So I just got home from a trip to visit a friend, and I’m posting this after midnight. Irony acknowledged. But the trip was totally worth it, and a great last-night-of-staying-up-late. Now that I’ve posted this on the blog, I really have to commit!
For my first month of the big healthy living revolution, I decided to focus on one of the habits that’s been hardest to break: staying up too late at night (as evidenced above!) I don’t get nearly enough sleep, and lately, I can really feel it. But that’s over now! I hereby resolve to be in bed at a decent hour (that’s midnight at the very latest) every single night this month.
In honor of that promise, I’ve been doing some reading up on sleep. Much of the information below is summarized from longer, more thorough articles on helpguide.org and The Happiness Project – check them out for more helpful tips! Here’s my takeaway from those articles:
- Sleep isn’t just about energy. It also affects immunity and cardiovascular health.
- Poor quality sleep is just as bad as not enough sleep.
- Our biological clocks can be reset with time cues such as daylight (so night owls like me can learn to be more like early birds when we have to)
- Most adults need 7.5 to 9 hours per night (I’m nearer the upper end of the scale)
- 3% of us need 6 hours or fewer – it’s genetic. Think you’re among them? Only if you never, ever sleep in or make up for it on weekends, researchers say.
- A consistent bedtime makes a world of difference – it’s worth setting one.
- Sleep can be improved: a darker, cooler bedroom will help you sleep better.
- Cold feet are a sleep killer. They might be the reason you’re waking in the middle of the night. This is the best tip I’ve ever learned, straight from Gretchen Rubin at the Happiness Project: if you’re waking up during the night, try wearing warm socks to bed. I do this all winter. I never slept through the night before I started doing this – silly as it sounds, now I can sleep the whole night through. That little change has changed my life.
- Signs of sleep deprivation include not waking before your alarm goes off, afternoon sluggishness, needing to nap or sleep in on weekends, dozing off in front of the tv, falling asleep as soon as your head hits the pillow, and using the snooze button. Feeling drowsy while driving? You’re sleep deprived.
I have pretty much all of those signs. I’ve tried several things to improve the quality of my sleep – making our bedroom darker at night, buying a fancy memory foam mattress topper (it’s magical. I love it.) So I’m focusing on quantity this month. I resolve to just get in bed and turn the lights out, even if I still have things to do, every night at midnight this month. The articles I’ve read promise me that I’ll have more energy, better focus, and be in a better mood. We’ll see!
Is anybody else making a resolution along with me? It doesn’t have to be to get more sleep – anything related to well-being fits the project. Leave a comment and let me know how it’s going!