Setting Healthy Sleeping Habits for the New Year

Does anyone else stay up far too late on their phones? I know I’m guilty of it. Into the late hours of the night I am staring at a little screen until my eyes can’t stay open! This results in sleeping in and missing those precious daylight hours. Part of my New Year’s resolution is to fix these bad habits and instead incorporate healthier ways to go to bed and wake up each day, which is easier said than done. So, how do we do this? What things can be altered to wake up more refreshed?

Let’s start with the biggest problem: our phones. TikTok has made scrolling endlessly for hours far too easy. I fall victim to it almost every moment of my free time. I could think it’s only 10 P.M., go on TikTok, and suddenly it’s 2 A.M.! Whether it’s TikTok, Candy Crush, or whatever app grabs your attention, most of us have that terrible habit. Unfortunately, looking at any screen can strain your eyes, especially after many hours straight. It doesn’t allow for our brains to rest, since it is constantly being stimulated by content. 

Our phones are often the first thing we look at in the morning. I mean, our alarms are on there! After pressing snooze for the fifth time, we then use the opportunity to check social media sites and whatever may stimulate our brains once again. Does this really help us wake up? Or does it only procrastinate getting out of bed and starting the productivity of the day? I think we all know the answer.

So now the question is, what do we do with our phones at night, and how can we prohibit looking at them in the morning? While an obvious answer may be to just put your phone in a different room, a lot of us need our phones for alarms or in case of an emergency. Instead, you can put it on the other side of your room. That way it is nearby, yet far enough away from your bed that you will need to physically get up. Getting out of bed is always the hardest part, I know for me it is. Yet once I am up, I am up! After that morning stretch, I am ready to get on with my day. The first step is the biggest step, especially when waking up.

At night, this is more difficult. How do we avoid that temptation of scrolling? Putting the phone away at this point seems impossible. I mean, who wants to be alone with their thoughts? People will say to just lay there, to only use your bed for sleep. I agree to an extent. If you are doing something in bed, it shouldn’t involve a screen, yes, this involves the tv. There are things like reading a book, writing, or anything creatively fulfilling that will leave you drifting off to sleep feeling at peace. I can assure you that a phone will not do that for you. 

Something that will also help tire you out is exercise. Not the most appealing. No, it doesn’t mean you need to go on a late-night run or go to the gym right before bed. Some simple jumping jacks can help, as it won’t increase your body temperature too much to make your body feel energetic and awake. If you’re like me, and the thought of exercising tires you out, taking a hot bath may be the answer! Now this is more appealing. A nice bath with lavender bubbles will for sure knock someone out. Our bodies are on a natural pattern of time, also known as a “circadian rhythm”. The human body will cool down by bedtime, and exerting heating from your body may be the way to get your temperature lower. Baths are recommended to do this because it makes the surface of your body warmer, while your core cools down. It makes you feel warmer, even though you are realistically getting cooler. Many studies have shown that baths help in sleep-aid. 

An important habit to develop when trying to improve sleep is going to bed and waking up around the same time every day. This allows your body to get into a natural rhythm of when to feel tired versus when to feel awake. Again, aiding in your circadian rhythm! If you go to sleep every night really late, your body won’t feel tired until that time, and it will be a struggle to wake up in the morning with not enough rest. I know my whole day is thrown off if I do not get the needed hours of sleep, or even good quality sleep. No one wants to go to work feeling like a zombie because of their poor sleeping habits.

Practicing good sleep hygiene is something that may take practice, it may be difficult to break these habits. However, the result is what matters. Having a good night’s rest sets the tone for the rest of the day, and failure to take care of yourself can affect other parts of your life! Replacing bad habits with good habits will ensure you fall asleep soundly each night and wake up feeling truly alive and ready to tackle what’s ahead.

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