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Make a better night's rest your resolution for 2015.

Make a better night's rest your resolution for 2015.

Every year, we resolve to do something more positive with our lives — eat better, get a new job, exercise more often and so on. But the vast majority of these resolutions fail to make a lasting impression, with as many as half of them falling apart by the time February rolls around. Whether because of unrealistic expectations, not monitoring your progress on a resolution or just flat out forgetting about it as time goes on, it's neither easy nor likely to adhere to whatever elaborate new goal you've set out for yourself on December 31. That's why, when it comes to New Year's resolutions, simplicity is key. Rather than carve out some wildly new part of your life, try to better a part of yourself that you're already plenty familiar with — like sleeping better!

As the healthy living website Care2 points out, sleep deprivation is a serious health risk that can exacerbate dangerous conditions like heart disease, stroke, diabetes, kidney disease, weight gain and obesity, depression and a weakened immune system. Additionally, a lack of sleep can leave you feeling drowsy, which results in not only worse performance at work or school, but can also leave you liable to hurting yourself in an accident, whether it's falling down a flight of stairs or nodding off behind the wheel while you're driving. Sleep deprivation can also do a number on overall brain health, leaving you feeling both physically and mentally sluggish, impairing judgment and cognitive thinking as well as chipping away at memory support and concentration.

If you're getting under seven hours of a rest each night, then resolve to sleep better in 2015. It's not a whole new component to your life that you have to figure out or keep track of — sleeping is a part of your routine already, after all. It's nothing new that you have to wrap your head around, you just need more of it!

Here are a few tips on how to follow through on this resolution and get a better night's rest this year:

  • Avoid nighttime stimulants: Eating food, drinking alcohol and caffeine or keeping your eyes glued to electronic screens in the hours prior to bedtime can have you too wired to drift off.
  • Eliminate any sources of stress in the bedroom: Make sure the room is clean and organized, free of any clutter or work-related responsibilities. Outfit the bed with comfortable pillows, blankets and sheets.
  • Keep to a consistent sleep schedule: The more often you to go bed at the same time each night, the more likely you are to get the same amount of hours.
  • Maintain a comfortable temperature in your bedroom: Keeping it too hot or too cold can leave you thrashing around in an attempt to either cool down or warm up, and the more active you are, the less likely you are to fall asleep quickly and easily.
  • Relax: Take a warm shower or bath, read a favorite book or meditate. Do something relaxing just before bedtime not only makes it easier to fall asleep, but also helps enable a more rejuvenating night's rest.
  • Work out during the day, but not at night: Daily exercise is not only good for you, but can also help wear your body out and facilitate easier sleep. Exercising at night, though, can leave you feeling too charged-up to go to sleep anytime soon.

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