February 21, 2024

Tips to ensure a restful sleep

Do not underestimate the power of a good night’s sleep.

We’ve all heard about the importance of diet and exercise for our physical and mental well-being, but one thing that tends to be put on the back burner is the importance of sleep. If you are on the quest for a better night’s sleep, you are not alone. Let’s talk about the impact of sleep-deprivation and dive into five tips to ensure restful sleep.

We do not sleep enough

According to the National Institute of Health, the average person gets less than 7 hours of sleep a night. Most people should be getting at least 8 hours of sleep, if not more. Lack of sleep not only causes lack of energy, decreased mood and productivity, but can also increase the risk of chronic conditions such as high blood pressure, depression, obesity, diabetes, and stroke.

Note: As we age, our sleep requirements may age. Use this handy resource from the Center for Disease Control to determine the hours of sleep recommended for you.

Building a sleep routine

Building a routine before heading to bed is all about achieving more restful sleep, which can boost energy levels throughout the day. This concept is also known as sleep hygiene. Let’s talk about some steps to take that will ensure restful sleep.

1. Invest in comfortable bedding and mattress/pillow

If you are not comfortable in your own bed this is going to make it hard to get a good night’s sleep. Make sure your mattress and pillow are supportive and comfortable and that your sheets/comforter help your bed to feel inviting.

2. Eat dinner at least 2 hours before bed

It can be hard to fall asleep on a full stomach. Your body is trying to digest food and devotes energy to the process — which can take two to three hours. Try to give your body an appropriate period to finish digestion before bed. Bonus tip: try to avoid high fat and spicy foods to avoid things like heartburn.

3. Avoid excessive light

Too much light can throw off our melatonin production which is a naturally occurring sleep hormone in our bodies. If your bedroom doesn’t get pitch black at night, there are a few methods you can try:

  • Block out light with black out curtains
  • Wear a comfortable face mask
  • Turn off lights in adjacent rooms

4. Minimize noise

Have you ever been on the brink of falling asleep when sudden noise snaps you back awake? You are not alone. Keeping noise to a minimum can make a significant difference in a sleep routine. Ear plugs or headphones are a good option if you need complete silence. However, if you need a little noise for comfort, consider a noise machine or a fan. These gentle sounds can help drown out other noise as you doze off to sleep.

5. Relax for 30 minutes before bed each night

The half hour before bed is your time to relax the body and prepare it for sleep. One key here is to reduce blue light — that means all screens are off! The light from screens can affect our sleep cycles and even suppress the production of our body’s natural sleep hormone: melatonin.

Take this time to catch up on your book, talk through your day with your partner, stretch, or meditate to help clear your mind before you go to bed. Do whatever soothes and calms you before sleep – your routine should be tailored to your preferences.

 

These are five basic steps you can take, but the Sleep Foundation offers twenty additional tips if you are looking for more resources to improve your sleep hygiene! Do not underestimate the power of a good night’s sleep and build a sleep routine that will boost your physical and mental health.

Teriyaki Salmon with Cauliflower Rice

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Catherine Kirkhoff

Authored By

Catherine Kirkhoff

Director of Kinetiq Health

Catherine works with our client services team and wellness vendors to empower clients to implement, manage and measure their health and wellness initiatives. She manages the day-to-day activities of the team of analysts and clinicians driving Kinetiq Health program strategy for Apex clients.

Before joining Apex, Catherine worked in public health for six years as a curriculum coordinator for the Marion County Public Health Department. During that time, she earned her CHES and CLS certifications and provided health education throughout the community and schools in Marion County.

Meet Catherine