Of course we know how important sleep is, but did you know it could help you stick to your new year’s resolutions? We spoke to insomnia specialist and founder of The Insomnia Clinic about the benefits of sleep and how it can help you get the year off to the best start.
Roughly 4 in 10 of us have started the New Year with a resolution. Most common include lose weight, stop smoking, eat less, save more money or just improve health in general but missing from the list is the one resolution which would make the others easier. It is enjoyable, free and best of all we can all do it!
In the past few years the average sleep time has dropped, most likely due to factors such as increased stress, longer hours and a 24 hour, well-lit society where people can work and play at any time which has played havoc with our natural sleep rhythm.
“One of the problems with insufficient sleep is that people are not very good at predicting how poorly they are doing when they are under-slept. Your subjective sense of how you are doing is a miserable predictor of how objectively you are doing,” says Dr. Matthew Walker, author of Why We Sleep. So, if you are under-slept, those New Year’s resolutions can become a tall order and quickly be forgotten.
Why should I prioritise my sleep and how can it help me stick to my new year’s resolutions?
- You will be more likely to perform better. Research has shown that when participants are kept awake for longer periods of time their performance on tests was the equivalent or worse than if they had a blood alcohol level of 0.05%. Response speeds were up to 50% slower in some tests and accuracy measures were significantly poorer that at this level of alcohol. Research also shows positive effects on areas such as wellbeing, memory recall and creativity when participants were sleeping more.
- You will be happier. Most New Year’s resolutions are based on our want to become happier in some way and sleep is an easy win when it comes to mood. When we sleep poorly we are tired, low in motivation and feel more emotional as let’s be honest, it’s hard to be full of beans and enjoy life when we feel exhausted. In fact, poor sleep has now been added to the list of risk symptoms for depression as the two are so closely linked so don’t let your sleep be the reason you are feeling low.
- It can help you to lose weight. This doesn’t mean you can continue to eat mince pies and avoid your running trainers and lose weight just by sleeping well but sleep does have an effect on hormones which control our appetite and levels of ‘fullness’. The more tired we are the more likely we are to reach for the biscuit tin and make unhealthy choices in an attempt to get energy from food. Refreshing, quality sleep will help you to stick to your weight loss goals and you may find it’s the missing factor in your health plans.
If you simply don’t prioritise sleep then hopefully this blog post will give you some food for thought about why sleep should be on your list of things to improve. However, if you do see the importance of sleep but struggle to sleep well then get in touch with Kathryn Pinkham at The Insomnia Clinic.
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