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I can't sleep!!

Wednesday, May 01, 2019

“I can’t sleep!”

Sleep troubles can be horrible, and not getting enough quality sleep can result in fatigue and lost productivity during the day and restlessness and frustration at night.

Sleep is actually a very complex process, and there are many ways to optimize the conditions that can lead to a better night’s rest.

Here are some (not-so-obvious) tips to help you get a better night’s sleep.   

1.       Get more daytime sunlight. According to the National Sleep Foundation, getting more sunlight during the day regulates our internal clocks, which helps us sleep better at night.  Try getting just 20-30 minutes of early morning and/or late afternoon sunlight every day.

2.      Stay cool. Consider turning down the thermostat at night (to about 65-68 degrees if possible).  A drop in core body temperature is essential for a good sleep. Keeping the legs and feet warm and covered will hold the heat in the extremities, while the core stays cool.

3.       Exercise on a daily basis. Exerting more energy while awake can help lead to a more restful sleep at night. Most types of exercise will lead to a peak in core body temperature during the day. This will encourage the very important cooler core at night!

4.      Stay hydrated. Water is very important for the sleep process that sends blood to our skin and extremities, which ultimately leads to a cooler core.  A cool core= better sleep. (Have we said that all ready?!)  Try to get most of your water during the mid-day to early evening hours for the best effect.

5.       Power down.  Shut down all electronic devices about 1 hour before bedtime, and try to dim the lights in your environment at home as well, to help prepare your brain for bed.  The blue lights emitted by cell phones, computers, and televisions are not conducive to sleeping! Use the blue light filter on your phone if you have one. Avoid the urge to look at your phone or tablet if you awaken during the night.

6.      Skip the afternoon pick-me-up:  Did you know the half-life of caffeine is about 5-6 hours? The effects of a cup of coffee in the afternoon will still be there at night, when your body is trying to wind down for bed. Try a decaffeinated beverage instead, or better yet—hydrate with water!

7.      Alcohol is deceiving. Although alcohol may initially cause sleepiness, it has very harmful effects on the quality of our sleep, by prohibiting us from reaching the deep phases of sleep that are so vital to a good rest. Try to avoid alcohol for three hours before bedtime, especially if you tend to have frequent awakenings or restless nights.

8.      Don’t just lay there. If you can’t sleep after about 15-20 minutes, get out bed and do something that makes you tired—like reading or listening to relaxing music. Staying in the bed can lead to lots of frustration that will not help your cause and can lead to poor sleep hygiene.


You will be surprised how small changes can lead to big results. Give these tips a shot. Here’s to a great night’s sleep!