January 01, 2018
IT’S THE FIRST day of the new year, a fresh start to what we all hope will be a better year, and statics show that you’re in one of two camps: those who make New Year’s resolutions (45%) or those who don’t bother (38%).
For the optimistic half of the population that resolves to improve their lives in some way, only 8% actually wind up achieving their goals. With a 92% failure rate, clearly there’s room for improvement.
But how? What can you do to increase your chance of accomplishing the positive changes you’ve resolved to make?
The answer is so simple, it’s almost ridiculous: Sleep.
Ironically, one of the best ways to get more accomplished is to do what some people think of as a waste of time, or a sign of laziness and weakness. However, that thinking couldn’t be further from the truth.
Studies show that sleep affects almost every aspect of your health – from your physical and emotional health, to your financial and mental health – so getting the recommended7-8 hours of sleep each night can not only supercharge your resolutions, it can improve your life.
Let’s take a look at how getting enough rest can help you achieve these six common New Year’s resolutions:
1. Lose weight
Aside from the fact that you can’t eat when you’re sleeping, getting enough Zzzs can help you to burn more calories throughout the day. According to Women’s Health, a study by the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that people who get enough shut-eye burn 20 percent more calories after a meal than those who are sleep deprived. Sleeping also helps with weight loss by keeping your leptin hormone levels up, which plays a key role in making you feel full.
2. Exercise more
The exercise results you are looking for will be enhanced by getting enough rest. When you enter the deep, non-REM sleep stage, your pituitary gland releases a growth hormone that stimulates tissue growth and muscle repair. This hormone helps your muscles recover after intense exercise. So, if you happen to overdo it and pull something, you won’t spend as much time on the sidelines.
3. Be more productive at work
Workers who don’t get their Zzzs nod off at meetings, have trouble concentrating and experience memory lapses. Lack of sleep also impairs judgment, which has implications far more serious than a loss in productivity. Think how this relates to pilots, doctors and school bus drivers. If you want to perform well, instead of putting in more hours at work, tack on more time in bed.
4. Get healthy
Not getting enough sleep has been tied to serious health problems, such as heart disease, heart attacks, diabetes and obesity. According to WebMD, one study “simulated the effects of the disturbed sleep patterns of shift workers on 10 young healthy adults. After a mere four days, three of them had blood glucose levels that qualified as pre-diabetic.”
5. Save money
When you’re asleep, you can’t shop online. You can’t go to restaurants for late-night snacks, or stop at bars for nightcaps. That’s a no-brainer. What’s not as obvious is how sleep helps with impulse control. According to an article written by Christopher Barnes of the Huffington Post, sleep helps to regenerate blood glucose in the pre-frontal cortex of the brain, which is the part that’s responsible for self-control. When you’re overtired, it’s so much harder to have the self-control to tell yourself “no” when you want to splurge on an unnecessary purchase.
6. Be a better parent, daughter/son, spouse
How many times have you had to apologize for being crabby to someone you love? When you’re sleep deprived, your cognitive processing gets compromised and it becomes way too easy to fly off the handle and say things you normally wouldn’t – which is never a good thing.
This year, don’t make any New Year’s resolutions – except one. Instead of setting yourself up to fail, like 92% of us, resolve only to sleep better and sleep more. Then, watch how the rest of your life improves. (You may be surprised at the results.)
So, happy 2018 to you! Now go to sleep.