How Sleep Impacts Your Ability To Keep New Year Resolutions0

I had the great opportunity to be on NBC’s Today Show this week and we talked about New Year Sleep Resolutions, it’s a fun segment that you may enjoy watching.

It’s that time of year when most people who made resolutions are about to break them. It appears the average person can make it about 10-14 days before they end up breaking their resolutions. I’ll bet you didn’t know that lack of sleep can play a significant role. If you are on the edge of giving up on a resolution, let me see if I can help.

Did you know that lack of sleep can decrease motivation?

Lack of sleep also increases cravings, lowers memory, and makes you moodier which often means we are no fun to be around. So, in order to save your resolutions, you may want to look at a few RESTolutions for the new year.

Create A Consistent Wake Up Time. If I could pick one thing for everyone to do, it’s to wake up at the same time. Yes, a consistent bedtime will ensure the total amount of sleep is consistent (which is ideal, but not always possible), but, if you maintain the same wake-up time, even on the weekends, your internal biological rhythm will stay in sync with your body and all functions will be smoother.

Steps to take:

  • Determine your chronotype so you know what time to go to bed and wake up, based on your genetics. Once you have or if you already know your chronotype …
  • Use my bedtime calculator method (even if you can’t wake up when you want-I’m talking to you night owl wolves out there (like me)

Limit Blue Light At Night. With the amount of screen time everyone is getting these days, it’s important to remember that just like there is junk food, there is junk light. The lights that affect us all day every day, can also be affecting our sleep. Remember the “blue” frequency which is in all light (450-480nm to be exact) affects certain cells in our eyes, that turn on or off the production of Melatonin.

Steps to take:

  • Consider The Sleep Doctor Blue Light Blocking Glasses (limited time, use code sleepdr5 at checkout for a 50% discount).
  • These specially designed glasses will block the frequency of blue light that impacts melatonin production, while you still read, watch TV, or use your computer.
  • Consider replacing bedside table lamp bulbs with Good Night Light Bulbs (use code breus17 at checkout for a 10% discount) and combine with my glasses so you can read without worry.

Get Sunlight And Water In The Morning. These are two easy, inexpensive things you can do to help improve the quality of your sleep. First when you wake up drink the equivalent of a bottle (12-16oz) of water to re-hydrate. You may not know it but you lose about 1 liter of water each night between sweat and just the humidity in your breath. Sunlight turns out to be a literal eye-opener. Sunlight which has natural blue light in it will help turn off melatonin production in the morning with as little as 15 min of exposure. If it happens to be dark out when you get up, its fine to use artificial light, just turn them on! Get 15 min of light ( you do not need to stare at it, just have bright lights on while getting ready)

Steps to take:

  • Have water by your bedside each evening
  • Choose the window where you will get your light exposure, if you wake too early, decide which room will be your “wake up” spot and make sure there is plenty of bright light.
  • Consider getting a lightbox or using Good Day Light Bulbs

Limit Caffeine And Alcohol, but no need to eliminate it. Remember it takes the human body 1 hour to digest 1 adult beverage. If you have 2 glasses of wine at dinner, be sure to give yourself 2 hours before lights out (now that you know your bedtime, you can drink accordingly). As for caffeine, you really want to try and be decaf by 2:00pm. Since Caffeine has a half-life of between 6-8 hours, stopping by 2, will be most of it is out of your system, and it will not affect sleep quality.

If you can work these four things into your routine, you will certainly sleep better which may already be one of your RESTolutions, but the added benefit is that you will have a far greater likelihood of keeping your resolutions.

Wishing you Sweet Dreams!

Dr. Breus
P.S. I get a lot of questions about how sleep affects cancer risk so I wrote a post answering that question that you may find interesting.

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