Setting yourself goals is a new year’s tradition that most of us adopt. With a reported 27% of Brits experiencing poor quality sleep on a regular basis, now might be the time to focus on improving yours. The quality of your sleep should take priority over quantity. With this in mind, here are six sleep goals to set yourself this year.
Be strict with your schedule
Having a sleep schedule is one of the best ways to improve your sleep quality. Your routine should be one you can stick to. Otherwise, you’ll gradually push boundaries nightly. If you know you aren’t tired by 9 pm, there’s no point going to bed at that time. You may feel groggy with the initial bedtime changes, but soon you’ll notice the benefits of sleeping in a regular pattern.
Don’t think your schedule is limited to weekdays – your sleep cycle doesn’t understand weekends! Nobody is expecting you to be in bed by ten every weekend, but try to keep it up where possible. Sunday lie-ins might feel great on the day, but it’ll make getting up on Mondays even more painful.
Stay away from the screens
How many times have you said to yourself ‘I need to be asleep by 10 pm’ yet found yourself scrolling through social media an hour later? Light from devices, in addition to being woken up by texts or emails, can seriously reduce your sleep quality.
In a study by Deloitte, 58% of people admitted to checking their phones within the 30 minutes before they go to sleep. 50% of 18-24-year-olds said they check their phones in the middle of the night. Additionally, Sleep.org states around 72% of children aged 6-17 have at least one electronic device in their bedroom. That’s a recipe for disruption if ever we’ve heard one!
Blue light emitted by screens on mobile phones, tablets and TVs suppresses the body’s production of melatonin. This is the hormone that controls your sleep cycle and prepares you for bed. Using devices will also keep your mind active and could lead to sleep disruption if you go to bed anxious or angry. Sleep.org recommends at least 30 minutes without using any gadgets before bed. If possible, make the bedroom a gadget-free zone to eliminate any chance of disturbance.
Read more: Is Tech Ruining Your Sleep?
Do more exercise
Sitting at a desk day after day doesn’t do you any favours when it comes to sleeping. In the same way that you take your child to the park to ‘wear them out’, you have energy that needs using. Michael J. Breus, PhD from The Sleep Doctor says,
‘Physical activity increases time spent in deep sleep, the most physically restorative sleep phase. Deep sleep helps to boost immune function, support cardiac health, and control stress and anxiety.’
This doesn’t mean you have to visit the gym for 2 hours every day. Simply walking the kids to school instead of taking the car or going for a weekend bike ride will all contribute to better sleep. Be careful, though, as too much exercise can have the opposite effect.
Try this simple 10-step yoga routine as the perfect wind-down before bed.
Laying back just to rest your eyes and waking up an hour later with dribble down your face… we’ve all been there. Afterwards, you probably felt groggy and struggled to sleep later that night.
However, if done properly, naps can improve your overall sleep and leave you more alert during the day. Shift workers may experience difficulty with their sleeping patterns, so naps can bridge the sleep gaps where needed. It’s also important for new parents to catch up on sleep they’ve missed while doing night feeds.
If you feel you need to nap or want to prepare for a long evening ahead, the National Sleep Foundation recommends 20-30 minutes for short-term alertness. They say, ‘This type of nap provides significant benefit for improved alertness and performance without leaving you feeling groggy or interfering with night-time sleep.’
Try to nap during the middle part of your waking day so as not to interfere with your regular bedtime too much.
Read more: The Ultimate Guide To Daytime Napping
You may think these two words contradict each other. But by practising certain exercises, you can actually ‘trick’ your body into being relaxed. Deep breathing, journaling, humming, listening to calming sounds and progressive muscle relaxation are all brilliant mindfulness techniques you can use to physically relax your body and clear your mind before bed.
These exercises work by relieving tension and focusing your attention on the present moment, so you aren’t worrying about things that happened in the day or what will happen tomorrow. By completing one of these sequences, you’ll give your body the chance to rest fully and drift off comfortably.
Here are ten relaxation techniques you should try this year!
No matter how relaxed you are, how good your sleep schedule is or what you’ve done before bed, you can’t expect to sleep well if your bed isn’t comfortable. Getting the right pillow and mattress for you is imperative for a good quality sleep.
If you aren’t sure which bed, mattress or pillows are right for you, visit our Bed & Mattress Guide. This will help you make the right purchase, so you can get the best sleep you’ve ever had this year!
Do you have any sleep resolutions for 2018? Let us know if this helped in the comments.