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#SleepHygiene

Fall 2020 Jump To: I'm Not Sleeping Well article mini-series; Sleep Experience; Sleep, Exercise And The Fall Back Of "Changing The Clocks"Community Wellness Chat: Up Your Game in SleepSleep Challenge

I'm Not Sleeping Well........What Can I Do About It?

This is a 4-part article Mini-Series.

Sleep Tracking Apps: Sleep is one of those things that affects all aspects of our lives. If you find yourself not sleeping well, one thing you can do is to try tracking your sleep using a phone App. Once you have some data on your sleep, certain patterns may be revealed that help you to understand more about what's causing you to not feel well rested. Does the data reveal that you're having trouble falling asleep? Maybe starting a pre-sleep wind down routine 30 minutes before you want to fall asleep will help. Or, maybe the data shows that you're waking up repeatedly throughout your sleep cycles to go to the bathroom. If this is true, then eliminating fluid intake a few hours before bedtime could be the answer for you. Interested in tracking your sleep using a phone App? Read this article on the best sleep tracking apps to learn more. Fun fact: Did you know that Sonar is one of the methods used by phone Apps to track sleep? Additional methods of tracking include movement tracking, sound detection, and optical heart rate monitoring.

Phone Tips: We use our phones for so many things. They are amazing computers that fit into the palm of our hands. We may use them to track our sleep, or as a wake-up alarm, or to take last minute notes to get that to-do list out of our heads when trying to fall asleep. Those are some of the reasons that I'm not going to tell you to leave your phone outside of the bedroom. However, if you do carry your phone into bed with you, it's good for you to be aware that there can be some potential downsides to this that you can do something to avoid. One, to allow your mind to start to wind down and relax before you want to fall asleep, consider switching your phone to silent or priority, and turn it screen side down so that you won't notice the screen changing colors. Two, if you're using your phone to read a relaxing article before bedtime, consider switching your phone to night mode for less sleep disruption from the blue light. And three, if you know that certain websites, newsfeeds, or engaging with social media platforms will get you irritated, anxious, or revved up, do yourself a favor and wait to check those out when you're not trying to fall asleep. They'll still be there for you to tap into when you wake up.

Beverages: Do you drink non-alcoholic or alcoholic beverages close to your desired sleep time? Water, coffee, and alcohol can all have negative effects on our sleep depending on when they are consumed. You may be able to fall asleep just fine if you consume water right before you go to bed, but chances are, your sleep will be disturbed by the need to visit the bathroom. And then there's coffee. For many, drinking a cup of joe before bed will not only make it difficult to fall asleep due to the caffeine, but will also lead to waking up during the night having to pea. Caffeine's affect is felt in as little as 15 minutes and still is in your system hours later. And then there's alcohol. Although some swear that alcohol calms their nerves allowing them to fall asleep, a person's quality of sleep is negatively affected by increased alcohol consumption, specifically the important restorative REM cycle. Bottom line, if you're not sleeping well, take notice of what, when, and how much you're consuming before wanting to fall asleep. See if there's room to try something different if what you're doing now isn't working well for you. 

Simple Pre-Sleep Routine: Are you having trouble falling asleep? Establishing a positive pre-sleep routine could be just what you need. Pre-sleep routines can be long or short in duration and can be as simple as doing one thing before bed or doing several. If you haven't tried establishing a pre-sleep routine before, or haven't found one that works for you just yet, try starting with this. Start doing one thing that you find relaxing 30 minutes before you want to fall asleep. You could try reading a book, following along to a guided meditation, listening to music, or something else. Whatever it is, intentionally choose something that is calming and soothing. Being consistent is important, so whatever you choose, try it for more than just one night to see if it makes a difference for you.  

Sleep Experience

October 5 & 6, 30 minutes before you want to fall asleep, try turning on night mode/shift mode on your phone settings to eliminate blue light that stimulates you to stay awake. Or, 30 minutes before sleep, stop using your phone and place it screen side down if it's next to you.

Sleep, Exercise and the Fall Back of “Changing the Clocks"
Blog Post written by Ruth Merle-Doyle

We all know how imperative sleep is to our functioning hours, especially when we have not had enough of it. When looking at sleep tips, you’ll see “regular exercise” mentioned as a piece of the good-night-sleep puzzle. Exercise has a positive relationship with getting “quality sleep,” often defined as a shorter to-sleep time frame, less waking in the middle of sleep and longer total sleep time. Evidence suggests changes to neurochemicals and hormones might be a factor, as well as the exercise related decrease in symptoms of anxiety and depression. But how much exercise? What kind? When? Read the rest of Ruth's blog post on Wellness' blog page to learn about these variables and more.

Community Wellness Chat: Up Your Game In Sleep

Sleep routine messed up due to Daylight Savings? It's the Perfect time to create a personalized pre-sleep routine to up your game in the sleep department.

  • November 2, noon-1:00pm
  • provided through Zoom live
  • Register here

This time of the year can really throw a wrench in our sleeping patterns. Setting the clocks back and longer nights have a deep impact on our circadian rhythms. Because your pre-sleep routine is already going to be messed up by Daylight Savings, it might be the perfect time to re-think your current pre-sleep rituals and try some different things to establish a new and improved pre-sleep routine for yourself. When sleep starts to become an issue, whether it’s falling asleep or not being able to stay asleep, it can start to take a physical, mental, and emotional toll within our bodies. We’re aware of the cognitive repercussions troubled sleep can cause such as problems focusing and problem solving, feeling sluggish or in a fog, having less energy, and more. Some of the greatest recovery periods for our bodies actually occur while we’re sleeping, so if we’re looking to perform at our best whether it’s on the field or in the boardroom not sleeping well can be problematic. Over time, sleep disturbances can also have negative impacts on our immune systems and hormones that control our metabolic functions, potentially contributing to additional longer term health challenges. Join Wellness Director Kerry Howell and Wellness’ Nutrition and Health Outreach Educator, Jeremy Stewart for a community conversation where together we’ll be discussing some common sleep struggles that many of us face and some ideas for remedying these troubles through improving and enhancing pre-sleep routines so that they can be put to bed. Join the conversation to connect with others and to learn from Kerry and Jeremy about several strategies you can start trying right away that have been shown to have positive effects on sleep quality and quantity.

Sleep Challenge

Throughout the Fall semester Wellness staff have provided lots of information on the benefits of good sleep hygiene and the importance of developing a pre-sleep routine. We will now ask you to put information into practice with this challenge. Want to improve your sleep throughout the winter months? This challenge is perfect for you. 

Here’s how to participate: 
On day 1, focus on tracking your sleep using this sleep tracking form (pdf) or (word doc) or try tracking your sleep using a sleep tracking App
On day 2, Wellness staff will send you a list of helpful tips that covers a broad spectrum of Positive Habits To Improve Sleep that you can try. 
On days 2-5, Picking from the list of positive habits try 2 or more new ones over the remaining 4 days of the Challenge that you think will lead to improved sleep for you. Continue to track your sleep and which habits you try each day. You’ll receive a report back survey link to let us know which positive habits you tried and how they went for you. 

The goal of the challenge is that by the end of it you will have discovered a few new positive sleep habits that will work for you and you can begin inserting them into your sleep routine to achieve better sleep on a more regular basis throughout the winter. Questions? Contact Jeremy Stewart
 

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