In his poem, Stopping by the Woods on a Snowy Evening, Robert Frost writes,
The woods are lovely, dark and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.
In our 24/7 culture, maybe some of the most important and impactful promises we keep should be about our sleep. Despite our other promises or how many miles beg our attention and pull us into the woods of wakefulness, maybe we need to be pulled into the loveliness of a deep, dark sleep.
Here are some sleep resolutions to help you awaken to a New Year. Well, maybe you didn't start on the day after celebratory endeavors. But in the days, weeks and months ahead, try these 2016 promises to sleep, realistic ones you can keep.
1. Determine how much sleep you need to function at your best. Observe those days that you're not dragging and don't need caffeine or a nap to stay alert. Good sleep is key to feeling awake and energetic.
2. Establish a consistent wake time. Then, work back based on no. 1 to establish your best bedtime. If you have chronic sleep deficit, adjust your sleep time over a period of time (say in 15 minute increments every few days) to allow your body clock to adjust. Don't expect an overnight adjustment after prolonged sleep deprivation.
3. Prepare for bedtime like you prepare for work or workouts. Establish a consistent sleep routine that you find calming and relaxing.
4. Tune out from technology at least an hour before bedtime. Ok, if this is too daunting, start with ½ hour for two weeks and then work up to 1 hour. Use your new free time to do some gentle stretches or read quietly, but not on a tech device.
5. Don't look at the clock if you awaken during the night. Cover it or turn it around. Your brain won't be stimulated, nor will you have sleep anxiety thinking about worries or all you need to do the next day (or night for those who work a night shift). If after about 20 minutes (guestimate) you can't fall back asleep, read with a dim light until you are sleepy again.
And speaking of reading, with Arianna Huffington's new book, The Sleep Revolution: Transforming Your Life, One Night at a Time, coming out in April, start keeping your sleep promises NOW and by April you'll be well on your way to joining the sleep crusade...and awaken to life renewed and refreshed!