Good Sleep, Better Health
Wow, I’m just so tired …
Sound familiar? Don’t be surprised. 33% of Canadians do not get enough natural sleep each night (seven to nine hours optimally). This shortfall does more than affect our energy and alertness. Disrupted sleep has been linked to a wide range of health issues, from obesity and diabetes, to hypertension, cancer, and depression.
But how do you get that elusive sleep if you are one of the many who struggle to get a good night’s sleep?
We’ve collected some Sleep Health Strategies that might work for you:
- During the day, be active, but avoid strenuous or vigorous activity too close to bedtime (four hours or less).
- Make sure you hydrate yourself well and avoid eating or snacking in the later hours of the day.
- Give yourself a break and make a to-do list for the next day. This will give you peace of mind, eliminating that “what have I forgotten” thoughts from swirling in your head.
- Avoiding caffeine six hours before sleep. Avoid alcohol and nicotine within three hours of sleep. While it seems that alcohol can help you relax and fall asleep, it is associated with disrupted sleeping.
- Try to make time for sleep, actually schedule it into your day. Keep these times as regular as you can even on weekends and when you are on vacation.
- Create a relaxing space and routine for yourself. Take a warm bath. Create a scent-free, dark space with no noise or distractions. Turn off the television and your tablet. Even your alarm clock can interrupt your sleep; turn it to the wall or cover it to avoid a “glow.”
Catching Up on Missed Zzz’s
Remember that nap your parents were always trying to get you to take? It turns out they were right. Naps can help you feel better if you have slept poorly or not at all. However, napping too much can lead to a cycle of interrupted sleep at night. A good rule of thumb is napping 30 minutes or less, six to eight hours before bed.