Nov 24 2014

Sleep Tips You Can Actually Use-Part 2

Whether you work an alternate shift (or your employees do), or are trying to improve your sleep and get up to the golden 8 hours, there are a lot of small things that can be the key to more rest for you. And if you're not convinced of the importance of sufficient sleep, please read part one here.

Tips for Establishing a Sleep Routine:
  • Avoid electronics as much as possible in the hour before you’re going to sleep. The lights from a phone or computer screen tricks our brains into thinking its time to be awake, not winding down. 
  • Establish a routine. For example: kids get their bath at 7 and are to be in bed by 8. Once the kids are down, you can get ready for next day (packing lunch, laying out clothes, setting out what goes in the mail). To wind down, I suggest reading for 20 minutes (real book preferred over e-readers per the first tip.  
  •   A relaxing bath or shower may help. But, a bath/shower to close to bed may keep your body temperature from lowering like it should, so keep it at least an hour before bedtime if you can.
  • You can’t always control when you fall asleep, but you can control your alarm. Try to wake up, within an hour of, the same time every day. And… break up with the snooze button! Any extra sleep less than 20 minutes will only leave you groggier. Scientists refer to this term or condition as “sleep inertia.”
  • Get some sunshine ASAP when you wake up. Its a powerful signal to your brain that it’s morning and can help reset your sleep/wake cycle.

    Other Considerations:
  • Regular exercise both promotes a restful night’s sleep and improves daytime energy levels. That’s what we like to call a win-win! 
  •   Eating too close to bedtime may keep you from nodding off. 
  • If you wake up sooner than planned, avoid turning on lights. If you’re stressed and anxious from lying in bed, get up and do something else until you’re sleepy. But if you’re comfortable, stay put and either read (in low light), distract yourself (play a round of golf in your mind), or practice momentarily tensing and relaxing each muscle in your body in sequence. Avoid getting a snack now because you can train your body to expect food in the middle of the night.
  • Some medications, supplements, and vitamins can interfere with sleep.
  • If you are an employer, consider offering a corporate wellness service to your employees. Personalized health coaching and biometric screening can help pinpioint underlying health conditions that can be causing your employees' health to suffer, which in turn, hurts their productivity and increases healthcare costs. Contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for more information.

If these tips don’t help, or if your trouble sleeping lasts more than 4 weeks, it’s time to talk to your doctor. Many medical conditions can cause insomnia, such as acid reflux, sleep apnea, restless leg syndrome, and thyroid dysfunction. As important as sleep is to your health, don’t put it off!

Good night!

Katie Buehrle

Certified Athletic Trainer