We all make New Year’s resolutions – but what are they, and where do they come from? In part, a resolution is a self-made commitment to a personal goal or the reforming of a habit. They are often announced just before the New Year, and it is thought that this “resolution” will carry through and eventually become permanent. There may be an ancient origin of this tradition. It is thought the Romans began each year by making a promise to the God Janus, the two faced Deity who is looking forward and backwards at the same time (who the month of January is named after).
A 2007 study on New Year’s resolutions of 3,000 people reported that 88% of people fail at keeping their resolutions! Perhaps if you could pick just one resolution that could globally affect all your other resolutions, you could stick to it, right? Getting more and better quality sleep is the simple resolution you can make to have the greatest impact on every aspect of your life!
If you want to lose a few pounds, getting more sleep will help.Sleep deprivation contributes to weight gain, affects your ability to lose weight, and even makes you crave high fat, high carb foods.
If you want to get fit, more sleep will help. The perception of exercise is worse with sleep deprivation. And, as a bonus, people who exercise regularly sleep better.
If you want to drink less alcohol, sleep will help. You can’t drink while you are sleeping. Most alcohol is consumed in the evenings and no, alcohol is NOT a good sleep aid! It does makes you sleepy, but keeps you out of deep sleep. And you will always make better decisions when you are not sleep deprived (think beer goggles here).
If you want to get out of debt, sleep can help. Not only do you make complex decisions better when well rested, but your impulsivity slows down quite a bit – perhaps a decrease in retail therapy?
If you want to get a better job, sleep can help. Going on interviews looking like you have not slept in a while is not a badge of honor. It shows that you are not using your time wisely. Sleep well to help improve your productivity.  Use it to then ask your boss for a raise!
One of the most interesting facts about New Year’s resolutions is this: you have a far greater likelihood of attaining your goals if you SHARE THEM WITH OTHERS!! Being accountable helps all of us improve the quality of our life.  So make yourself a New Year’s Resolution, and share it with friends and family to get the support you want and need for a great New Year.
Want to Lose Weight? Sleep Better.
We all know that sleep and weight loss go hand in hand and weight loss is one of the top New Year’s resolutions. The data is tremendous -  when you are sleep deprived your body will not be able to lose weight. Why? Several reasons:
  • Your hormones are out of whack: Cortisol levels are high with sleep deprivation, and that leads to a bigger appetite.  Ghrelin (called the “Go” hormone) levels are high. This increase tells your body to eat more!  Leptin (called the “Stop” hormone) levels are low. This decrease will NOT tell your body it is full and to stop eating
  • Your Metabolism slows down. The more sleep deprived you are the lower your metabolic rate, why? Because your body thinks that since you are up there is a reason, causing it to store energy in case of a problem. The easiest way to store energy is to not use it, by slowing your metabolism.
  • You crave high fat, high carb foods. When you are sleep deprived, have you ever noticed how hungry you get? And you think if I just eat a candy bar with a little sugar I can get some energy! Well, with a lowered metabolism, all this does is turn to fat. AND you crave these foods to increase Serotonin in your brain aka “The Calming” hormone.
  • So if one of your resolutions is to loose weight, why not start another supporting New Year’s resolution tonight and continue on into 2013? It’s simple….Figure out your bedtime and stick to it! If there was just one thing I would want all of my patients to do is it to stick to a bedtime (during the week and on the weekends). This level of consistency will help their internal biological clock, and if it is the right amount of sleep, reduce their sleep deprivation. Here an easy jump start on how to do it:
We all have a socially determined wake up time from kids, school or work, but our bedtime is under our complete control. If the average sleep cycle is 90 minutes long, and we should have about 5 of them a night, then that equals 7.5 hours of sleep. So count back from your pre-determined wake up time and you now have a bedtime! For example if you wake up at 6:30 am, then you should have lights out at 11:00 pm!