top of page

SLEEP Health

Sleep is perhaps one of the most important lifestyle factors that can impact our overall health and well-being. Sleep affects numerous tissues and organ systems, and influences intellectual performance and mood. Inadequate sleep increases the risk of developing chronic conditions such as obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease. The American Academy of Sleep Medicine recommend at least 7 hours of sleep to prevent health risk. Many individuals, however, struggle to meet this minimum recommendation due to various lifestyle-related factors including occupational stressors, social obligations, and technological devices (Phone, Pads). Sleep disorders such as sleep apnea and other sleep related conditions need to be ruled out with further studies.



  • Aim for at least 7 hours of sleep.  Some people may require 8 or 9 hours to feel their best.

  • Follow a consistent sleep schedule. Going to bed and waking up at the same time each day helps to regulate your natural circadian rhythms (body’s internal clock).   

  • Plan your next day activities ahead. Knowing that everything is planned and ready for the next day will make it easier for you to fall asleep with less worries.

  • Create a relaxing bedtime routine. Turn off your thoughts and emotions and shift into sleep mode early at night. A bedtime routine can include one or more of the following:  a warm shower or bath; a light stretching routine; deep breathing techniques, meditation, praying. Your objective is to promote a state of calmness and shut down excessive thinking.

  • Lights off. Ensuring adequate light exposure during the day and dimming the house lights at night and shutting them off completely at bedtime, can greatly improve your sleep-wake cycle.

  • Create an optimal sleep environment. The mattress, pillows and sheets should be very comfortable to your liking. Bedroom temperature should be cool rather than hot depending on your sheets. Minimize exposure to bright lights and noises. Stop using any electronic devices at least 1 hour before bedtime. Avoid stimulating or stressful activities before bedtime. If you sleep with pets, it is better if they sleep in the floor. Have your bed partner help you with your sleep routine (consequently, you will also help your bed partner sleep better!). Avoid any conversations at bedtime. Conversations can trigger emotions and feelings.

  • Get regular exercise and minimize sitting throughout the day. An active exercise routine in the early hours of the day or midday is optimal. Even light exercise and increased movement can improve sleep quality. Avoid excessive exercise within a few hours of bedtime as it can have the opposite effect due to circulating levels of adrenaline. Stretching before bed can relax the muscles and the body, and it can help you fall asleep.

  • Avoid stimulants such as caffeine and cigarettes.  Consume caffeine only in the mornings.

  • Avoid alcohol. Alcohol can disrupt sleep quality throughout the night.

  • Avoid excessive water or fluid drinking in the afternoons and at night. Stop drinking 3 hours before bedtime and always empty your bladder before going to bed. This will prevent you from waking up in the middle of the night to use the bathroom which can disturb your sleeping pattern and make it difficult to fall asleep again.

  • Avoid large meals close to bedtime. Stop eating at least 2 to 3 hours before bedtime. Heavy foods can trigger indigestion and heartburn that disrupt sleep. If you suffer from chronic reflux and heartburn, incline the bed with an extra pillow at an angle of at least 15 to 25 degrees.

  • If you are having difficulty falling asleep, don’t force yourself to sleep, which will make you anxious. You can try some relaxation techniques such as light stretching, deep breathing techniques, meditation, and praying. Your objective is to promote a state of calmness and shut down excessive thinking. You can also go to the bathroom and try emptying your bladder.

  • Avoid long naps. If necessary, limit naps to no more than 20-30 minutes a day (use an alarm). Napping during the day can make it more difficult to fall asleep at night.

  • If sleep problems persist, consider speaking with your doctor for further treatment and referrals. In some instances, a sleeping disorder such as sleep apnea or other disorders need further treatment. Medications to help sleep are sometimes needed for a short term while your body adapts to a new routine.

Take Home Note

Developing a nightly routine and implementing the above recommendations will help your circadian rhythm and it will improve the signal to your brain that your body is ready to rest and fall asleep. If you continue to have difficulty sleeping, seek medical help.

bottom of page