We all know that one person who is fast asleep within minutes of their head hitting the pillow however for many of us this is just not the case. Statistics Canada estimates one in three Canadians sleep less than the recommended seven to nine hours per night. There are numerous contributing factors to the reasons why our current population may not be receiving adequate or a restful night’s sleep. These factors include exposure to artificial light at night, diet/ exercise, caffeine consumption, work demands, social commitments, family dynamics and undiagnosed sleep disorders.
Tips for a Better Sleep
Turn Down the Lights 30 Minutes Before Bed
When we are exposed to light too close to bedtime, especially from electronics, the amount of melatonin our body produces is reduced. Make sure to remove any sources of blue light (i.e.: cell phones, TV, computers) from your bedroom 30 minutes before sleep. Instead try meditation or reading.
Don’t Eat or Drink Late
The best choice is to eat lightly before bed (if at all) and avoid alcohol or stimulants like caffeine or nicotine within six hours of bedtime.
Exercise 20 to 30 Minutes Daily
Regular exercise is known to improve overall sleep! Aim for 20 to 30 minutes of aerobic exercise daily, but not within two hours of bedtime.
Create a Mind Dump
Write down all the things that you need to do, to empty your mind. This will reassure you that you don’t need to remember your tasks throughout the night and will help the quality of your sleep.
Focus your mind on all the blessings in your day rather than the running list of unresolved problems.
Keep Your Bedroom Around 18C
The ideal temperature for your bedroom is 18C. A small drop in our body temperature can tell our body it’s time to sleep.
Create a Similar Bed & Wake Time
Keeping a similar sleep schedule can help to ensure you get the suggested eight hours a night. Try setting an alarm for every night & morning.
Source: Sleep Therapeutics Saint John
The need to reprioritize sleep is abundantly clear when it comes to the overall impact on health, safety and productivity. There is a direct correlation between sleep deprivation and the negative impact on short-term memory, decision-making, problem-solving, accident prevention and productivity. According to Charles A. Czeisler, PhD, MD, FRCP, Director of the Sleep Matters Initiative at Brigham Health, and the Baldino Professor of Sleep Medicine at Harvard Medical School, “sleep, along with nutrition and exercise, is one of three pillars of good health. Promotion of healthy sleep is a win-win for both employers and employees, enhancing quality of life and longevity for workers while improving productivity and reducing healthcare costs for employers.” Whether you implement some of the recommended tips, participate in a sleep study or consult with a physician we highly recommend taking the necessary steps to ensure restorative sleep is part of your routine.