PhotoWe’re not quite through a month of the new year, but many consumers will have inevitably lost track of their New Year’s resolutions. While we may promise to eat healthier, exercise more, quit bad habits, and meet job goals at the beginning of the year, it takes resolve and a strong will to stick to it.

However, researchers at the University of Michigan say that there is one thing that consumers can do to make keeping resolutions easier. Their study found that getting the right amount of sleep can help people achieve their goals by improving overall performance.

Achieving goals

Dr. Cathy Goldstein explains that not getting enough sleep on a regular basis can make consumers feel like their poor performance is normal. However, getting the recommended amount of sleep can help you accomplish a variety of goals. They include:

Eating healthier. People are much more likely to eat junk food when they’re not getting enough sleep. The researchers found that those who stay up late into the night tend to snack more and weigh more, on average. Additionally, those who aren’t sleeping well tend to make poorer meal choices during the day, which can lead to weight gain.

Exercising more. Anyone could tell you that going to the gym takes willpower, but it takes even more when you feel exhausted. Lack of sleep makes decreases our speed, strength, and endurance, and the physical payoffs we gain from going to the gym are reduced if our bodies aren’t ready for the workout.

Getting a promotion. If you’re looking to impress your boss, it’s important that you get enough sleep. The researchers say that those who do tend to be more alert, motivated, and cheerful – attributes that are compromised when we’re tired. Further, the researchers say that being tired can lead to bad work habits, like taking extended breaks and wasting company time on social media or entertainment sites.

Improving your relationship: Irritability is a trademark attribute of not getting enough sleep, and it can be a huge negative if you’re working through issues with your spouse or significant other. Unfortunately, your mood isn’t likely to improve if you’re not getting enough sleep, which will further harm the healing process.

Quitting smoking: Previous studies have connected lack of sleep with increased nicotine dependence. While the reason behind the association is unknown, it’s a great hindrance to those looking to quit a smoking habit. Lack of sleep can also lead to poorer decision making, so quitting the habit for health reasons may be harder to justify.

Encouraging healthy sleep

To help consumers keep their resolutions and reach optimal health, the researchers have provided some tips for getting optimal amounts of sleep. First, they say that adults should try to get seven to eight hours every night, even on the weekends. Going to bed at the same time every night can also help put your body on a good schedule.

Second, consumers are encouraged to stop using electronic devices right before going to bed. This includes the use of phones, tablets, and computers. “You’re most sensitive to bright light in the middle of the night. Even low levels can have a negative effect,” said one researcher.

Finally, consumers should strive to keep their bedrooms as dark as possible. Installing blackout blinds or curtains can help block outside light sources, and finding replacements for electronic clocks or other devices that light up can promote a better sleeping environment.

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