Planning a Healthy Sleep Schedule for the New Year

Every year, we get excited about starting fresh. Resolutions on eating healthier, losing weight, being more productive and quitting bad habits – these have all made it to our list of things to do. As we fill our schedules with activities and commitments, sleep takes a backseat. Subsisting on a couple hours of sleep is the new normal—we’re lucky if we could get at least five hours of shuteye.

But in all the activities that we do, sleep plays a very important role. According to the Harvard School of Public Health, sleep is one of the keys to maintaining a healthy weight. And not just any kind of sleep. Quality sleep, as defined by the National Sleep Foundation, is what we should be aiming for.

To help us stick to our resolutions, we should make sleep our goal and priority. So how do we get from surviving on just a few hours of sleep to having a healthy sleep schedule?

For information on common sleep disorders such as sleep apnea, contact the top sleep specialist in New York, Dr. Shukla for sleep disorder treatment options.

1. Define your sleep goal

Whether it’s adding another hour or committing to a full eight hours of slumber, a sleep goal will help you track your progress and reach your target.

Like with most habits, the quality of sleep depends on our desire to have it and in keeping ourselves committed to meeting that goal. Define your objective and stick with it.

2. Make the bedroom favorable to sleep

Temperature, sound, and light all contribute to the quality of sleep. Slumber doesn’t come easily to some people, so it’s important to set up the bedroom to the right conditions:

• The ideal temperature is between 60 and 67 degrees Fahrenheit. Anything warmer or colder could disrupt sleep.

• If your bedroom is not soundproof, buy some earplugs to block some of the outside noise.

• Block out lights from the outside by installing blackout curtains. Alternatively, you can use a sleeping mask.

• Leave your gadgets outside the bedroom. Laptops, cellphones and tablets emit blue light that upsets sleep.

• Keep your bedroom neat and organized. Aside from being an eyesore, clutter is a distraction that makes sleeping a lot more challenging.

3. Watch out for caffeine and other stimulants

Can’t go through the day without a cup or two of coffee? That’s okay, as long as you don’t take them late in the afternoon or evening. Better yet, drink water instead or swap your usual cup of joe for the decaffeinated kind.

Aside from coffee, you should watch out for other stimulants that can make sleep a lot difficult. Sugar contributes to wakefulness, so if you’re considering a late-night snack, opt for something less sweet.

4. Keep your sleeping schedule consistent

It may not seem like a big deal, but staying up late on a weekend could throw your sleeping schedule off course. A late night TV marathon on a Saturday often means sleeping through most of your Sunday. This makes going back to your old sleeping routine a challenge when the new workweek begins.

To enjoy consistent quality sleep, try to get to bed at the same time as you would on a weekday. This way, you wouldn’t feel too tired when Monday rolls in.

5. Monitor your progress

Keep track of your progress by checking what worked and what didn’t by using a sleep journal. You can check for improvements once or twice a month.

If you don’t like to do it manually, there are sleep-monitoring apps that can do the tracking for you. The important thing is to have some way of checking your progress.

If you still have trouble sleeping despite a healthy routine, it’s possible that there’s an underlying health condition that requires medical intervention. A sleep doctor can help you identify the causes of your sleeping problem and recommend a solution.

Sleep Specialist in New York

Sleep MD helps patients identify and manage sleep disorders. As the top sleep specialist in New York, Dr. Shukla can help you get the right treatment that you need. Contact one of the Sleep MD offices to get more information or to set up an appointment with a doctor.

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