New Year’s Resolution: Get More Sleep

I grew up in a household where a 2 a.m. bedtime was normal, so by the time I was on my own, it was embedded in my personality. I never considered the possibility that five hours of sleep was not only the reason I felt so tired during the day, but it was taxing on my health. Not getting enough sleep can invite an array of heath risks like obesity, heart disease, and some cancers, and even excessive snacking. And I’ll admit that I may have closed my eyes during a meeting or two. Lack of sleep is not uncommon for our generation. We work late, enjoy our weekends, and sometimes we want to start a new series on HBO.Sleep resets and heals your mind and body, and is one of the main components to living a happy, healthy life. I made a pact to myself to get more sleep last year and was on good track, but occasionally I still get distracted from bedtime and miss my 12:00 am deadline to be in my bed. Sometimes it takes, who knows how long, of infinitely scrolling through Facebook before realizing that reading about what a high school acquaintance is considering as a midnight snack, had already deprived me of an hour or two of valuable shut-eye.So this year I’m sticking to it, and will follow my own rules to a tee. Here’s what I’m planning to do:1. Exercise most nights.I’ve been doing this for two years now, but I didn’t at all before. So because I have a good comparison of exercising vs. not, I can vouch for how helpful it is for your sleep patterns. I say nights only because I am a night person and mornings are out of the question for me. But if you are a morning person, try to exercise in the AM because it energizes you all day and then it’s out of the way for the day. But whenever you do it, know that not only does exercising help you sleep, but sleeping helps you exercise.2. When you get home, do all your chores right away.No Facebook right after walking through the door! After all, you’ve likely been on it all day. Instead, make dinner, eat, clean up, pack lunch for tomorrow, shower. That way you’ll have an hour or two free before you have to go to bed. Free! Completely free!3. Have a bedtime.Going to sleep at the same time every night and waking up at the same time every morning (even on weekends!) is important for good sleep hygiene. But it’s vital to pick a reasonable bedtime so that you’ll get done what you need to and ensure that you’re getting six to nine hours of sleep a night. My bedtime goal is 12am. When you have a time goal, you can format your night more efficiently. Put an alarm on your phone for a half hour before your bed time so that you have a physical reminder to start winding down. That way the night won’t get away from you.4. Have a glass of wine, with dinner. Not before bed.A glass or two of wine is good for your mind and body, and for some of us, it makes us feel sleepy. But drinking too much before bed can affect the quality of your rest and cause you sleep restlessly. So have your wine in moderation no less than three hours before bed.5. Make your bed your throne.This is where you spend several hours of your day, and where (most) of your sex will be taking place, so it should be somewhere you really want to be. I can’t stress this enough: don’t skimp on the cost of a good bed. Yes, beds are expensive. But think long-term here. A bed lasts years and years. So if it means you have to skip a couple dinners out or sales at Piperlime to save up for one, it’s well worth the investment. You want one that’s large enough so you aren’t cramped in with your partner (or future partner; plan ahead — trust me here!), and has the softest sheets you can afford. Soft cotton sheets with a high thread count make an enormous difference in how quickly you fall asleep and how good you feel when you wake up. So do some research; figure out if you prefer a soft memory foam mattress or a firmer box spring with a fluffy mattress-topper. Find out where you can buy affordable 100% cotton sheets that will become smooth as silk after a few washes. A soft, comfy spacious bed makes a world of difference in your desire to sleep.Read More From Our End-Of-Year Roundup:Cook MoreEat Less Sugar Fight FOMO