group of hands cheering their glasses and sparklersIt is that time of year when everyone is busy with the holidays and family and friends.  We must make sure that we are taking care of ourselves during this time, especially when it comes to maintaining our sleep schedules. Between parties, shopping and family get-togethers, we sometimes barely have time to rest.  January is a perfect time to start making some resolutions!
While all of the activities are fun, they can definitely throw you out of your routine pretty quickly.  And if you have kids, then their excitement may leave you with little energy left.  Try to keep them in a routine as well, maintaining their usual bedtimes during the school breaks.

If you go to bed and wake up at the same time each day, then you will keep your body’s sleep-wake cycle consistent. This will allow for better quality sleep. Sleeping in sounds like a good idea, but this can backfire, making us feel even more jet-lagged.  Try taking a 30-minute nap in the afternoon to recharge as opposed to sleeping in for an extra hour in the morning.Plan to stick with your regular routine and keep your body’s circadian rhythm on track.  There is an old saying, “When you fail to plan, you plan to fail.”

Practice eating dinner a little earlier and try not to drink any alcohol late at night.  Going to bed on a full stomach is our worst enemy. Being full leads to tossing and turning, which means bad quality sleep.  This is a snowball effect, as many of us know well.  If you are feeling hungry before you go to bed, try eating a piece of fruit or a handful of nuts or granola.  Even a glass of milk (or soymilk) can suffice for some.

Another great resolution is to start exercising more.  Not only does exercise reduce stress, but it will raise your body temperature and also tire you out, helping you sleep better.  The rise and fall of the body’s temperature leads to sleepiness.  Just don’t try and run 10 miles right before you go to bed.  This strenuous of an activity will keep you awake.

Remember to take time to decompress and unwind.  We are always “on the go” leaving us little time to calm down after a long day.
If we think about the way we care for our electronic devices, we should take care of ourselves in a similar way by “powering down” and prepping for a good night’s rest, rather than worrying about all of the chores we have to do.  Reading, deep-breathing exercises, or a bath are a few examples of things that may aid this process.

Now, following through is the most difficult part.  The reason why so many resolutions fail is because they simply aren’t enjoyable or sustainable. Quick fixes do not work.  We need to focus on converting our unhealthy habits into healthy habits.  And make sure that the approach you are using is something you can actually maintain and still enjoy life.

Educate yourself and surround yourself with positive people that make it easier to make good choices. People that care about you will also hold you accountable. Create an environment that you feel comfortable in.  If you want to stop eating junk food late at night, step one would be to stop buying junk food and keeping it in your house.

A great method to help with follow-through is the SMART system:
S – Specific
M – Measurable
A – Achievable
R – Relevant
T – Timeline

Specific – clearly defined, smaller attainable goals adding up to a larger goal
Measurable – make sure you have a way to track your progress
Achievable – make sure your goals are realistic; within reason
Relevant – are you passionate about this, or do you just want to set a goal
Timeline – there must be specific deadlines to achieve your goals
If you need help starting 2020 off right, contact Dr. Klein at 586-573-0438, or visit our website.

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Aghera, A., Emery, M., Bounds, R., Bush, C., Stansfield, R. B., Gillett, B., & Santen, S. A. (2017). A Randomized Trial of SMART Goal Enhanced Debriefing after Simulation to Promote Educational Actions. The western journal of emergency medicine, 19(1), 112-120.