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5 Tips for Better Sleep

Are you getting enough sleep?

You’ve had a long and exhausting day at work. Later that evening, you prep dinner or do some chores, spend time with your family or friends or maybe get some other work done.

Finally, it’s time for bed time. You slide beneath the covers, take out your cell phone to scroll through social media until you get tired. You start to close your eyes and for the next hour or so you are fighting to get to sleep. You try changing positions, opening a window, looking at your phone again, but you just can’t seem to fall asleep.

Why? The reasons for not being able to sleep can vary from poor sleep hygiene to emotional or physical issues that prevent a good night’s rest.

So what can we do about it?

There are a few small steps that we can all take to improve our sleep hygiene that, over time, can have a beneficial impact on our overall health and well-being. Speaking with a trusted physician is also a vital step in improving our sleeping patterns if we are experiencing serious or prolonged issues.

Public Health Canada recommends 7-9 hours of sleep for adults aged 18-64 and 7-8 hours for 65+.

Source: Public Health Agency of Canada

Ready for a better night’s sleep?

Try these 5 tips to improve your overall sleep hygiene!

1. Avoid these 4 things close to bedtime:

Some items we reach for in the evening to relax or wind down may not actually help our bodies to fall/stay asleep. Try to avoid:

  • Alcohol, caffeine, and nicotine
  • Screens with blue light (cell phones, tablets, television)
  • Liquids before bed for those getting up to use the toilet (A small soothing tea is great to relax the body and mind but should be taken no less than an hour before bed)
  • Heavy exercise (Try a lighter evening workout with lots of stretching and mindful movement; save the adrenaline for earlier in the day)

Try this bedtime yoga routine to destress and unwind:

2. Maintain a regular bedtime/wake time

Your body has a rhythm for sleep. This sleep-wake cycle can be affected when shifting regular wake and bedtimes. If you try to go to bed early one night to get sleep, but you normally go to bed late your body will not be ready to sleep. And if you tend to sleep early but one night go to bed late, your body gets thrown off its rhythm.

Try out this sleep calculator to find out when is the best time for you to sleep or wake!

3. Practice good sleep hygiene during the day

Although sleep happens at night, there are many things we do during the day that impact our sleep. Thinking about sleep while we are awake will help us to achieve the good sleep we are looking for every night!

  • Get in regular intense exercise (2.5 hours a week) and restrict sedentary activities to 3 hours a day
  • Restrict naps to 30 minutes in the early afternoon
  • Practice relaxation and mindfulness-based stress reduction techniques, such as these

4. Set up your environment for sleep

Arranging your room to encourage sleep is a helpful step. Think about how you can arrange this space to encourage calm and one that promotes sleep. If you are currently using your room for other activities, ensure to tidy up after finishing each one.

  • Try to limit activities to those that are sleep-inducing before bed
  • Reduce stimulating noise in your sleeping environment as much as possible
  • Aim for soft lighting (Himalayan salt lamps are great for promoting a soothing environment before bed)
  • Maintain the temperature to 15.6 to 19.4 degrees Celsius
  • Check out these tips from The Sleep Foundation

5. Make a Sleep Plan for Yourself

Knowing these tips is step one, however, making a plan is helpful to move them into reality. Pick one achievable goal to start with and remember to celebrate the small wins! You can also:

  • Review your medications with your physician/pharmacist regularly (Some medications may have an effect on your sleep and may be better to take at a different time)
  • Talk to your doctor if sleep is a challenge
  • Make a plan to change one small thing at a time
  • Try out apps such as Calm or Headspace that can help you in your sleep journey

Thanks for reading our post! The Workplace Wellness Blog is here to share tips and resources to help you be the best you can be for yourself, your social circle, and your home and work community!

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