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6 Reasons Getting Better Sleep Should Top Your New Year’s Resolution List
by Shelly Kramer
Whether you officially make New Year’s resolutions or not, chances are good that sleep, specifically more sleep, and better sleep, is on your list of things that need to improve in the new year. The cool thing about getting better — and more — sleep as a goal is that it doesn’t require a gym membership, a trainer, an expensive diet regime, or even leaving the house. That’s why we think that getting better sleep should top your goals for the new year, whether you make official resolutions or not.
What’s the Problem With People and Sleeping?So, what’s the problem with people and sleeping? Well, a whopping one-third of American adults report sleeping less than six hours a night. A study released by Oxford University Press in November of 2018 examined sleep trends and noted that low sleep levels have significantly increased, beginning in 2013 and continuing through 2017.
Why is Getting Better Sleep Such a Big Deal?Why is getting better sleep such a big deal? Great question. Sleep impacts everything we do because sleep fuels the body. All too often, people find themselves wandering around in a fog due to lack of sleep, which means they don’t even realize that they’re not operating on all cylinders, which contributes to the problem. Here are some six reasons getting more sleep should be at the very top of your to-do list for the new year:
- Getting More Sleep Can Help You Avoid Getting Sick (or Worse). Operating on a sleep deficit can affect an individual’s health and the ability to fight off disease. Beyond the flu, common cold and other things that a body operating on lack of sleep might encounter, more serious health conditions can happen as a result as well. Obesity, diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, and even certain types of cancer — research has shown that a persistent lack of sleep contributes to many of these conditions, and getting better sleep can be a secret weapon to warding off sickness and serious illness.
- Sleep Can Reduce Stress. Lack of sleep can have a big impact on mood and stress levels, which impact both personal life and work life. I don’t know about you, but when I’m tired, I can barely think straight. That makes me cranky, stressed, and definitely not operating in a good state of mind. A good night’s sleep, and getting better sleep in general, means that I’m happier, more focused, and definitely not as stressed. What about you?
- Sleep Fuels Weight Loss. If you’re trying to manage weight and fitness goals as we come into a new year, know that if you’re working out, eating healthier, and trying to lose weight, sleep is a critical part of the equation. Want more on that, and the role getting better sleep plays in weight loss, read my article: Want to Build Lean Muscle Mass and Get Better Sleep? Try Adding a Calcium Supplement.
- Work Performance Improves When Sleep Improves. Just like lack of sleep can cause stress, it can also impact an individual’s work performance. Whether you’re working on a construction site, working in an office, or out in the field, the sharper you are mentally, the better you’ll perform. It’s not rocket science—it only makes sense. Sleepy people can’t possibly perform as well, no matter what the job, than a well-rested, alert person. Getting more sleep inevitably results in improved work performance.
- Getting Better Sleep Will Make You Safer (and keep your people safer). The NTSB reported in a 2016 study that there was a significant increase in crash risk for people who slept less than seven hours in the last 24. I’m like every parent out there, chauffeuring my kids to volleyball practices, social events, and a myriad of other things. If you’re tired when you’re driving your kids around, you’re putting not only yourself, but them in danger as well. Getting better sleep helps keep you safer, and your family safer, when it comes to the driving that’s an inevitable part of parenting.
- Getting Better Sleep Will Make You Happy. I don’t know about you, but when I don’t get enough sleep, I’m just not a very happy person. I often can’t think about anything but how doggone tired I am. Getting better sleep solves that, and when I get enough sleep on a nightly basis, I’m happy, excited, and feel well-equipped to tackle just about anything.