Just Sleep it Off!

A good laugh and a long sleep are the two best cures for anything
- Irish Proverb

woman lying in bed sleeping THUMBLack of sleep can take a toll on one's lifestyle and performance. Yet for many, getting enough good quality regular sleep is elusive and not a laughing matter!

The amount of sleep one needs depends on several factors -  including age, lifestyle, health, and daily habits and routines, also known as sleep hygiene.

Even a few slight adjustments in these daily routines can mean the difference between a sound sleep and a restless night:

  • Sleep in a quiet, dark and relaxing environment, which is not too hot or too cold.
  • Make your bed comfortable and use it only for sleeping (not for other activities, such as reading, watching TV or listening to music).
  • Remove all TVs, computers and other "gadgets" from the bedroom.
  • Avoid large meals before bedtime.
  • Meditate to reduce cortisol levels and promote relaxation.
  • Sip smartly: Limit alcohol within 3 hours of bedtime and save caffeine for the morning as it can stay in your system for hours.
  • Soak in a hot tub 45 minutes before bedtime. When your feet and hands are warm, blood vessels dilate, allowing body temperature to fall, guiding the brain into sleep.
  • Clean up the chaos. A cluttered bedroom makes for a cluttered mind - the kind that churns well into the night.
  • Let the morning light in. Get outside when it's sunny, or at least turning on the lights in the morning; this helps reset our awake-sleep cycle.
  • Honor individual circadian rhythms: Go to bed at the same time each night, and rise at the same time each morning. Teens have a ‘delayed’ pattern and want to go to bed late whereas older adults [over 50 years old] have an ‘advanced’ pattern and want to go to bed early.
  • Bring on the (white) noise: Turn on a fan or white-noise machine to block sounds and avoid disruptive noise

Nearly everyone has an occasional sleepless night - but if you often have trouble sleeping regularly, contact your health provider. Identifying and treating underlying causes can help you get the better sleep you deserve.

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