As you plan and set goals for the new year, setting yourself up for a successful 2024 is more likely if you do one simple thing: prioritise better sleep.

This is because sleep affects every area of our lives, from cognitive function and productivity through to emotional well-being, physical health, decision-making, learning, memory, physical performance and stress management. Whether you’re hoping to improve your health, lose weight, simplify your lifestyle and home, or just learn to relax, it all starts with one thing: sleep!

“We’re encouraging people to embrace the power of sleep in their lives in 2024 to enjoy all the benefits that a good night’s rest offers,” says Dale Harley, Sales & Marketing Executive at Restonic. “Most of us can improve our sleep hygiene without a huge amount of effort, and doing so will pay dividends in our daily lives, so if you make one new year’s resolution, let it be to work towards better sleep.”

Why sleep is so important

Dr Alison Bentley, Restonic sleep expert, says that research shows sleep increases our immunity to infection and lessens the likelihood of conditions like heart diseases, diabetes, depression and dementia, among others.

Adequate sleep is also essential for optimal cognitive function, including memory, attention, and problem-solving skills. It has a profound effect on emotional regulation and resilience. As most people will know from personal experience, a lack of sleep can contribute to increased stress, irritability, and a diminished ability to cope with challenges. In the long run, continued lack of sleep puts you at risk of hindering personal and professional relationships.

Sleep deprivation can impair judgment and decision-making skills, potentially leading to poor choices. Your body also needs enough sleep to be able to learn or acquire new skills. This is because the brain consolidates memories and processes information acquired throughout the day while you sleep.

Sleep is also linked to enhanced creativity and problem-solving abilities, and to stress management. Chronic sleep deprivation can elevate stress hormones, making it harder to handle the pressures associated with personal and professional responsibilities.

According to Dr Craig Uria, chiropractor and elite sportsman, sleep not only helps athletes to perform at their best, but to recover afterwards. “This is likely because sleep is an optimal condition for cell growth and repair, especially during the slow wave sleep phase (also called deep sleep),” he says. “In addition, during sleep, the body produces growth hormone and testosterone, which are essential for muscle repair and growth.”

Whether you’re pursuing personal fitness goals or excelling in a physically demanding profession, sufficient sleep is therefore essential for peak performance.

How to harness the power of sleep in 2024

Dr Bentley says that there are concrete steps anyone can take to build towards better sleep. This is known as “sleep hygiene”. Just as you make brushing your teeth part of your daily hygiene routine, practicing good sleep habits should be part of your daily routine too.

Dr Bentley recommends letting natural light into your bedroom as soon as you wake up as a starting point. “Research shows that early exposure to bright sunlight stops the sleep processes creating a long day so that you feel sleepy at the right time at night In addition, exposure to natural sunlight during the day helps regulate your body’s internal clock, which promotes better rest the following night,” she says.

Other simple steps you can take to improve your sleep include:

  • Make sure you go to bed when you are sleepy.  If not, make sure you have a good pre-bedtime routine and don’t switch off the light until you are sleepy. Going to bed too early does not improve sleep and not everyone goes to sleep at the same time.
  • Developing a calming pre-bedtime routine, whether it’s reading a book, drawing a bath, having tea, saying prayers, or just taking several deep breaths.
  • Embracing power naps. A 20–30-minute power nap goes a long way but not everyone can do it. However, longer naps can interfere with your sleep at night.
  • Get your bedroom sleep-ready. A cool, dark, and quiet environment promotes better sleep. Investing in good quality mattresses and pillows that support your body will also help you sleep better and wake up feeling better rested.
  • Minimise blue light from screens before bed. Try to avoid screen-time from an hour before you go to bed, and make use of the blue-light filtering functions many devices now offer (blue light affects your circadian rhythms, which govern your sleep and wake cycles).
  • Develop other healthy habits, such as improving your diet, exercising and getting enough hydration during the day. Taking better care of yourself will help you to get better sleep.

By admin

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