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How to Start Fresh With Your Sleep in 2021

By Seth Davis

When I look back at 2020, I … well, who am I kidding? I’m not especially eager to look back at 2020. 

Depending on who you ask, 2020 could be described as a lost year, a disaster, chaotic, or even a sh*t show. Parts of it have indeed seemed like a bad dream from which we’re hoping to wake up soon.

I won’t spend your time recapping the variety of depressing, frustrating, or downright frightening events that defined 2020. For that, you can watch a video accurately titled This Year is a Dumpster Fire (see below). Suffice it to say, a lot of people lost a lot of sleep over those events.

Throughout all of the uncertainty, fear, canceled plans, mood swings, and annoyances, I hope you also had moments of joy both big and small. I hope you created great memories, nurtured relationships despite increased social distance, and focused on caring for yourself despite the obstacles. Perhaps most of all, I hope your morale remains resilient enough that you can enter 2021 with optimism and determination to move onward and upward.

My personal motto now is Fresh Start 2021. I saw enough good in my life and in other people’s lives over the past year to believe that we can adapt and thrive even in extreme circumstances. It takes a flexible mind, an irrepressible spirit, and the ability to see the glass as half-full.

So, now that 2020 — a year that will go down in infamy — is almost in the books, where do we go from here? I’ll address this question from an adult sleep coach’s perspective, which hopefully will help you in 2021 and beyond as you move toward your own fresh start.

Remember the glory days of 2019

I worked with many clients in 2020 who said something along the lines of, “I was a great sleeper before the pandemic.” 

If this sounds like you, I want you to remember what it felt like to be that good sleeper not too long ago. Know that you’re not broken, and your sleep issues aren’t permanent. 

It may take a bit of work to identify the changes in your habits, routines, and mindset that the past year introduced to your life. It might take some discipline to unravel those changes by adjusting your thoughts and behaviors that are hindering your sleep. 

But the thing to remember is that you have the ability to improve your sleep, and it’s something you can start working on now rather than giving your sleep issues more time to take root. 

Even if you began having trouble sleeping years ago, the timing to start working toward better sleep will never be better than now.

Resolve to stress less in 2021

It’s okay to acknowledge that the past year was rough. I’m sure nearly everyone experienced some level of anxiety or stress while living day-to-day with the constantly changing circumstances.

But when you hold onto the anxiety or stress too tightly, and you give it a cozy space to reside in your brain, it can start to steal from your sleep. This may start with a few nights of poor sleep, and before you know it, it’s been nine months of tossing and turning.

As we leave 2020 in the dust, I recommend that you commit to evicting that stress and anxiety from your brain. Your health and your sleep will be much better off once you’re free of those unwelcome guests that are taking from you without giving anything positive in return.

Woman stretching at her desk during work
Giving yourself permission to relax during your days will help to lower your stress and anxiety.

Make it a non-negotiable item on your to-do list to make time for relaxation and stress relief. You can:

  • Take a walk for lunch
  • Pause your daily activities for even five minutes to breathe deeply and relax
  • Truly unwind before bedtime
  • Give yourself enough time to get a healthy amount of sleep
  • Schedule a visit with a therapist if you’re struggling

Once you make this commitment to a more stress-free life and you start taking action, you may wonder why you didn’t begin much sooner. But that’s okay — no regrets — now is the perfect time to begin!

Treat yourself well in 2021 — You deserve it!

Are there aspects of your life that you let slip during 2020? Things you used to enjoy doing that have gone by the wayside? Maybe:

  • Your weekly exercise has been reduced to a few times a month
  • You’ve been baking up a storm (yes, pandemic baking is a thing) and your diet is a dumpster fire
  • You have lost touch with the friends and family who previously formed your support system
  • You find yourself binging on movies, TV and social media much more than before
  • You don’t get outside as much, so you’re feeling more like a cave-dweller than the sunlight-loving person you were in 2019

If some of those things sound familiar to you, you’re not alone. Most of us have probably experienced changes in our habits and routines that crept in quickly and stealthily. Unfortunately, those changes and others can directly impact our sleep, our mood, and our quality of life. 

So for 2021, let’s focus on restoring our good habits and routines back to some semblance of where they were in 2019. Or even elevating our self-care to new heights. It might take flexibility and creativity while COVID-19 continues to rain on life’s parade, but there’s always something else you can do to improve your health and well-being. 

To get you thinking about how to start the new year off right, here’s my question to you: What fills your bucket that you wish you were doing? Maybe it’s waking up earlier to get your morning workout, or going to sleep earlier instead of doom-scrolling through late-night TikTok videos, or having more structured days.

Think of the excuses you might be making for why you can’t do those things because of current circumstances. Now try your best to poke holes in those excuses, and find smart ways to adjust your daily routines even if it’s not exactly like it was in 2019. I know you can do it.

Enough talking, let’s take action

I hope your motivation has peaked after reading the above pep talk. This next year has the potential to be amazing for you, and what you do now will help your year to fulfill its potential.

This next year has the potential to be amazing for you, and what you do now will help your year to fulfill its potential.

If your New Year’s resolutions for 2021 include sleeping better and feeling more well-rested, you can work with sleep coach for adults (or a pediatric sleep consultant if your child needs sleep help). We’ll help you dig out of whatever hole you found yourself in during 2020, and guide you down a better path for 2021. 

All you have to do is schedule a free Fresh Start 2021 call with a Sleepably sleep coach, and we’ll get started on helping you achieve a brighter, more well-rested year!

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