairs memory function and cognitive ability.
  3. Your mood – Sleep loss can cause aggravation,  irritation, frustration and emotional hypersensitivity.

Here are the top 3 things you do to get the proper amount of shut-eye each nite.  Add these to your 2013 New Year’s resolutions!

  1. Start winding down about 30-45 minutes before bed.  Turn the TV off, silence the cell phones and tablets, avoid caffeine and alcohol, get into your pajamas and start to prepare yourself mentally and physically for a good nite’s rest.
  2. If you’ve got a lot on your mind, make a “to do” list for the next day.  That way you’ll go to sleep confident that all your worries were “captured” on the list and don’t need to be committed to memory.
  3. Go to bed at a set time each nite.  No excuses – it can all wait until tomorrow.  An extra hour you spend awake tonite will equate to an entire day of lowered productivity tomorrow.

Bottom line:  Don’t buy into the misconception that one less hour of sleep means one more hour of productivity.  Sleep deprivation messes with your health, your mood and your memory and your thinking!  Sleep is too important to shortchange.  With sufficient sleep you’ll feel better and live better.  Think about it this way, you could function significantly longer without food than you could without sleep.  It’s true!

photo courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net

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