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Everyone talks about working out more and eating healthier in the new year, but getting better sleep is just as important. As you write your creative New Year’s resolutions, consider adding sleep improvements to the list. Not getting enough sleep can hurt your relationships, and a study published in the Nature and Science of Sleep journal even found that sleep deprivation can have both short- and long-term health consequences such as cardiovascular disease and diabetes. If you’re ready to resolve to achieve better sleep in 2018, consider these tips from Michelle Fishberg — the co-founder and CEO of Slumbr, a sleep wellness company that helps people find the comfiest pillows based on their personal sleep styles.

woman sleeping

Why Better Sleep Matters

Better sleep is a crucial part of your overall wellness. A report from Gastroenterology & Hepatology reveals that sleep has become a public health problem, and not getting enough of it can increase your risk of heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, and obesity. In fact, if losing weight is another one of your New Year’s resolutions, getting better sleep can make it easier. A study from the Canadian Medical Association Journal found that poor sleeping habits can affect weight gain and increase obesity. This means getting more zzz’s may help you reach your weight loss goals.

Setting Realistic Sleep GOALs

One of the biggest problems with New Year’s resolutions is that enthusiasm for keeping them tends to fade quickly. You may be excited to start the new year with a new plan, but focusing on your goals gets harder after a few weeks. The key is to set realistic and manageable sleep expectations that don’t overwhelm you.

“Only in recent years have people started to recognize sleep as a critical element of overall wellness,” Fishberg shares. “We’ve been so conditioned to believe ‘you snooze, you lose,’ or ‘I’ll sleep when I’m dead.’ It’s easy to stay up just one hour later to catch that show, or finish up a work project, or jump out of bed too early to get the day going. Luckily, people are starting to know better. Putting sleep first can have clear benefits for your productivity, creativity, focus, mood, metabolism, and so much more. So resolve to do one tangible thing in 2018 dedicated to improving your sleep. That’s half the battle.”

That “one tangible thing” could be going to bed by 10pm every night or doing 10 minutes of meditation before bedtime. It may be putting up blackout curtains in the bedroom or outfitting your bed with a more comfortable mattress and pillows. Think about your biggest sleep challenges, and pick one thing you can change. Make sure it’s easy to remember and won’t feel like homework that you’ll dread every night.

Tech Tools That Can Help

If you want to make sure you don’t give up on your sleep resolution (like that gym membership you never use), then consider enlisting the help of some tech tools. Fishberg points out that many people find it difficult to put their digital devices away before they go to bed, so playing into that tendency may help. Take advantage of features like Night Shift on Apple or Night Mode on Android that emit warmer tones from your device screen in evening hours and take out the blue light that diminishes your ability to get to sleep. Also, consider using a sleep app that plays soothing and relaxing sounds at night, such as Relax Melodies.

Share your New Year’s resolutions for better sleep with us on Twitter @BritandCo.

(Photos via Getty)