Reviewing published lists of the most popular New Year’s Resolutions, there are a few perennial favorites. Losing weight, becoming more fit, focusing on job performance, and improving relationships are “regulars” on the top ten lists, year after year.
Notably absent is one thing that can actually help people achieving all of these goals: getting better sleep. Resolving to get better sleep may be the single most meaningful promise we can make to ourselves, because meeting our bodies’ need for sleep can empower us to accomplish so many other important goals.
So many studies have shown that optimizing sleep can help facilitate weight loss that weight loss is no longer considered to result from “diet and exercise”, but rather from “diet, exercise and sleep”.
Similarly, athletic performance (and generalized fitness) is so closely linked to healthy sleep that most professional sports teams have dedicated sleep professionals, who help manage players’ sleep schedules in an effort to gain a competitive edge.
On the job, outcomes ranging from problem solving and critical thinking skills to the likelihood of getting a promotion have been tied to optimizing sleep.
The impact of sleep deprivation on relationships has also been extensively studied, with the unanimous conclusion that well rested couples are significantly more likely to be happy than sleep deprived couples. Indeed, many couples therapists suggest that the old adage to “never go to bed angry” ought to be replaced with: “never argue when you are tired”. The theory being that it is better to get a good night’s rest, and deal with a problem in the morning, when you are both well rested, than to try to hash things out tired and irritable.
For all these reasons and more, I implore you to consider making this year the year that you resolve to get better sleep. I wish you and yours a Happy, Healthy, and Well Rested New Year!