Tips for a Good Night's Rest

Illustration of woman sleeping on cresent moon.

Quality sleep is crucial for physical, cognitive and psychosocial well-being -- it helps us to make better decisions, and enhances our mood and energy levels. PhD alumna and sleep reseracher Misol Kwon shares her tips for a good night's rest.

Healthy Sleep Tips

  • First, set a schedule and routine for wake-up time and bed time, even if it requires using that alarm again. Having a structured day routine like changing out of your pajamas, going for a walk, showering, having a meal — all done at similar times — can be beneficial.
  • Have your mind associate your bed only with sleep and sex. Avoid studying or working, and watching movies and news channels from your bed. This includes — “and I am slightly guilty of this,” she says — avoiding checking emails or social media in bed upon waking. This only prolongs time in bed you are not sleeping.
  • Our internal body clock — also known as the circadian rhythm — drives our sleep-wake cycles by working in sync with light and darkness. So embracing that natural, bright, morning light by drawing the curtains or going for a morning walk can really cue your body to get going, and feeling charged and alert.
  • Similarly, the presence of artificial light like electronic devices at night can disrupt the circadian rhythm. So keep lights dim around the house and avoid using electronic devices one to two hours before bedtime. This helps the body naturally produce melatonin and prepare for sleep.
  • Exercise regularly.
  • Avoid or minimize taking naps during the day.
  • Choose familiar and relaxing activities around bedtime. Read a book. Write in a journal or do a puzzle. Pray. Practice mindfulness activities. Listen to something calming. Avoid strenuous exercises right before bedtime.
  • Make sure to keep your sleep environment comfortable, clean, quiet, dark and with a cool temperature. You can use white noise like a fan to block out environmental noise.
  • Last but not least, substances like caffeine, alcohol and nicotine should be used with caution. Avoid caffeine, including caffeinated tea and soda pop, at least six hours before bedtime. Alcohol may initially help you fall asleep faster. However, during sleep, a stimulating effect occurs causing sleep disruption. Nicotine has a direct stimulant effect, and is associated with insomnia and sleep disruption as well.

Published April 28, 2023

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