How To Get the Most Out of Your Sleep

August 7, 2021

Hands up if you didn’t get enough sleep last night.

Whether it was the kids or dog interrupting your sleep, loud neighbours keeping you up into the wee hours of the morning or a new work schedule, the fact is only 25% to 30% of people wake up feeling fully rested.

Chronic fatigue is one of the fastest growing workplace problems. It can affect your ability to work safely and effectively. Hence, less sleep = increased stress levels and health risks.

And with shift work, early start times, compressed schedules and 12-hour shifts on the rise in all sectors, now is the time to make regular, quality sleep a priority.

The good news is you can start to make lifestyle changes today. Here are 4 ways you can improve the quality of your sleep:

1. Nutrition

Be sure to include good quality carbohydrates with every meal. As well, strive for the recommended 8 to 10 servings of fruit and vegetables a day. Stay hydrated and include fibre-rich foods in your diet, along with lean protein like chicken and pork. Limit your intake of saturated and trans fats, processed and junk food. Instead of reaching for a bag of chips or a highly-processed granola bar, try eating something that will not make your crash but sustain your energy levels like a mixture of raw nuts. When it comes to alcohol and caffeine, it’s best to avoid them 3 to 4 hours before bedtime. A drink before bed may relax you but it prevents deep sleep, the type of sleep we need the most to recharge.

2. Exercise

Choose activities you enjoy the most and strive for 60 minutes of activity a day. Walk the dog, ride a bike, swim or hike. There are many apps and videos available, even for free. Avoid high intensity exercises before bedtime. Movement early in the morning is a great way to set your circadian rhythm and boost your energy levels for the day. Exercise is a great stress buster and works to extend your deep sleep.

3. Stress

Not only does stress interfere with sleep, it also increases your risk for chronic disease and affects your personal and work relationships. To cope with stress, stay active, eat a balanced diet and make time for you. Focusing on these areas are your first steps to decreasing stress. Know your limits and don’t be afraid to say no. Incorporate meditation and relaxation techniques like diaphragmatic breathing into your daily life.

4. Temperature

Temperature is one of the most important factors that can affect human sleep. The simple switch of keeping your bedroom temperature between 16 to 19 degrees Celsius can dramatically improve your sleep. Or, take a hot shower or bath or even a sauna before bed to help you achieve greater levels of deep sleep. To help you wake up, incorporate a cold shower!

Looking to address sleep and chronic fatigue problems in your workplace? We have the demonstrated expertise in this area of workplace wellness with multiple programs designed to meet your employees needs. Contact Kristina van Lankvelt, Director of Wellness, at kvanlankvelt@mediwell.ca.

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