Tired of breaking your New Year resolutions?
Like all of us, you have probably made new year resolutions in the past and struggled to stick to them. In 2010, a study at the University of Hertfordshire showed that a huge 80% of people had let their resolutions slip by the end of January and that only 12% had achieved whatever goal they had set by the end of the year.
The good news is that if you do have resolutions for 2015, a new study from the same university shows that there is an easy and effective way to maximise your chances of keeping your resolutions. The solution the researchers found? Just get a good night’s sleep!
This latest study asked over 1000 people to rate their ability to stick to their new year resolutions and also rate their sleep quality. Over 60% of those who got enough sleep were able to achieve their goals, suggesting that sleep is extremely important in helping people with self control, willpower and maintaining focus – all things that have been backed up by other research.
Why would sleep have such an impact? Well, Professor Richard Wiseman, who led the study, points out in his interview in the Daily Mail that ‘the brain requires energy to do something we don’t really want to do or find difficult to do. If you are sleep deprived, then you don’t have the mental energy needed.’ Also, if your resolution is anything to do with giving up caffeine, alcohol, or nicotine, or eating well/exercising it is obviously going to be harder to stick to when you are exhausted. We all know the feeling of lethargy and stimulant craving that follows just one night of very little sleep.
So how should you get the sleep you need to stick to your resolutions, or what if you never sleep well? Well, firstly, the research would indicate that if you do not sleep well already, then maybe dealing with your sleep patterns should be your first and only resolution, before you commit to a gym membership or eating no chocolate. Follow the tips below or browse our site for more information on how to sleep well.
And secondly,beware of resolutions that involve getting up at 5.30am for that early morning run! Professor Wiseman points out that a common mistake many people make is to set a resolution that involves getting up much earlier than they normally do. Because they are not going to bed earlier to compensate, they then get more and more tired and not long after give up on the resolution altogether.
It is important to be realistic about your body clock and schedule the things you want to achieve when you are at your best – if you are not an early bird by nature, make life easier for yourself and go for the run in the evening instead.
Tips for better sleep to make those resolutions stick
- Going to bed earlier is a better resolution than getting up earlier. Sleep before midnight is the most restorative to the body. After a while, you should naturally wake up earlier.
- The worst thing you can do is look at computers, tablets, or phones before bed. Turn them all off at least an hour before bed.
- It is great to give up all caffeine, sugar and stimulants but a manageable way of limiting them, which will help your sleep, is to ban them after 2pm.
- Experiment with herbs such as hops, valerian, or passiflora. Natural sleep aids containing there herbs help to relax the body and mind to encourage good sleep.
Have you made any New Year resolutions? What do you do to maintain your willpower?