Happy 2023! It’s a whole new year full of sleep potential!

Most of us set new goals each year to try improving our quality of life, usually these look like get more exercise, eat healthier, save some money, spend more time with family, the list goes on!

Sadly, around 88% of us tend to not reach our New Year goals, but I have a great strategy to help you join the happy minority who set their intentions on January 1st and succeed.

Now, you probably won’t be too surprised to hear that it involves sleep! But I’m looking at four of the most common, non-sleep related resolutions and explaining how a good night’s sleep can scientifically maximize your chances to achieve each of them.

Here they are, along with the percentage of people who swear they’re going to achieve it on an average New Year’s Eve.

Lose Weight – 40%

If you’re not getting the recommended 7 hours of sleep per night, it might actually be affecting your ability to lose weight. That may seem a little counterintuitive to some people. After all, the more time we spend awake and active, the more calories we should burn. The issue here is that sleep plays a crucial role in moderating two very important hormones called ghrelin and leptin. Ghrelin sends hunger signals to your brain and leptin does the opposite, signalling fullness and suppressing hunger.

A 2004 study found that ghrelin levels were almost 15% higher in people who didn’t get enough sleep, and leptin levels were 15.5% lower, causing them to feel hungry more often. So, if you’re determined to lose weight this year, getting enough sleep can go a long way to helping you reach that goal.

Exercise more – 52%

Getting in shape is always a commendable goal. Getting your heart rate up, staying active, improving flexibility and building strength are all excellent ways to help you stay healthy and feel your best. But, again, if you’re not getting the sleep you need, getting motivated to hit the gym or go for a run can be a much bigger challenge than it needs to be. Then once you do get your bum there, you are more likely to get tired out faster and not see the results as quickly as you would if you’re regularly enjoying a good night’s sleep. Sleep is the body’s regeneration phase, so even if you work out vigorously during the day, your muscles won’t regenerate if you don’t get the recommended amount of sleep at night. In short, getting the biggest return on the effort you put into your workout requires a proper night’s sleep and seeing those results is an excellent way to stay motivated.

Spend more time with family – 37%

We’re all looking to make the most of our time, but we also obviously have responsibilities that need to be attended to. Whether you’re working a 9-5 job, running a small business, or a stay-at-home mum, by the time you’ve tackled everything that needs to be done in a day, there’s hardly any time to just get together as a family and enjoy each other’s company. We can’t increase the number of hours in a day, but we can increase our productivity, freeing up time to do the things we love, and to do so, all you need to do is get to bed on time.

According to Dr. Michael Grandner, director of the Sleep and Health Research Program, “Many people believe that to get more done, they need to sacrifice sleep.” This study shows the opposite of that and that “poor sleep is associated with lower productivity in general.” So, simply put, even though you may be getting to bed earlier so losing some “time,” that extra sleep will increase your productivity to the point where you’ll actually have more time during the day to spend doing the things you love.

Eat Healthier – 50%

A 2013 study actually found that sleep deprivation led to significantly higher cravings for foods that were high in fat and/or sugar. “What we have discovered is that high-level brain functions required for complex judgments and decisions become blunted by a lack of sleep, while more primal brain structures that control motivation and desire are amplified. These results shed light on how the brain becomes impaired by sleep deprivation, leading to the selection of more unhealthy foods and, ultimately, higher rates of obesity.” So, getting enough sleep can make it easier for you to make better food choices!

And there you have it! If you want to set yourself up for 2023 resolution success, there’s one habit you can focus on that’ll make all the others much easier to achieve. Get to bed on time, turn off those screens at least an hour before you retreat to the bedroom, leave your phone in the living room, and take the time to wind down before bed. Get that sleep hygiene improved and enjoy all the ZZZZ’s this year! And, of course, if you’re not sleeping well because your little one is waking up in the night, we should chat! Solving your baby’s sleep issues is the first step to solving your own and I’ve helped a lot of families do exactly that and would love to help you!