By Lee-Ann Watanabe, Wellness Educator

Sleep is critical and essential for good health and wellbeing; yet, sleep is always overlooked. Why is that? Is it because we are always trying to look for a bit more time? Or perhaps we thrive off of “getting by” on limited sleep as a sign of strength? Do you believe that you have little control over how much and how well you sleep?

Adults need between 7-9 hours of sleep per night. Children, adolescents, pregnant women and seniors may need even more. A typical and healthy sleep cycle should include these steps: onset of sleep, light sleep, deep sleep, and REM (Rapid Eye Movement). Full uninterrupted sleep cycles following these steps are essential for the restoration of your brain and body.

Lack of sleep has several effects including decreased mental function, weight gain, depression, fatigue, a weakened immune system, heart disease, and high blood pressure. Furthermore, the effects of sleep deprivation will accumulate over time and as the days, weeks and months go by, this impact will continue to increase. Many times sleep-deprived individuals themselves are not aware of the full impact of poor and limited sleep.

Fortunately, we have the ability to take control of many of the factors mentioned above. Check out our tips for a good night’s rest and the ultimate snooze-busters you should avoid!

Things to Avoid Before Sleep:

  1. Stop electronic screen time at least 1 hour before bedtime.
  2. Alcohol, tobacco, caffeine and sugar consumption at night.
  3. Heavy meals at least 2 hours before bed.
  4. Day time naps outside of the 12 noon to 3 p.m time frame.
  5. Stressful surroundings.
  6. Heavy and intense exercise at least 2 hours before bedtime.

How to Develop a Healthier Bed Time Routine:

  1. Establish a regular bedtime and stick to that same bedtime every day.
  2. Take a warm bath or shower and read a book before bedtime.
  3. Make soothing contact with your family or pets and be sure to include relaxing conversation.
  4. Reduce your exposure to bright lights.
  5. Cool and clean comfortable bedding and surroundings.
  6. Consider using a weighted blanket to instill a calming and stress-free feel.
  7. Create a soothing and relaxing atmosphere of your bedtime environment.

WYAO Hawaii is designed to support companies in the shift from an ‘activity-based’ wellness program to a thriving, integrated results-oriented wellness system. We are grounded in a nationally recognized and research-based model to assist companies through a seven-step sequence toward Workplace Wellness Success.

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