As 2016 looms on the horizon, chances are that joining a gym, eating more healthily and cutting down on nicotine or alcohol are likely to feature on our New Year’s resolution lists. However, one area of our lives that may be in need of improvement but is often overlooked is our sleeping habits. Research has shown that at least one in three adults regularly don’t get a full night’s rest, which can have an adverse effect on overall health and quality of life. With the chance for a fresh start just around the corner, there’s no better time to whip your bedtime regime into shape than now. Here are three ways to sleep better in the New Year.
Turn off the technology
If you’re someone who likes to check the latest buzz on social media, reply to work emails or watch TV late in the evening, now’s the time to kick the habit. The light emitted from phones, laptops and TV screens can disrupt the production of the hormone melatonin, which regulates your sleep/wake cycle, and make your brain think it’s not ready for rest. To increase your chances of enjoying quality sleep in the New Year, get into the routine of turning off your electrical devices at least an hour before you turn in for the night. To prepare your body for rest, try to establish a relaxing bedtime ritual, such as reading a book or having a bath.
Stick to a routine
We’re all guilty of having late nights now and then and treating ourselves to a few extra hours of snooze time on the weekends. However, if you want to enjoy the benefits of a full eight hours of shut-eye, you’ll need to establish a consistent sleep schedule. Make it your mission in 2016 to go to bed and wake up at roughly the same time every day, as this will help to regulate your internal body clock and encourage peaceful slumber. By making this small lifestyle change and setting your body into a rhythm, you’ll be surprised by how much more refreshed you’ll feel each morning and how much better you’ll function during the day.
Review your bedroom
Having a relaxing sleeping environment is crucial if you want to enjoy an undisturbed, restorative snooze. Remember that your bedroom is a place for sleep, and everything in it should reflect this. To help you nod off at night, make sure your room is a cool temperature and as dark and quiet as possible. You may also want to consider getting rid of any electrical devices that emit light and clear away clutter to create a sanctuary that’s conducive to rest. Turn your attention to your bed too. Does the frame squeak with every turn? Is your mattress uncomfortable or unsupportive? If the answer is ‘yes’, now’s the time for an upgrade.
By making these small but important changes now, you can improve your chances of sleeping more soundly and feeling more energetic in 2016 and beyond.