We all make resolutions for the New Year. And some of them are large and ambitious and some are small and practical. These are five easy changes that will help you to improve your sleep and wake up with more energy every day.

1. Turn off the television: Too many people are watching television in bed or falling asleep with it on. They think it helps them to fall asleep, but it does not. It disrupts your sleep. Not just the noise but the light. This flashing light keeps you from going into the deeper slow wave sleep that your body needs to recover and heal itself. There have also been recent research that shows a relationship between poor initial sleep and depression. That is why there should not be a television in the bedroom.
2. Turn off the lights: Don’t just turn off the lights but invest in a good pair of curtains that keeps the light from entering the room. Your body needs to dark to work properly. It was designed to enter a cycle called your circadian rhythm that allows you to function optimally during the day and to sleep at night. If you do not expose your body to the dark how will it know when it is supposed to be asleep? New research is also associating the relationship between not sleeping in the dark and depression.
3. Get rid of the clutter: Clutter in the room clutters the mind. It is very hard to relax and get comfortable in a room that is full of things. The New Year is a great time to purge some of the stuff that has been hanging around your bedroom. Use the rule that if you have not used it in 6 months you probably won’t use it in the next 6 months. A bedroom should be a peaceful place to relax and go to sleep. It should not be a place where you enter it and think I have a 100 things to do in the next 10 minutes.
4. Invest in a New Pillow: There are many new pillows out there. Pillows usually last 6 to 8 months. Many people keep them much longer. If you think about it, you use this every day. Eventually the pressure from sleeping on it will wear it out. The cost of a good pillow based on your sleep position usually costs $40-$80. This is a small investment for a better night sleep. Make sure you find one you like. Try it out. Make sure you like it. If you need to invest in a cover for it. In some areas bed bugs are an issue. A hypoallergenic cover will help reduce the risk of this issue.
5. Create a night time routine: This one is free and easy to do and will make a world of difference to you and to your children. It should not be a long routine, but it should be something that you could recreate if you are on vacation. It should involve decreasing light exposure. A sample routine we use is 10 minutes of reading, followed by brushing teeth, washing face and brushing our hair. We then go into the bedroom turn off all electronics, and talking quietly about our day. Then we are off to sleep. While you are creating the routine you might find you do not go to sleep right away. If this happens wait 20 minutes, get up our of bed, do something quietly like read for 10-15 minutes then trying to go to sleep again. Staying in bed and staring at the ceiling will only create stress. Do not turn on the television or computer because they can be too stimulating and the light will give your brain the wrong signals. If you keep this up every day at approximately the same time you will find falling asleep will become much easier.
A good night sleep is so important for good health. It contributes to weight loss, pain management, and blood pressure management to just name three things. The small investment in changing behavior can lead to big results for you and your family.

Author's Bio: 

Amy Korn-Reavis, BA, RRT, RPSGT manages an accredited sleep lab in Apopka, Florida. She also runs A.W.A.K.E. Orlando, a support group for people with sleep disorders, their family members and people who want to learn more about how to get a good night sleep. Her goal is to help everyone get a good night sleep. If you have any questions you would like answered you can write her at bettersleepcoach@gmail.com