National SleepFoundation (NSF) Sleep Awareness Week© was established to encourage
the public to prioritize sleep as a means towards leading a healthier and
happier lifestyle. This year’s theme is “Sleep
Better, Feel Better.” and we are promoting this annual event by providing our
top 5 proven solutions for people with sleep troubles. Check this blog entry
each day from April 24
th-28th to view the latest tip
1. Master Your Circadian Rhythm.
Your circadian rhythm is the 24 hour cycle which determines the sleeping pattern for your body. This rhythm determines when your body releases hormones like melatonin, which helps you relax for deeper sleep. External factors such as your behavior, light exposure, and temperature can have major affects on your circadian rhythm.
- Maintain a
regular sleep schedule.
A regular schedule helps your body regulate your sleep preparation cycle
and melatonin levels. Try to go to bed and wake up at the same time each night,
even on the weekends when possible.
- Use bright light exposure. Physicians
treating insomnia patients have had success with increasing daytime bright
light exposure which improved sleep quality and duration. This technique also
reduced the time it took to fall asleep by 83%!
- Avoid blue light. Blue light tricks
your body into thinking it is daytime so it’s best to avoid devices which emit
blue lights for at least 2 hours before bed. Devices such as cell phones, tablets,
computers, and televisions all emit blue lights.
to Avoid Blue light:
- Set an alarm for two hours prior
to bedtime to remind yourself when you should begin avoiding blue lights
- Wear glasses that block blue
- If you must use a device prior
to bed, download an app such as
f.lux to block blue light at a specified time on your
laptop, computer, or cell phone
- If your alarm
clock emits light, turn it away from the bed to avoid viewing the screen
2. Rethink your eating habits.
Your eating habits have a major impact on your ability to fall asleep and sleep soundly. Getting a good night’s sleep can be as simple as making small adjustments to your eating habits!
- Reduce your caffeine intake. Research has shown that even drinking caffeine
in the morning can affect your sleep. People who suffer from insomnia may want
to consider avoiding caffeine altogether.
- Avoid drinking alcohol late at night. Alcohol can reduce nighttime melatonin
production and disrupts your sleep pattern.
- Avoid eating too heavy or too close to bedtime. Consuming a large meal before bed can lead to
poor sleep due to food digestion and hormone disruption.
- Stay hydrated throughout the day. Drinking water throughout the day is crucial for
your overall health but drinking too close to bedtime can cause bladder
- Eat a healthier diet. You will feel better overall and a well
balanced diet helps reduce your risk of sleep disruptive health issues.
3. Reduce stress… ASAP!
- Eliminate any external noise and light. Investing in black out curtains, or noise cancellation headphones could significantly improve your sleep quality.
- Find the right temperature for your sleep. Most people seem to prefer around 70°F, or 20°C, although it always depends on your preferences and what you’re used to.
- Use the bed for intimacy or sleep only. It can be tempting to watch TV or use a laptop or phone in bed, but these distractions can easily distract you from maxing out your sleep time.
- Make sure your room is clean and tidy. Messy areas can increase your stress levels and cause your mind to wander as you may begin to think about the chores you have to do.
- Make sure your bedding is providing the comfort and support you need. Research shows that your bed, mattress and pillow can greatly impact sleep quality and joint or back pain.
- Bonus Relaxation Tips: Listen to soothing music, read a book, meditate, taking a hot bath or shower, practice relaxation techniques such as deep breathing and visualization, get a massage
Tips for turning your bedroom into a relaxing peaceful sanctuary:
4. Be on the lookout for unknown medical concerns.
There are many common conditions that can lower your sleep quality or duration of sleep. According to Dr. Foldvary-Schaefer, at least 9% of women and 24% of men are affected by sleep apnea and yet about 80% of people suffering from this condition go undiagnosed.
When to see a doctor:
- Poor sleep is a consistent problem in your life
- You tend to snore or make choking noises during sleep
- You have pauses in breathing during sleep
- You gasp for air during sleep
- You frequently need to use the bathroom during sleep
- You commonly suffer from aches and pains
Sleep improvement tips for medical concerns
- Make sure you stay healthy. Weight loss can help reduce your risks of
many medical conditions that impact your sleep.
- The right mattress can help. It is crucial for your bed to provide proper
support for your body. Some mattress types such as latex and memory foam can alleviate
aches and pains by reducing pressure points.
- Try sleeping in a different position. Dr. Foldvary-Schaefer advises that some
people can see improvement in sleep apnea from simply avoiding sleeping on the
- Exercising helps you expend your body’s un-used energy so you are more capable of sleeping soundly throughout the night
- Yoga helps your body and mind relax and can reduce soreness at night
- Avoid working out too close to bedtime as this may give you a boost of post-workout energy
- A consistent exercise routine helps you feel more alert and energetic throughout the day so you get the most out of your sleep
- Try a quick 15 minute exercise in the morning to kick start your energy levels, improve your mood, and boost your ability to concentrate
5. Exercise your way to a better night’s sleep!
||Studies have shown that exercising during the day helps you sleep more soundly at night. In fact, one study showed that exercise in insomnia patients with severe issues provided more benefits than most drugs. Exercise reduced time to fall asleep by 55%, total night awake time by 30%, anxiety by 15% and increased total sleep time by 18%!|