How to Make Sleep a Priority This Year

Hi there. How has 2023 started off for you?
I know it's tradition to make your new years resolutions at the very start of the year, but I often find that with the summer holidays it doesn't really feel truly like the year has started until the kids go back to school.
So, now what?

If you’re like me, sometime after the calendar flips over, you set some lofty new goals to improve your quality of life. Maybe to get more exercise, eat healthier, land a new job, save some money or spend more time with family. There’s no shortage of resolutions we can pin our hopes on to make ourselves and our families happier and healthier. 

Sadly, around 88% of people seem to fall short of their resolution goals, but I have a great strategy to help you join the happy minority who succeed.
How? Well, you probably won’t be too surprised to hear that it involves sleep. (Surprise!) But don’t get the wrong idea! I’m looking at four of the most common, non sleep-related new year’s resolutions and explaining how a good night’s sleep can scientifically maximise your chances to achieve each of

So check it out! Here they are, along with the percentage of people who swear they’re going to achieve it on an average New Year’s Eve.

Lose Weight - 40%
If you’re not getting the recommended seven hours of sleep per night, it might be affecting your ability to lose weight.
That may seem a little counterintuitive to some people. After all, the more time we spend awake and active, the more calories we burn, right?

The problem is that sleep plays a crucial role in moderating two very important hormones called ghrelin and leptin. Ghrelin sends hunger signals to your brain and leptin does the opposite, signalling fullness and suppressing hunger.

A 2004 study found that ghrelin levels were almost 15% higher in people who didn’t get enough sleep, and leptin levels were 15.5% lower, causing them to feel hungry more often.
So regardless of whether you’re specifically interested in losing weight or just wanting to feel stronger, healthier and more comfortable in your body, getting enough sleep can go a long way to helping you reach that goal. Feeling good is the most important.

Get more exercise - 52%
Getting in shape is always a commendable goal. Getting your heart rate up, staying active, improving flexibility, and building strength are all excellent ways to help you stay healthy and feel your best.

But if you’re not getting the sleep you need, getting motivated to hit the gym or go for a run can be a much bigger challenge than it needs to, and you’re likely to get tired out faster and not get the results as quickly as you would if you’re regularly enjoying a good night’s sleep.

Sleep is the body’s regeneration phase, so even if you work out vigorously during the day, your muscles won’t regenerate bigger and stronger if you don’t get the recommended amount of sleep at night. Or, as the gym fanatics would put it, “You ain’t gonna see those gains, bro!”

In short, getting the biggest return on the effort you put into your workout requires a proper night’s sleep, and seeing those results is an excellent way to stay motivated.
Eat Healthier - 50%
Check this out. A 2013 study actually found that sleep deprivation led to significantly higher cravings for foods that were high in fat and/or sugar. You can check out the article for all of the science-y stuff, but I’ll let the study’s authors explain it in layman’s terms.
“What we have discovered is that high-level brain regions required for complex judgments and decisions become blunted by a lack of sleep, while more primal brain structures that control motivation and desire are amplified. These results shed light on how the brain becomes impaired by sleep deprivation, leading to the selection of more unhealthy foods and, ultimately, higher rates of obesity,”
So getting enough sleep can actually make it easier for you to eat right. How great is that!?

And there you have it, people. If you want to set yourself up for some new year’s resolution success, there’s one habit you can focus on that’ll make all the others much easier to achieve.
Get to bed on time, turn off those screens at least an hour before you hit the hay, leave your phone in the living room, and take the time to wind down before bed. 
And if you’re not sleeping well because your little one is waking up in the night, we should talk!
Solving your baby’s sleep issues is the first step to solving your own, and I’ve helped a lot of families do exactly that.
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