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Article: Our New Year Resolution - Embracing Better Sleep

Our New Year Resolution - Embracing Better Sleep

Our New Year Resolution - Embracing Better Sleep

As we embark on the new year, many of us are probably still thinking through and setting goals and resolutions for the year. For many, including ourselves, “exercising more” and “eating healthy” are probably the more common resolutions that feature in each year’s list, but this year we have included “embracing better sleep” as one of 2019’s goals. Remember how we used to sleep so well as kids? That's what we aim to work towards to!

In a sleep-deprived nation like ours, good sleep and its effects are often underrated. However, it is a well known fact that good sleep is important to our physical and mental wellbeing, and is key to maintaining a healthy lifestyle. There are tons of literature on how one can achieve a good night’s sleep but as with how everyone’s new year resolutions are different depending on circumstances, we too have given some thought to what practical steps can be taken and habits cultivated to help ourselves sleep better. Here is our list:

1. Avoid caffeine before bedtime

Caffeine is a stimulant and keeps the mind alert. This may make it more difficult for us to fall asleep at bedtime. Research has shown that it takes about 6 hours for one’s body to process half a cup of coffee. This means that we should start to avoid coffee 6 hours before our scheduled bedtime. This is certainly going to be tough for one half of us at Annette, who is an avid coffee lover but we shall try our best to keep to the no-coffee-after-4pm rule.

2. Give ourselves at least 30 minutes to wind down
Our mind and body need time to wind down. Dim the lights, play some soothing music, light a scented candle and start to relax the body and mind at least 30 minutes before scheduled bedtime. Remember how we always instantly feel relaxed when we step into a spa? There’s no reason why we cannot create that conducive environment for ourselves every night. A relaxed body and mind will bring about better sleep.
3. Keep a journal or notebook by the bed
Anxiety is most certainly a sleep thief which can keep us awake throughout the night. Everyone has different ways of coping with stress and anxiety but one practical step we can take is to keep a journal or notebook by the side of our bed, to serve as an outlet for the stressful thoughts that creep up on us at bedtime or to jot down any to-dos for the next day. Hopefully this practice will help us reduce some of that mental load before we hit the pillows.
4. Keep to consistent bedtimes
Optimally, we all need about 7-9 hours of sleep a day. Depending on the time we need to be awake, we should work backwards and set a time by which we should be in bed. More importantly, we should try our best to keep to the same schedule so that our body is attuned to the sleeping patterns, making it easier to fall asleep at the scheduled bedtime.
5. Keep screen time before bedtime to a minimum
This is probably going to be the toughest to achieve, since most of us are so used to catching up on our social media feeds, following up on our what’s app conversations and/or watching the latest series on Netflix before bedtime. That said, we should try to at least keep the last 30 minutes before bedtime clear of our mobile phones and laptops. Aside from the proven negative effects of blue light from the screens and how such blue light can affect sleep quality, these activities could also overly stimulate the mind, making it more difficult for us to fall asleep. 


We hope that we have in our own little ways inspired you to also work towards embracing better sleep this year. If you have any other tried and tested methods to help you sleep better, do share them with us. We will be doing a poll on IG stories soon!