Every year I make a new resolution—to exercise more, lose weight, save more money, spend more time with family, or keep my house cleaner—and every year I find myself struggling to meet my goals. I’m not alone. Statistics show that by mid January half of Americans have already given up their resolutions. Clearly there are many reasons for this but I think the main reason is that we set unrealistic goals. I know I’m a messy person. It’s just in my nature. When I make my resolutions, I don’t aim for achievable goals like putting away my laundry right after I wash it. I aim for lofty goals, like organizing every closet, dusting weekly, and never letting an item of clothing sit unfolded. I have a busy life and I just can’t possibly keep this up without a complete personality overhaul. Short of mood-altering drugs, this isn’t going to happen. This year, I’m setting a simple, achievable goal for myself: take steps to get better sleep.
Changing my sleep environment is my first step. For Christmas, I’m buying myself a new mattress. I’ve been sleeping on the same memory foam mattress for the past eight years. It wasn’t a luxury mattress to begin with and around year two it started warping and sagging, failing under my husband’s considerable girth. I’ve been putting off making the purchase because I don’t want to spend the money, but the more I learn about the cost of a poor night’s sleep, the more I realize money is the least of my worries. My health is the most important thing. And hey, if I sleep better, maybe I’ll have more energy for cleaning!
I’m banishing electronics from my bedroom. I know it’s a bad idea to look at my phone or iPad before bed, but I just can’t help myself. In 2013, I’m leaving my electronics in the living room at night. There is no reason why I need to check my email five minutes before bed. In addition to the damaging effects of blue light on my sleep cycle, reading a stressful email before closing my eyes is like prodding my brain with a hot poker. I’m not falling asleep easily after that.
My husband and I have agreed to try to sleep in separate beds. It’s hard to part with him at bedtime, but I’ve been suffering through his snoring and insomnia for too many years. I love the man dearly, and that’s why I’m doing it. The better we both sleep the longer we’ll both live. Those are years we can spend together, awake! Why waste them lying sleepless next to each other every night?