With the dawning of a new year comes the chance to refresh your sleep habits
Whether you want to get fitter, healthier, more productive or achieve that next promotion in 2019, January is the time to put the plans in place that will help you achieve those goals. But don’t overlook how important a good sleep routine can be in getting you on the right track.
Sleep feeds into many of the most popular New Year’s Resolutions, improving both your physical and mental health and boosting your productivity. We’re going to take a closer look at why sleep is so vital when it comes to looking after yourself in 2019.
Sleep and productivity
According to data from Sleep.org, sleep deprivation costs US companies $63.2 billion a year in lost productivity, while having higher quality sleep can boost your likelihood of having a long career that you enjoy. Even if you’re moderately sleep deprived, you’ll be around 50% slower in your response times and be more likely to make mistakes.
Being well rested means you’ll recover from distractions faster, you’ll make more accurate decisions, retain information better and will be less likely to burnout. In fact, sleeping less than six hours a night is one of the best predictors of on-the-job burnout.
Sleep and weight control
Many of us take the new year as a chance to really commit to health and fitness, but equally many of us don’t bring good sleep into this equation. Not only do we burn calories when we sleep, but sleep deprivation can reduce our motivation to exercise and make us more likely to give into unhealthy cravings. What’s more, research published in the Annals of Internal Medicine found that participants who attempted to eat healthily while sleep deprived saw a 55% reduction in fat loss compared to other participants who were well-rested.
Like all of our body’s feelings and processes, hormones have a role to play in hunger. Leptin is a hormone produced in your fat cells. The less leptin you produce, the hungrier you feel. Research from the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism found that sleeping less than six hours supresses your leptin production. This means that you’ll feel hungrier when you’re sleep deprived. When paired with the lack of motivation that sleep deprivation causes, this can make sticking to a healthy eating plan significantly more difficult.
Sleep and mental health
Poor sleep is linked to a range of physical health concerns such as a weakened immune system, but it can also have a severe impact on our mental health. When we sleep, our brains process the information it has gathered throughout the day. Without this time, we open ourselves up to an increased likelihood of common mental health conditions such as anxiety and depression.
Insomnia is a mental health concern which causes us to have difficulty sleeping, and is often rooted in stress and depression. Feeling high levels of stress can make it difficult to fall asleep, which can consequently increase your feelings of stress, creating a vicious cycle.
Taking steps to improve your sleep health is key to sticking to your New Year’s resolution, whatever your resolution may be. Sleep is the foundation for a healthy lifestyle – and so any aspirations to improve diet, exercise or productivity should be built on a good night’s sleep.