October’s Resolution: Get More Sleep

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!

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10 thoughts on “October’s Resolution: Get More Sleep

  1. Wow… I thought that it was just me who always insisted on wearing socks to sleep. I can’t sleep without them! Also, I realized I can’t sleep unless I have a glass of warm milk at night. I thought that it was just a childish thing, but I am in college now, and that helps me not get hungry right after I have done my before going to sleep routine. This blog is really helpful. I always seek to know simple and natural solutions to better health. I would also liked to add to your sleep benefit list that sleep also helps prevent mental illnesses and disorders.

    • Yes. Although one of the consequences of mental illness can be difficulty maintaining routine, as well as sleep disruption (I’m thinking of bipolar disorder in particular) – in which case it’s not enough to tell people with an MI diagnosis to get into a regular sleep routine. At that point, we have to think about how to help them do it!

  2. LOVE the Happiness project! And it is so true…sleep effects everything! I’m a night owl as well but I have found I am able to reverse some of it. I now pick up my home and do my dishes in the morning. This way, I come home to a clean house after work…and I’m not staying up late at night trying to get everything done! And bonus…once you get into a good routine…your house stays fairly maintained and there isn’t as much work to be done!

    • you’re one of my inspirations, then – I’m still trying to get into that sort of morning routine! On the days that I manage it, it’s great! Especially the coming home to an orderly house :)

    • Ah, I think your daughter has always done a much better job of taking care of herself than I have! But I have to say, after my first really solid night’s sleep…I do feel much better!

  3. That’s interesting about the cold feet. I traditionally don’t like sleeping in socks, but maybe I should give it a go since the weather is getting colder.

  4. Pingback: How to Get More Exercise in 3 Easy Steps | Project Minify

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