This time of year everyone is busy trying to keep their New Year’s resolutions to lose those extra 10 pounds and go to the gym, thinking that the perfect body will make them happy.
Guess what? Even if you succeed, it probably won’t make you happy. Previously, I wrote a blog on this subject. As I pointed out in the article, one study found that those who slimmed down were actually 80 percent more likely to be depressed.
Of course, weight isn’t, nor should be, the source of happiness. Your spirituality, finding purpose in life, your relationships, and your health are much more important than achieving the perfect body. And guess what else can make you happy?
Confession time. Those close to me know that I have some issues with insomnia. But although I’m still not immune to 3:00 a.m. Facebook or Candy Crush sessions, I’m doing better.
Following all the experts’ advice, I’m exercising more, avoiding large meals and alcohol before bedtime, turning off electronic devises at least 30 minutes before going to sleep, avoiding long naps, and sticking to a regular sleep schedule.
Whatever it takes, I’m trying it, because I know the importance of a good night’s sleep.
Psychologists and psychiatrists have been telling us for years that one of the significant and overlooked health problems in the U.S. is that so many Americans are chronically sleep deprived. Very few of us get the recommended eight hours a night that we so desperately need.
A lack of sleep has a profound effect on our health. Sleep deprivation raises the risk for heart disease, diabetes, and cancer, increases stress hormones, impairs memory and concentration, and is a large contributor to car accidents. Plus, according to recent studies, a lack of sleep can make you fat.
On top of all that, sleep affects our happiness.
Most of us are aware of these facts and crave a good night’s sleep. So why aren’t we getting enough shut eye?
You name it. Menopause, medications, and old age can all contribute to insomnia. Stress and worry can keep us tossing and turning.
Maybe we’re that workaholic who can’t resist getting off just one more email. Or our favorite TV program is on or we want to read just one more chapter of that book we can’t put down. Electronic devices in the bedroom late at night disrupt our sleep. Or perhaps we drink too much caffeine or alcohol before going to bed.
Time to make some changes, people. If you’re having problems getting to sleep, check out this very thorough article on the subject, The Step by Step Guide to Falling Asleep (That Actually Works).
So let’s try and do better. One study from the University of Michigan showed that getting one extra hour of sleep each night would do more for our daily happiness than getting a $60,000 raise annually. Getting an extra 60-90 minutes of sleep each night can not only make us happier but will also strengthen our immune system and improve our memory.
This works the other way around too, by the way. According to a study from Cornell University, having a positive outlook on life is associated with improved sleep quality. In other words, if we get happy, it will help us achieve that quality good night’s sleep we need.
So, you get the gist. Sleep more and be happy. Be happy and sleep more.
Sounds good to me.
Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici at FreeDigitalPhotos.net