December 20, 2021 3 min read
The goal of New Year’s resolutions is to improve life in the coming year. And for most people, that usually means breaking bad habits and starting new ones. Interestingly, though, this seems to rarely include sleep.
We can understand why that’s the case. Sleep today is considered a luxury. And while it can be hard to prioritize sleep when you have so much you want to change in the next 12 months, sleep shouldn’t be overlooked. One way to make sleep a priority while focusing on your enhancement is by adopting habits that inadvertently improve sleep along the way.
With that said, here are a couple of New Year’s resolutions that come with great sleep as a bonus.
While drinking up to 4 cups of coffee per day is safe, that doesn't change the fact that caffeine is an addictive substance. Cutting back on caffeine can make you less reliant on it to get you through the day. And according to research, it can also help you sleep better. Caffeine is a central nervous stimulant that can make it hard for your brain to wind down when taken 6 hours before bedtime.
Giving up drinking is on many New Year’s resolution to-do lists. Alcohol can increase your risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and cancer, especially if you drink in excess. If you quit booze, you’ll reduce your risk of developing alcohol dependency and other alcohol-related problems. And you’ll also sleep soundly along the way since studies show that even moderate drinking disrupts normal sleep.
Starting a new exercise routine is probably at the top of most New Year’s resolution lists. And it’s understandable why that’s so. Staying physically active is absolutely essential for health and well-being. But did you know it can also promote deep sleep? When you work out regularly, studies show your body releases feel good hormones that reduce stress and promote relaxation. And if you exercise outdoors, exposure to natural light can help regulate your body clock.
Of course, no New Year’s resolution is complete without a promise to start paying more attention to what you eat. Food has an immense effect on our overall health and well-being, the quality of our sleep included. A mini review published inFrontiers in Neurologynotes that certain macronutrients, micronutrients, and other dietary components can affect brain chemistry in a way that affects sleep. In general, eating minimally processed, high-carb, nutrient-dense foods helps with sleep.
Habitual snoring can be one of the first signs of sleep apnea, which is a serious sleep disorder linked to an increased risk of heart disease. But even nonapneic snoring can be bad for health and the quality of your sleep. Reaching out to a sleep specialist is the first step to take in the coming year. You may also want to consider snoring solutions, like Good Morning Snore Solutiontongue-stabilizing devices.
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Drake C, Roehrs T, Shambroom J, Roth T. Caffeine effects on sleep taken 0, 3, or 6 hours before going to bed.J Clin Sleep Med. 2013;9(11):1195-1200. Published 2013 Nov 15.doi:10.5664/jcsm.3170
Thakkar MM, Sharma R, Sahota P. Alcohol disrupts sleep homeostasis.Alcohol. 2015;49(4):299-310.doi:10.1016/j.alcohol.2014.07.019
Banno M, Harada Y, Taniguchi M, et al. Exercise can improve sleep quality: a systematic review and meta-analysis.PeerJ. 2018;6:e5172. Published 2018 Jul 11.doi:10.7717/peerj.5172
Frank S, Gonzalez K, Lee-Ang L, Young MC, Tamez M, Mattei J. Diet and Sleep Physiology: Public Health and Clinical Implications.Front Neurol. 2017;8:393. Published 2017 Aug 11.doi:10.3389/fneur.2017.00393
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