by Amrit Bandyopadhyay, Awarables
Why are we talking about New Year’s resolutions in February? Because most of you picked something other than sleep, and how’s that going? Huh?
Mean questions aside, most people’s resolutions have something to do with improving. Sleep is literally when you improve, both your body, and your mind. Body, during deep (slow-wave) sleep. Mind, during both deep and REM sleep.
Was your New Year’s resolution the most popular choice of a diet, or losing weight?
Sleep deprivation is known to make you feel hungrier, increases appetite, reduces metabolism, and invites increased portion sizes (due to increase/decrease in ghrelin/leptin hormones), makes you crave and choose foods high in calories, carbs, and fat (increased stress hormone cortisol upregulates food reward centers, coupled with poor decision making due to a dulled out frontal lobe), and makes you store calories as fat in all the wrong places (lack of processing, and responsiveness to, insulin). In short, it means the odds in an already uphill battle are even more unfairly stacked up against you.
Was it quitting smoking or reducing alcohol intake?
Similar to the challenges with diets, sleep deprivation dulls activity in the frontal lobe, which is responsible for decision making and self-control. This combined with the brain’s reward centers being revved up searching for the “feels good” for both sleep and withdrawal, makes it increasingly hard to control cravings.
Was it spending more time with friends and family, grandkids, kids, finding someone to have kids with?
Personal relationships suffering is one of the highest reported life symptoms of insomnia, and one of people’s biggest goals to fix in the new year. Many people who go through Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Insomnia (CBTi) find themselves able to invest more time in their relationships as the therapy progresses. Also, very few people list “someone grumpy and irritable” as their first date turn-ons.
The resolutions above, and other resolutions like finding a better job, or learning a new skill, require positive projection, feeling refreshed and adventurous, and most importantly finding elusive time. Sleep deprivation increases the effort required for daily tasks, tiring everyone out, leaving little precious time, or energy, for self-improvement.
So, if your other resolutions aren’t working out, maybe they are worthy choices, but you (and they) could really benefit from either resolving to prioritize sleep, if you generally are a healthy sleeper, or finally going through sleep therapy (CBTi) to address your insomnia, if you are an insomniac. If you choose CBTi NOW, you could be sleeping considerably better by the end of March, and have 9 whole months to birth and nurture your other resolutions. The sleep resolution can be a true friend to all your other resolutions.