My 2016 New Year’s resolution was to sleep more. Well…maybe not more, but at least better quality sleep!
I know this may sound like a strange resolution to some. After all, it is at this time of year when most people are setting weight loss goals for the year ahead. Sleep? Eh…there are more important things like getting rid of those pounds you accumulated over the holidays.
But what if I told you that your sleeping habits, or lack of sleep, could be going against your hard-earned weight loss efforts?
Would that surprise you? Because it definitely surprised me.
- Lack of sleep coincides with a greater risk of obesity.
- 10 under-the-cover tips to getting a better night’s sleep.
- A sample of my New Year’s plan to help you sleep better.
In reality, there is so much research and findings about the importance of sleep on your health that this blog post topic could be probably turned into a book. Unfortunately, I only have about 2,000 words to work with, so I’m just going to really narrow it down and include what I feel will interest you most, which are also the ones I believe to be the most important when it comes to how important sleep is to your health. This is what I plan to go over:
A Quick Overview of Why Sleep is So Important
- Your brain literally stores information while you sleep, helping you keep your better memory.
- Hormones that affect our body weight are regulated during sleep. These include hormones that regulate digestion and insulation control.
- Mental cloudiness and fatigue are caused by a lack of sleep.
- Your risk of moodiness, lack of attention and irritability increase when you don’t get enough sleep.
- Your cardiovascular health is greatly affect by your sleep.
Lack of Sleep and Weight Gain
Three studies have shown that lack of sleep can lead to the following:
- Greater portion sizes that lead to an increase in the amount of calories eaten over a set period of time, as well as increased cravings for the foods that hinder weight loss efforts.
- Sleeping 7+ hours per night increased weight loss success by one-third.
- Sleeping less than six hours each night can cause changes in your body at the cellular level.
Creating a Nighttime Routine for Better Sleep
From reading Hal Elrod’s Miracle Morning, my new morning routine has not only changed my mornings but also how productive, and even happier I feel during the entire day. The book also goes a little bit into how to set up your nights to conquer your tomorrows, but I wanted more.
I searched the Internet for more than a few hours about how to create the perfect nighttime routine to sleep better. Here is what I learned:
- You need to reduce your exposure to blue light from electronics (link to study).
- Being better prepared for tomorrow could reduce your stress.
- Getting up at the same time every day helps you work with your body’s natural rhythm, instead of plotting against it.
- A dark, quiet, cool, and comfortable environment is perfect for sleeping.
How I Have Created a Better Sleep Environment
♦ I installed noise-reducing blackout curtains in the bedroom.
♦ I keep a cool mist humidifier on with an automatic shut-off for when the room is at an optimal humidity level.
♦ I read a personal development book one hour prior to bed…no television, no Kindle, no computer.
♦ I write down 10 things I am grateful for that day.
♦ I keep a journal and pencil next to the bed in case any wonderful ideas or things I have to do pop in my head near bedtime. That way, no anxiety about the next day.
Do you have nay tips to sleeping better? Please leave a comment below.