Tired of making the same New Year’s resolutions? Exercise more, eat better, spend less etc.

We’ve all been there. But if you’re still trying to decide on a New Year’s resolution, what about getting more, or better, sleep?

Sleep is essential to maintaining your physical and mental health and wellbeing but less and less of us are getting an adequate amount of sleep (a third of us get by on as little as five to six hours a night).

While around seven to eight hours of sleep per night is considered the norm, don’t get too hung up on the number. Yes it’s important to ensure you get enough but it’s also about the quality of sleep you get. Some of us function perfectly fine with six or six and a half hours a night whereas those who get eight still feel sleepy and want more!

The start of a new year is an ideal time to assess your sleep quality and change any old habits that hampering your zzzs.

Here are some things to consider:

• Why not try going to bed and getting up at roughly the same time, all the time – you’ll be amazed at how your body will love you for it.

• Try new ideas in the bedroom – think curtains, lighting etc – to make it the ideal sleeping environment. Your bedroom should be kept for rest and sleep so if you struggle to fall asleep or stay asleep, consider removing gadgets (TVs, tablets, phones) from the room.

• Seek out ways to improve your lifestyle. Overhaul your diet, caffeine consumption and exercise regime.  Small changes can have a huge impact on your sleep quality and quantity.

• Think about the hours before bed.  Experiment with new ways to relax, like warm baths with calming scents, quiet soothing music, reading, gentle stretching and yoga.

• Why not keep a sleep diary? If you find dropping off hard, it may be interesting to see what you’ve been doing, what you’ve eaten and where you’ve slept on the days you sleep well to compare with the days you don’t sleep well. It could help in finding the answers to some of your questions.

• Give some thought to what you’re sleeping on. If it’s an old mattress (more than seven years) then maybe it’s time to look at buying a new one. What you sleep on affects how you sleep – research has shown that a new mattress can increase the amount of sleep you get by 42 minutes.

 

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