February 14, 2024

9 Strategies to Optimize Your Sleep

Sleep is essential for optimal health! Without enough sleep, our body systems do not function properly.

For example, people who do not get enough sleep crave sugary and high-carb foods. These food choices increase the risk of diabetes. Sleep is also a time for our body to repair. Without this time for healing and repair, the risk of many chronic diseases, such as cancer, diabetes and Alzheimer’s, is dramatically increased.

It is recommended that adults get 7.5-9 hours of sleep per night. Less than 6 hours per night is considered inadequate. A midday nap is recommended to make up for lack of night sleep, but napping is also a great way to re-energize.

Choose Your Strategy

1. Set a bedtime alarm

Going to bed at a consistent time on weekdays and the weekend is important for improving sleep quality and keeping your body in a rhythm. Aim to consistently get 7.5-9 hours of sleep per night.

2. Turn screens off 30-minutes before bed

Research shows that the light from screens can activate your brain to stay awake, but also the content that is being consumed can be stimulating or stressful, not calming. Turn all devices off 30-minutes before bedtime to allow your brain time to relax and improve your sleep quality.

3. Limit caffeine after lunch

Caffeinated drinks stimulate the brain to be alert. In some people, this stimulation can last up to six hours. To improve your sleep, cut out caffeine after lunch and instead enjoy herbal tea or water.

4. Get out in the sun

Exposure to sunlight, especially in the morning, helps to keep your circadian rhythm on track. This also helps you feel tired in the evening when the sun goes down.

5. Keep a notepad beside your bed.

Is stress or anxiety preventing you from falling asleep? Do you have an idea you do not want to forget? Keep a notepad by your bed to jot down anything on your mind. A clear mind will help you fall asleep more quickly.

6. Meditation / Deep breathing

These techniques can be used as needed to help the body and mind relax. Just one minute of deep breathing can help to improve sleep quality.

7. Music to help you nod off

Music is another strategy to help the mind and boy relax while keeping your focus away from pain. There are many great playlists or albums available from music streaming services such as Apple, Spotify and YouTube to help with sleep. Try a few different playlists to see what helps you the best.

8. Be physically active

Go for a walk, do yoga or tai chi within the two hours before bed. These are all ways to help you improve your sleep quality. It is recommended to be active for at least 30 minutes of your chosen activity. Your chosen activity can be followed up with a relaxing bath or shower.

9. Sleep aids

Sleep aids such as sleepy time tea, lavender essential oils, melatonin, or valerian root are natural ways to help the body and mind transition to sleep.

Your Science of Peace of Mind

Getting enough sleep each night is essential for optimal health. Aiming for a minimum of 7.5 hours of sleep each night is recommended to optimize your health. Try implementing any of these strategies to develop your own sleep routine. Your body and mind will thank you!