5 Steps to a Better Night’s Sleep

How to get more quality sleep in a world that undervalues rest.

It’s well past midnight, but you’re still scrolling through social media posts. Or the lights are out, but your brain is restless. Worrying over stressful current events only makes matters worse.

Most people don’t get their recommended seven to nine hours of sleep per night. Getting enough rest is just as important for overall well-being as a healthy diet and regular exercise.

“Sleep should be a top priority for your health,” says Kelly Schmidt, RPSGT, RCP, CCSH, CSE, Facilitator of the Sleep Disorders Centers at HSHS Sacred Heart and HSHS St. Joseph’s hospitals. “Sleep helps your body repair, recover, and regenerate. Getting quality sleep is linked to an improved immune system, better hormone regulation, and decreased risk of heart disease and weight gain.”

 5 STRATEGIES FOR BETTER Z’S

Here are some tips Schmidt recommends to stop the cycle of sleep deprivation so you can wake up feeling refreshed:

  1. Turn electronics off. On average, it takes 10 to 20 minutes to fall asleep. If it takes you longer, electronics may be the culprit. The blue light from a phone, tablet, or TV delays the production of melatonin that helps you fall asleep. Turn off all devices at least 30 minutes before bed.
  2. Create a sleepy space. Keep your bedroom cool, dark, and quiet to promote better sleep. Try moving the TV or other distractions to another room
  3. Deal with stress another time. If you find your mind racing with thoughts at night, try setting aside time during the day to clear your head. Write down any nagging thoughts and remind yourself at night that it’s something you can deal with later.
  4. Follow a bedtime routine. Hitting the pillow immediately after a long day isn’t ideal for falling asleep quickly. Instead, follow ritual habits to help you sleep. Try reading a book, taking a bath or shower, or listening to relaxing music.
  5. Give yourself a set bedtime. Having a bedtime isn’t only for kids. One study shows that adults who had regular bedtimes and rise-times experienced better sleep quality. Stick to finishing activities earlier in the day, and don’t budge on your bedtime.

Stop Sleep Intruders

STRESS
Try: Engaging in a quiet activity such as meditation or journaling

LIGHT EXPOSURE
Try: Blackout curtains, blue-light glasses, and turning off electronics

SNORING
Try: Encouraging your partner to visit a physician about health conditions that cause snoring

PARENTING
Try: Taking a short nap during the afternoon while your young child naps

Did you know there are 84 different sleep disorders that can affect your quality of sleep? If you have difficulty sleeping, call the HSHS Sacred Heart Sleep Disorders Center at 715.717.4933.

You may also be interested in “5 Benefits of a Good Night’s Sleep.”