PSA: Getting More Sleep Can Help You
Achieve All Your New Year’s Resolutions
New year, new snooze.
You can put all your other resolutions to bed.
As the new year approaches, we imagine you’re resolving to workout more, take better care of your health, eat better, and maybe even fall in love! What if we told you that making sleep your primary resolution can help you accomplish all of those other goals more easily?
The benefits of sleep go beyond the bedroom. Everything you do in your day-to-day is either depleted or optimized by sleep, which makes sleep the ultimate common denominator to your success. More and more research tells us that good sleep isn’t to be ignored; it’s the main attraction when it comes to long-term health.
Here’s how sleep (or lack thereof) can affect all of the things you’ll likely resolve to do better in 2020:
Sleep + Diet
The dietary decisions you make during the day are very much related to the amount of sleep you get at night. When you don’t sleep enough, your body loses its ability to manage its appetite, which means your metabolism slows down, storing fat. You’re likely to crave more sugar and carbohydrates just to give yourself energy, which makes for a nasty cycle. You need a well-rested brain to refuse those cravings.
Sleep + Exercise
Working out while tired does not feel good. That’s likely because sleep deprivation is known to increase production of stress hormones like cortisol, and decrease production of glycogen, which helps you utilize carbs.
Daily exercise — whether moderate or vigorous — can keep your circadian rhythms flowing smoothly. In fact, people who exercise regularly have been shown to report an easier time falling asleep than those who don’t. The daily release of endorphins during the day helps to temper pent-up stress and anxiety, which means an easier time sleeping. And an easier time sleeping means more rest and recovery for your body, which leads to fewer injuries and more effective workouts. Beautiful, huh?
Sleep + Skin
Did you grow up with your mother telling you to get some “beauty sleep?” It turns out your skin, which is also the largest organ in the body, is a mirror for unrest. Poor sleep can lead to poor hormonal balance and an increase in cortisol release (again, your body’s stress hormone), which can lead to blemishes.
The good news is your skin can bounce back pretty quickly with a few consecutive nights of good sleep.
Sleep + Love
If you’re single, it’s important to store up some zzzs before falling in love — because love has been shown to naturally decrease sleep. Romantic feelings are fueled by increased levels of dopamine, which brings bouts of nighttime energy. Ultimately, the sleep narrative rounds out though: Some studies have found that married couples report better sleep than unmarried people.
Do with the above as you will. But whether you’re happily single, cuffed, or looking to catch feelings — don’t forget to keep catching those zzzs.
How to Get Better Sleep
Here are a few tips you can tackle each day to amp up your 2020 sleep game:
Try to stop eating one hour before bed. Your engine needs some time to cool down. Ask around — people swear by this one.
Do some yoga. The slow breathing taught in yoga can help provide dual benefits: increased resilience in exercise and better sleep.
Prioritize warm lighting in your bedroom to help you wind down for the evening. Creating a space with warm lighting can scientifically lower your body temperature and cortisol levels to help signal a calm and soothing space. Glow Lights can help gradually turn down the mood as your ramp up for better sleep.
Avoid blue light at least two to three hours before bed. Any blue light (including TV, computer, tablet, phone) before bed can disrupt your circadian rhythms and melatonin disruption. Try not to get caught binging either.
Wash your pillows and pillowcases more often. Sit back, relax, and trust that your face is coming in for a clean landing. Choose pillows that are machine washable, and your skin will thank you.
Wait fifteen minutes after your nighttime skin regimen before lying down. It’s important to give your face some time to absorb moisturizers before rubbing them off on your pillows. Consider using the time to meditate or start listening to a bedtime story.