The new year is well underway. In 2017 more Americans planned to make a resolution than have done so in years past. According to a Marist Poll, the number one resolution for this year was “To be a better person.” Traditionally, losing weight has held the top spot. It’s still there, tied at number two with exercising more.
One thing that didn’t make the list is to get more sleep. Interesting, considering that improving health is in the top ten. And getting enough sleep is critical when it comes to your health.
Sleep is one of those things that the body desperately needs to function properly. Unfortunately, it is also one of the things that Americans seem to think they can do without. In fact, over a third don’t get enough sleep. And according to the National Institutes of Health, sleep deficiency has been “linked to an increased risk of heart disease, kidney disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, and stroke.” If that isn’t bad enough, lack of sleep can have serious negative impacts on your brain and your emotions. Not only does your body recharge while you sleep, but your brain does too. If you aren’t getting enough sleep, then you are likely to have trouble making decisions (not to mention how good those decisions you do make will be). You’ll also have a harder time controlling your emotions.
And then comes the stress. Just as stress can make it difficult to relax and sleep, lack of sleep can cause you to be more stressed, which sets off a vicious cycle. When you sleep, your body and brain are getting the rest necessary to be able to handle the normal stress that comes with daily life.
Get some sleep so that you can be a better you. Some simple steps can help:
- Plan to get enough sleep. Set a bed time for yourself and stick to it.
- Find ways to relieve stress daily. Regular exercise is a great outlet for stress. A massage can also help relieve anxiety and stress.
- Relax before you hop into bed. Don’t exercise or eat right before turning in. Get off the tablet or phone. Have a little quiet time to give your brain and body time to wind down before you turn off the lights.