We are already one week down in 2019. Isn’t it just crazy? Time just seems to keep on speeding up with every passing year! And as is the custom at the start of a new year, resolutions has to be made. But this year, please don’t just make resolutions, do resolutions. If you Google the word “resolution” you’ll see it translates to something like this: “to make a firm decision to do or not to do something”. Making a firm decision not to eat too much pizza is great! But it is only as good as your resolve. So here is my new years resolution for all of you: May all of you harden your resolve and act out on your resolutions! (Only the good ones, mind you). Let’s start 2019 right. And let’s finish it the same way.
How to start your year the right way
Okay so you’ve made a couple of decisions about how things are going to change in 2019. You’ve also decided to stick to those decisions. So far so good. But what are those decisions? To work harder, to lose or to gain weight? Is it maybe to go to the gym more often or to text your mom on a regular basis. Or did you decide to eat less junk food and drink less beer? All of these are great ways to start a new year, don’t get me wrong. But will those choices and decisions really change your life? Will they enhance the quality of your life? And most importantly, will you be able to stick to your choices?
If you think that you might fail or that your resolve might waver, think again! Because I have some of the best medicine to help you keep your mind in such a state that it can resist temptation. That medicine is known as rest! Or sleep, if you will. The best way for you to possibly start this year is to sleep. I know it is a bit late to give you this advice now. And I also know that most of you probably did not sleep at the start of this year. You were most likely watching a firework show or drinking champagne with friends and family. When you should really have been sleeping. But let’s not cry over the past. What’s done is done.
But now you have to focus on what lies ahead. Another year filled with long hours of work, of driving the kids to school, of studying, of stressing. And so the list goes on. Every one of us will have to do stuff this year that we don’t really want to. We are all going to face emotional and physical exhaustion. But we have to stick it through and somehow we have to be able to manage and process all of these things. How will we do this?
And the answer ladies and gentlemen, is sleep! We are going to get enough sleep this year, so that all of these other things that happen to us can be processed and stored away. At the start of 2019, you should resolve to sleep enough for the rest of your life. Because sleep is more important than you know…
Why should we start sleeping enough?
You’ll see that I used the phrase; “start sleeping enough”. This was not an accident. I used the word start specifically so that you can all realise that you have not been sleeping enough. Or the majority of you, at least. It is not uncommon in our day and age for people to be sleep depraved. Even children that go to sleep often do not sleep enough. And that just sets the tone for the rest of their lives. Heck, if you get taught not to sleep enough from a young age, why will you ever start sleeping enough later on in life?
Kids get too much work at school and then they are forced to stay awake longer than they should. Thus they end up not sleeping enough. It is as simple as that. Did you know that primary school children should sleep for at least nine hours each night? The recommended amount of sleep for children between six and thirteen is nine to eleven hours a night. Do you want to guess how long high school children should sleep? According to sleep experts, they must sleep for eight to ten hours. How many high school children do you know that sleeps for, let’s say nine hours a night? I don’t know even a single one!
But I digress. The question was why should we start sleeping enough? For the simple reason that our brains and our bodies function much better when we do.
Now you might say, “you are not the authority on sleep! Why should we just take your word for it and waste time sleeping more!?”
I get it. I would have probably said the same thing if I were in your shoes. But luckily, even though I am not the authority on sleep, I have read some pretty interesting articles written by folk who sure seem to know a lot about the human body. And I trust them, because they have very fancy qualifications and what-not…
For one, the World Health Organization made a statement that high levels of sleep deprivation is probably carcinogenic. That means that if you do not sleep enough, your body starts producing cancerous cells. Cells that attack you and try to kill you. I don’t know about you, but for that reason alone I’m going to try to get some more shuteye this year. It is probably a good idea if you do the same. There are a myriad studies that show how sleep deprivation can be a cause of diabetes, heart disease and dementia. I have also mentioned in previous blog posts that sleep deprivation has been the cause of some major catastrophes in human history, so I really recommend that you start spending some quality time with your bed.
Oh and I almost forgot!
I read this very cool study that shows that oxygen levels around humans that are asleep and awake stays the same. Scientists got a couple of test subjects and put each one of them in a separate room. In every room, the oxygen levels were measured 24/7 and surprisingly the amounts of oxygen that was present in the rooms were the same while the test subjects were awake or asleep. Why is this so cool? Well, because it means that the body consumes the same amount of oxygen while awake or asleep, meaning that the body uses the same amount of energy when asleep as when awake.
In other words sleep forms an integral part of our daily lives and while we are asleep, our bodies and brains obviously do something. We might not be exactly sure what, but scientists are getting there. For instance, they believe that while we are asleep our brains organise and store the information that we took in during the day. Scientists believe that sleep is very important in the development of our long term memory. But more on that some other time. Let’s get back to the beginning of good sleep hygiene!
How can I make sure that I sleep enough?
Now that is the right question to ask! Thank you for coming to your senses at last! There are a few things that you have to consider when you want to ensure that you get enough sleep. Quality sleep does not only rely on the amount of time you spend lying in bed. A lot of people lie awake in their beds at night, and you can’t qualify that as being asleep. So where does quality and quantity meet and how can you ensure that you get both? Here are a couple of tips on how you should start sleeping right:
1. Go to bed the same time every night.
This may sound silly, but if you really want to start sleeping well every night, get your body into a routine. Once you get into a good routine, you will get tired around the same time every night and then it is just a matter of getting in bed. No more lying awake and wondering when (or if) sleep will finally come. You should also try to get up around the same time every morning, with the exception of weekends of course, then you are allowed to sleep in a little bit.
2. Sleep in comfortable clothing.
Think of it like this: When you are awake, you are constantly striving for ways in which you can improve your waking experience. You want to have an easy life where things come without hassle. Instead of typing messages, we send voicenotes. When we want to know something, we ask our phones instead of writing out the question. When we dress, we want to feel stylish, yet comfortable. We want to appear like we are always at ease. Now take that mentality to bed with you. Make everything that has to do with sleep as comfortable and effortless as possible. Including your sleepwear.
It may not seem important to you, but your body really appreciates it when you don’t sleep in stuff that can entangle it. Try to wear something that is not too loose and that doesn’t cling to your body when it gets sweaty. Try to get pure cotton or linen sleepwear to get the most out of your night.
3. Get a comfortable mattress.
This is essential for a good night’s rest. You don’t want to be sleeping on a mattress that is too hard or too soft. And you definitely don’t want to sleep on one that is too short! It is the absolute worst thing in the world when you have to sleep in a cramped little ball, because your feet touches the foot-board of your bed when you try to straighten your legs. If you are not sure which mattress would be the best one for you, contact our friendly sales staff to hear what will be best for you. And by the way, I’m allowed to advertise a bit here, seeing as this is The Mattress Warehouse‘s website ;p
4. Get a comfortable pillow.
If you wake up with a crick in the neck every morning, then you should change the pillow you sleep on. You should try to get something that doesn’t tilt your head at an unnatural angle to the rest of your body. Your neck should be as straight as possible when you lie on your pillow and the pillow should support the neck muscles. So you shouldn’t have to rely on your neck muscles to keep your head up, but you also shouldn’t overextend your neck muscles by forcing your head to lie at some weird angle to the rest of your body.
5. Start taking sleep seriously.
Just like you take your work or studies or exercise seriously, you should make sleep a priority in your life. It is one of the best ways of keeping sane in a world gone mad. (That is of course if you don’t have pie). Seriously though, some sleep scientists say that animals will die of sleep deprivation before they die of hunger. And I’m sure that you won’t push yourself to that extent, but still, it says something about how important sleep is. So if you want to start 2019 the right way, start sleeping more and sleeping right.
Set yourself a target and say that you will sleep for at least seven hours every night. Once you’ve done that for a month in a row, I can promise you that you will feel the difference. Believe me, I know. I was once a full-blown insomniac and believe me when I tell you that my life is so much better now that I sleep enough!
Remember, the rest of your life starts now. Make it count and sleep enough!