Why Sleep Should Be Your #1 New Year’s Resolution
The start of the year is always the most popular time for people to reflect back on their habits and craft some resolutions to help them reach new (or stubborn) goals. It’s a fresh and blank slate – 365 days for us to become better versions of ourselves, and the same goes for our kids. Even though this is a prime time for goal setting, there are studies showing that only a mere 25% of people actually follow through with them.
What most people don’t realize is that getting enough sleep is the key to maintaining and actually successfully completing our resolutions for the new year, and it’s even more key to our children’s development. As a year is a long time for growth when it comes to our little ones, the first goal on your and their resolution list for next year should be HEALTHY SLEEP.
Why is sleep so important as a foundation for all of our goals and resolutions?
It’s simple really. Getting the right amount of sleep, in a stable bedtime routine, promotes wellness, and improves our moods, behaviors, nutrition, and overall development.
Sleep deprivation leads us to feel more tired during the day, enhancing the desire to consume sweet and sugary treats for the immediate, but not long-lasting, energy boost. The lack of sleep has also been proven by the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition to activate a hunger hormone which increases food cravings. They found these food cravings to fall in line with energy-dense, high-carb foods which in turn leads to unhealthy lifestyles. These cravings also apply to our little ones who are already more likely to ask for sweet snacks.
Sleep helps us and our kids recharge our brains, giving us the energy we need to overcome those cravings. Every day after we receive the optimal amount of sleep helps creates the perfect environment for a lift in our health and development, both young and old.
To find out more about why sleep is so important, check out our blog Why We All, Especially Kids, Need Sleep.
Here are some fundamental ways to ensure your kids and you start getting enough (and better) sleep this year:
Maintain a regular sleep and wake schedule.
Having a bedtime routine is essential to our brain’s reset process. It helps our mind and body know it’s time for rest, thus allowing us to drift off to dreamland quicker and have a more restful sleep. If your little one struggles to fall asleep after you read a story and turn out the lights, try adding audio-bedtime stories or soothing sounds to finish off their bedtime routine. Giving their minds something to focus on other than needing to sleep helps them relax quicker, and in return allows you to head to bed at a more sensible time.
The Moshi app has a range of sleepy sounds and melodic stories designed specifically for children and busy minds.
Get moving for at least 30 minutes a day.
Exercise is a great way to burn off excess energy, and exposure to natural light and fresh air helps keep our bodies healthy. Sustaining a healthy lifestyle promotes a more restful sleep, which gives us the energy needed to get moving the next day as well. Be sure to wind down any physical activities you and your children are doing at least two hours before bedtime to allow our bodies to shift back into a restful state.
Be on the lookout for signs of insufficient sleep.
Because some children are less likely to show signs of sleepiness, they may instead struggle with attentiveness or have issues with focus during school. Other kids may become overly tired and actually end up falling asleep while at school or taking excessive naps on the weekends. It’s important to keep an eye out for these signs as a lack of sleep can also affect our moods and mental wellbeing. Regardless of age, everyone can feel a bit down sometimes and insufficient sleep can amplify those emotions.
The start of a new year is an opportunity for us to get on track and make strides towards becoming healthier and happier people. It’s important to lay a foundation of better sleep for ourselves and our children to ensure the goals we set this year are actually achieved, not put on the back burner.