We are a little over a month into the year... how are you doing on your New Year's Resolutions?
If you’re like us, when the calendar flips over, you set some lofty new goals to improve your quality of life. Get more exercise, eat healthier, land a new job, save some money, spend more time with family... there’s no shortage of resolutions we can make to make ourselves and our families happier and healthier. The practice of making a “New Year’s resolution” has been around for hundreds of years now.
Sadly, around 88% of people seem to fall short of their resolution goals, but we have a great strategy to help you join the happy minority who set their intentions on January 1st and succeed. How? Well, you probably won’t be too surprised to hear that it involves sleep (Surprise!) But don’t get the wrong idea! We are looking at four of the most common, non-sleep-related new year’s resolutions and explaining how a good night’s sleep can scientifically maximize your chances to achieve each of them.
So check it out! Here they are, along with the percentage of people who swear they’re going to achieve it on an average New Year’s Eve.
Lose Weight - 40%
If you’re not getting the recommended 7 hours of sleep per night, it might be affecting your ability to lose weight.
That may seem a little counterintuitive to some people. After all, the more time we spend awake and active, the more calories we burn, right?
The problem is that sleep plays a crucial role in moderating two very important hormones called ghrelin and leptin. Ghrelin sends hunger signals to your brain and leptin does the opposite, signaling fullness and suppressing hunger.
A 2004 study found that ghrelin levels were almost 15% higher in people who didn’t get enough sleep, and leptin levels were 15.5% lower, causing them to feel hungry more often. So if you’re determined to lose weight this year, getting enough sleep can go a long way to helping you reach that goal.
Get more exercise - 52%
Getting in shape is always a commendable goal. Getting your heart rate up, staying active, improving flexibility, and building strength are all excellent ways to help you stay healthy and feel your best.
But if you’re not getting the sleep you need, getting motivated to hit the gym or go for a run can be a much bigger challenge than it needs to, and you’re likely to get tired out faster and not see the results as quickly as you would if you’re regularly enjoying a good night’s sleep.
Sleep is the body’s regeneration phase, so even if you work out vigorously during the day, your muscles won’t regenerate bigger and stronger if you don’t get the recommended amount of sleep at night. Or, as the gym fanatics would put it, “You ain’t gonna see those gains, bro!”
In short, getting the biggest return on the effort you put into your workout requires a proper night’s sleep, and seeing those results is an excellent way to stay motivated.
Spend more time with family - 37%
We’re all looking to make the most of our time, but we also obviously have responsibilities that need to be attended to. Whether you’re working a 9-5 job, running a small business, or a stay-at-home mom, by the time you’ve tackled everything that needs to be done in a day, there’s hardly any time to just get together as a family and enjoy each other’s company.
We can’t increase the number of hours in a day, but we can increase our productivity, freeing up time to do the things we love, and to do so, all you need to do is get to bed on time.
According to Dr. Michael Grandner, director of the Sleep and Health Research Program, “Many people believe that in order to get more done, they need to sacrifice sleep. This study shows that, quite to the contrary, poor sleep is associated with lower productivity in general, and specifically across a wide range of areas.”
So, simply put, even though you may be getting to bed earlier, that extra sleep will increase your productivity to the point where you’ll actually have more time during the day to spend doing the things you love.
Eat Healthier - 50%
Check this out. A 2013 study actually found that sleep deprivation led to significantly higher cravings for foods that were high in fat and/or sugar. You can check out the article for all of the science-y stuff, but we’ll let the study’s authors explain it in layman’s terms.
“What we have discovered is that high-level brain regions required for complex judgments and decisions become blunted by a lack of sleep, while more primal brain structures that control motivation and desire are amplified.
These results shed light on how the brain becomes impaired by sleep deprivation, leading to the selection of more unhealthy foods and, ultimately, higher rates of obesity,”
So getting enough sleep can actually make it easier for you to eat right. How great is that!?
And there you have it, people. If you want to set yourself up for some new year’s resolution success, there’s one habit you can focus on that’ll make all the others much easier to achieve. Get to bed on time, turn off those screens at least an hour before you hit the hay, leave your phone in the living room, and take the time to wind down before bed.
And if you’re not sleeping well because your little one is waking up in the night, we should talk! Solving your baby’s sleep issues is the first step to solving your own, and we’ve helped a lot of families do exactly that.