Go Hard, Rest Hard
If you like to exercise, you may already know that an intense workout must be balanced by an equally intense rest period. Indeed, Olympic athletes often sleep 10-14 hours per night when they’re competing. It makes sense that physical exertion requires extra rest, since muscles repair and recharge during sleep. What is less intuitive is the effect that sleep, or lack thereof, can have on your thinking ability and willpower.
Sleep Keeps You Smart
Here’s a disturbing thought: a night without sleep can affect you in the same way as having a couple of drinks. As little as missing a few hours can play havoc with your hormones, leave you feeling irritable, hungry, and foggy-headed the next day. Your brain is a complicated organ that needs sleep in order to recharge itself and keep your memory in tip-top shape. What does this mean, practically? Even if you don’t think you “feel” the lack of sleep, your problem-solving ability is hampered after a wakeful night, and–most important to resolution-keepers–the part of your brain that regulates your willpower is less effective. Want to keep up that workout schedule or stay on your diet? Get to bed!
How To Sleep Like A Champ
Once you’ve got a great-feeling mattress (experts recommend replacing a mattress every 10 years or whenever it starts to feel uncomfortable), what are some other steps you can take to make sure you’re getting enough rest?
Keep your bedroom dark and cool, but expose yourself to daylight first thing in the morning.
Go to bed and wake up at the same time every day–don’t hit snooze!
Avoid eating or working out within 1-2 hours of bedtime, and avoid alcohol before bed. It might make you feel sleepy at first, but after a few hours it makes you more wakeful.
Try to get 8-9 hours of sleep per night.
Lack of sleep makes everything more difficult. Keeping our resolutions is already hard for most people, so why sabotage ourselves? Make your first resolution this year to get enough rest, and then the rest of your goals will follow!
How Sleep Makes You Smarter – www.dailygood.com
How To Sleep Like An Olympian – www.webmd.com