Sleep for Health: Tips for a Better Night’s Rest

Prioritizing quality sleep is one of the best things we can do to support mental and physical well-being. With changing seasons often comes changes in sleep patterns. If you have been struggling with getting consistent quality sleep lately, the strategies below may provide support.

Benefits of Quality Sleep

Just like good nutrition and exercise, sleep is one of the main pillars that makes up the foundation of health and well-being. During sleep, the body performs routine maintenance to support healthy brain function and physical health, according to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute.

When we don’t get adequate sleep, our mental health and work performance can decline. According to the National Sleep Foundation, lack of quality sleep drastically affects work performance. Tired brains are less creative, don’t efficiently process data, and struggle to retain new information. This can lead to slower work and greater mistakes.

The Pandemic’s Impact on Sleep

A new study published by the Journal of Sleep Research found that COVID-19 symptoms themselves (cough, congestion, fever, headache, etc.) aren’t the only pandemic-related impact on sleep. Worries surrounding COVID-19 including contracting the disease or spreading it to a loved one, have significantly contributed to insomnia.

Are you struggling with increased worries and insomnia? Lily Brown, PhD, an assistant professor of Psychology in Psychiatry and director at the Center for the Treatment and Study of Anxiety shares insight:

  • Worrying and problem-solving are two different things. Sitting and stewing on the catastrophes that could come your way does nothing to help you prepare for them.
  • Catch yourself when you notice you are getting stuck in a worry spiral.
  • Redirect your attention back to the present moment using mindfulness strategies.
  • Note whether the worries that come up frequently are potential problems or actual problems. If chronic worries are impairing your life in any way, consider seeking help from a therapist.

Tips for Better Sleep

  • Be consistent. Go to bed at the same time each night and get up at the same time each morning (even on the weekends).
  • Make sure your bedroom is quiet, dark, relaxing, and at a comfortable temperature.
  • Remove electronic devices, such as TVs, computers, and smart phones, from the bedroom. Also try to completely avoid screen time one to two hours before going to bed.
  • Avoid large meals, caffeine, and alcohol before bedtime.
  • Exercise regularly. Being physically active during the day can help you fall asleep more easily at night.
  • Don’t panic when you have trouble falling back to sleep. Stressing over your inability to sleep only makes doing so more difficult. Make relaxation your goal, not sleep. To do this, try a relaxation technique such as meditation, visualization, or progressive muscle relaxation.

We hope these tips help you achieve a full night of rest. Be a wellness champion in your office by showing coworkers how prioritizing sleep improves mood, well-being, and work performance.