Sleep is such an important part of our overall health and wellbeing- no surprises there! Yet still many Canadians aren’t getting enough sleep or aren’t getting restful sleep. Here are a few tips and tricks to maximize your sleep… it first starts with sleep hygiene!
How much sleep is enough sleep? These are the current Public Health recommendations for Canadians:
Children aged 6-12: 9-12 hrs/night
Teenagers aged 13-17: 8-10 hrs/night
Ages 18-64: 7-9 hrs/night
Ages 65+: 7-8 hrs/night
Things to consider for optimal sleep hygiene:
- Avoid alcohol, caffeine, and nicotine before bed
It sounds obvious – but any stimulants will inhibit quality sleep. Also be mindful if you are consuming excess caffeine throughout the day to make up for inadequate sleep.
- Get daylight exposure
Light, especially sunlight, is one of the key drivers of circadian rhythms that encourage quality sleep. However, screen time is discouraged before bed because the light from our devices (tv’s, phones, tablets) stimulate our brain and do not adequately prepare us to fall asleep.
- Limit naps or keep them short
Naps can inhibit us from sleeping at night. If you are going to nap, keep it under 20 minutes and nap before 3pm if possible. Your sleep schedule may permit naps later in the day, but be mindful; the longer the nap, the higher potential it may impact your sleep at night.
- Maintain a regular bedtime/waketime
Try to create consistent sleep/wake schedule. Waking up at the same time on weekdays and weekends will help keep your sleep on schedule. If you are making adjustments to your sleep/wake schedule, gradual adjustments are recommended.
- Adjust your environment
We want to keep the bedroom as boring as possible. Dim lights, adjust to a cool/comfortable temperature, use calming scents, block out noise, and comfortable bedding are a few ways to achieve this. We want our environment to support our sleep as much as possible. Consider reading a book 30 minutes before bedtime or trying meditation to help you wind-down.
- Exercise regularly
Physical activity throughout the day can contribute to improved sleep, however, be mindful of when you are exercising. While regular exercise is important, exercising too close to bedtime can delay falling asleep.
- If you aren’t sleeping, get out of bed
If you are someone that has a hard time staying asleep once you get into bed, get out of bed. Go into another room and read, make a list of things to do the next day, basically do something boring. The more boring, the better.