6 Unexpected Ways to Recharge for the New Year
Try: Focusing on sleep quality over quantity
Why it works: A night full of awakenings does a bigger number on your mood than getting a short but continuous sleep, according to new research. Participants who were woken up by researchers every hour reported a more significant decrease in positive mood the following day compared with subjects who went to bed later but were allowed to sleep uninterrupted. Looking at participants brain wave readings, the researchers found that the disrupted snoozers got less slow-wave sleep, "which is essential for the type of deep sleep that helps you wake up feeling refreshed," says study author Patrick Finan, PhD, an assistant professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Johns Hopkins Medicine, in Baltimore. "It may also have an effect on our reward system, which helps regulate positive mood." You're probably not dealing with forced hourly wakeups (we hope), but any type of disruption—insomnia, sleep apnea, needing to pee, a partner who snores like a chainsaw—could have a similar effect. Talk to your doctor about ways you can address whatever's keeping you from getting your uninterrupted rest.