At A Glance:
  • Though 90% of us have tried adopting better habits to improve sleep, 48% have had limited success implementing them.
  • 56% of us have never or rarely made New Year’s resolutions to improve sleep.
  • The one habit that respondents think would most improve sleep is creating and following a relaxing bedtime routine (14%), limiting screen and phone time before bed (13%), and getting enough exercise (12%).
  • 34% say limiting screen time would be the most challenging resolution to keep. By comparison, 28% say sticking to the same sleep and wake times, getting enough exercise, and limiting caffeine would be difficult resolutions to keep.
  • With better sleep habits in 2024, 54% of us hope to have improved overall health, 48% want more energy during the day and better sleep quality at night, and 45% hope to feel more rested when waking.

Uttara Natarajan knows what she needs to get better sleep in 2024. She’s so sure, in fact, that she started on her New Year’s sleep resolutions in November as the 2023 holiday season kicked into gear.

She started exercising after work, putting away her phone before bed, and cutting out wine in the evening. The differences were noticeable almost immediately.

“The last several years my sleep quality hasn’t been great,” says Natarajan, 50, a social worker at an elementary school in Los Angeles. “I made some of these changes, and it’s starting to be good again.”

The new year is a time when many of us make resolutions – and then soon break them. According to a November 2023 survey of 1000 U.S. adults, most people (63%) have tried making New Year’s resolutions, but 60% of those admit they keep them at most for several weeks. As for resolutions related to getting better sleep? Over half say they never or rarely make them. And while most have tried adopting various habits to improve their sleep, 44% have had little to no success sticking to them.  

Experts say good sleep and good sleep habits are crucial components of good health. Survey respondents agree. Some 54% say they hope that better sleep habits will lead to improved health next year. Another 48% hope for more energy during the day and better-quality sleep at night, and 45% wish to feel more rested when waking.

So, what are the most consequential resolutions we can make in 2024 for optimizing our sleep? And which ones will we most likely be successful in sticking to? Here’s what the data tells us and what the experts say.

10 New Year’s Resolution Ideas for Better Sleep

#1 Keep consistent wake and bedtimes

If you’re going to make one resolution this year, “it’s setting a consistent bedtime and wake time,” says Dr. Abhinav Singh, medical director of the Indiana Sleep Center in Greenwood, Indiana, and a medical-review expert.

When survey respondents were asked how they’ve tried to improve their sleep, their top answer was to stick to a regular bedtime (42%) – though more than a quarter (28%) say it would be a challenging sleep resolution to keep.

Having a consistent sleep schedule reinforces a circadian rhythm, explains Dr. Angela Holliday-Bell, a Chicago-based certified sleep specialist, sleep coach, and physician. It’s the best way to ensure that “you naturally fall asleep and have peak alertness at your desired time in the morning,” she says.

That goes for the weekend, too, Dr. Singh says. Staying up late on Saturday and sleeping later on Sunday can knock you off your rhythm on Monday. “Don’t sway [in your bedtime] more than 30 or 40 minutes,” he says.

What Resolutions Are the Team Making for 2024?
  • “Set a specific bedtime each night of the week and stick to it.”
  • “Go to bed earlier!”
  • “No caffeine after 2pm. No cell phone use within an hour of bedtime.”
  • “Sleep on my back instead of on my stomach, side and every which way.”
  • “Get more sunshine.”
  • “Try to go to bed within a 45 minute window every night and no phone in the room.”
  • “Help my 3-year-old sleep through the night.”
  • “I will stop looking at screens one hour before going to bed.”
  • “Getting my daughter out of my bed!”
  • “Not eating or drinking before going to bed!”

#2 Create and follow a bedtime routine each night

When asked what sleep resolution they think would significantly improve their rest in 2024, people’s top answer was to create and follow a regular bedtime routine (14%).

Natarajan’s new routine starts after work when she heads to the gym. Then it’s dinner, a shower, a cup of herbal tea, a television show or two, and then heading upstairs to bed no later than 11:30 p.m. so she can get up for work seven hours later.

Dr. Singh likens a bedtime routine to that moment in a movie theater when the lights fade and the show is about to start. “A routine signals to the brain, ‘Oh, yeah, it’s the light fader that’s turning on, so it’s going to be sleep time very, very soon,’” he says.

#3 Limit screen time

Limiting screen and phone time before bed was a top answer that respondents say would most improve their sleep but it was by far the number one answer for sleep resolutions that would be tough to keep (34%). Nearly two-thirds of respondents (62%) would prefer to give up eating before bed than giving up their phone before bed.

Nevertheless, for sound sleep, it’s best to put your phone away at least an hour or two before bedtime, Dr. Holliday-Bell says. Otherwise, the light from the phone or other electronic devices can mess with your inner clock. 

“Brightness around the eyes and stimulation will impede your brain’s ability to let sleep take over,” Dr. Singh says.

#4 Get more sunlight during the day

Only 14% of respondents said they’ve tried getting more sun exposure to improve their sleep, and only 4% think it would most improve their sleep. 

But “most people don’t realize light is the strongest factor that influences your circadian rhythm,” Dr. Holiday-Bell says. That early morning exposure to light alerts your body to stop releasing melatonin, boosts your serotonin, and, somewhat paradoxically, increases melatonin production. Then your supply is ready for the following night, she says.

Getting more daylight may be one of the more doable resolutions: Only 10% of respondents think it would be a challenging resolution to keep.

#5 Make the bedroom dark, quiet and comfortable

Dr. Holliday-Bell says that light at night (even light from the television) and noise can stimulate you at bedtime or wake you when you are asleep. “It’s an outside stimulus telling you nope, now’s the time to be awake and alert, not sleep,” she says.

If your bedroom is too light at night, try investing in blackout shades and turning off glowing electronics, she says. Consistent low-grade noise, like the kind produced by a white-noise machine, may do the trick if there’s disturbing outside noise.

Among survey respondents, 62% say they would rather sleep in silence than with noise, and 84% would rather sleep in the dark than have a light on.

#6 De-stress before bed

Over one-third of survey respondents have tried de-stressing before bedtime for better slumber. “Stress and anxiety are two of the biggest factors influencing sleep,” Dr. Holliday-Bell says. She says one way to combat them is to create a relaxing bedtime routine. This may include listening to music, taking a warm bath, practicing meditation, or stretching. Reading a book before bed can be relaxing as long as the plot is not too exciting.

#7 Limit caffeine intake

According to a September 2023 Sleep Foundation poll, 94% of us love our caffeine, with most enjoying multiple cups of coffee daily. 

In the current survey, 9% say that avoiding or limiting caffeine would most improve their sleep if they adopted it as a resolution. But 39% of those say it would not be easy to stick to, making it one of the tougher resolutions to follow.But you don’t have to completely cut out caffeine to see some sleep benefits. Pay attention to your caffeine intake. Avoid it in the afternoon and at night if it impacts your sleep, Dr. Singh advises.

#8 Get more exercise and eat a healthy diet

Gila Berryman struggles with insomnia – she wakes nearly every night. She’s tried and failed to keep to a bedtime routine, but she does have two sleep resolutions for the new year: swim more and eat less junk food.

Cooking more at home and swimming two to three times each week “would make me very happy,” says Berryman, 51, a tutor at a college writing center in Durham, N.C.

Getting enough exercise was also a top goal of survey respondents, with 12% saying it would be the change they could make that would most improve their sleep.

Dr. Holliday-Bell says that exercise not only increases your overall health but also improves “slow wave” sleep. When people don’t get enough of that deep sleep, “that’s what leads people to often feel less refreshed,” she says, “and exercise promotes that sleep.”

#9 Avoid or limit alcohol

“The number one thing that really affects my sleep quality is alcohol,” Natarajan says. Whenever she drinks in the evening, especially red wine, she wakes up in the middle of the night and feels dehydrated, she says.

In the survey, only 3% think avoiding or limiting alcohol would most improve their sleep. But 65% of those say it would be a tough habit to adopt, making it their top answer. 

Still, it may be worth trying it. Since alcohol is a depressant, it may help you fall asleep. But after three or four hours it metabolizes and becomes a stimulant, waking you up, Dr. Holliday-Bell says.

Or, as Dr. Singh says, “The metabolites of alcohol act like potholes in your sleep road.”

#10 Avoid or limit food and drink close to bedtime

A February 2023 survey found that many of us like to snack before bed: 93% enjoy an after-dinner snack at least once a week, and adults average a nighttime snack almost 4 nights per week.

But too much food before bed, or the wrong foods, can trigger heartburn in some people, and drinking too much before bed can wake people up during the night because they need to go to the bathroom, Dr. Holliday-Bell says.

“If you consume too much too close to bedtime, you cause your digestive system to be active during the time that everything should be slowing down,” she says.

Secrets to Sleep Success

If you want to improve your sleep in the new year, start by focusing on one or two new habits, experts say. “Smart habits are made with repetition,” Dr. Singh says.

Berryman, for example, knows that although keeping a consistent bedtime and staying off screens might be the best resolutions she could make for her insomnia, “I don’t know necessarily whether I’ll be able to stick to them,” she says.

For now, she’ll focus on improving her diet and exercise habits. “Those are goals that I think are actually attainable,” she says.

And if you make a resolution and find you break it, don’t get discouraged, Dr. Holliday-Bell says. “Just say, ‘OK, tomorrow’s a new day. And I’m going to try again.’”


The survey commissioned by was conducted on the online survey platform Pollfish in November 2023. Results are from 1,000 survey participants in the United States who were ages 18 and older at the time of the survey. All respondents attested to answering the survey questions truthfully and accurately.

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