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Better memory, longer life, slimmer, happier, less chance of getting sick? What could possibly solve so many of our health and wellness problems?


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Sleep is one of the four pillars of health which are the four key components you need to live a healthy life! So why do we deny that we need more of it?


Sleep is often one of the first things we’re willing to axe when things get busy. Unfortunately for us this is probably one of the worst things we can do for our health! Have you ever tried to deal with a stressful situation when you’re sleep deprived? It hardly ever ends well!


To really drive home what happens when you don’t sleep:


  • Missing one night of sleep can lead to mood changes and clumsiness because your brain hasn’t been able to rest and organize information you’ve encountered during the day.
  • Missing two nights of sleep means problems thinking and performing basic functions, your brain is having trouble coping with the disorganized signals.
  • If you miss five nights of sleep in a row you start hallucinating. Eventually without sleep your brain will not be able to send any signals to the rest your body.


While these are extreme cases of sleep deprivation, short-changing yourself of sleep every night can have serious effects on your brain and body! Everyone has misses some sleep every once in awhile but if you’re chronically getting less than 7 or 8 hours you’re probably increasing your risk for a whole host of health problems.


To help you improve your health: We challenge you to get 8 hours of sleep for 3 weeks!


And here are some tips to help you achieve that goal!


One of the best ways to get better sleep is to practice Sleep Hygiene! Before you give yourself and your sheets a good scrub before bed… sleep hygiene is a series of habits you can do daily to help improve your chances of getting a good night’s sleep.
So how can you practice good sleep hygiene?


1. Set a hard bedtime.

Do you have to get up at 6:30 for work? Make sure you’re getting to bed by 10:30 to get a full 8 hours. Set an alarm for half an hour before your bedtime so that you can  wind down and get ready for bed. Having a nightly routine and a consistent bed time can help improve your odds of a good sleep. A relaxing bedtime routine could be as simple as taking warm shower or bath, reading a book, or light stretches!
2. Limit your daytime naps to 30 minutes.

Napping does not make up for inadequate nighttime sleep! However, a short nap of 20-30 minutes can help to improve mood, alertness and performance. Try and keep your naps short and try to take them before 5pm. If you’re napping too close to your bed time it reduces your sleep drive and can prevent you from going to sleep later on.


3. Avoid things like caffeine and nicotine close to bedtime.

If you’re chronically sleep deprived caffeine is probably part of your daily routine. While caffeine is a great stimulant and has tons of benefits of its own, consuming caffeine (coffee, tea, soda, chocolate etc) 4 to 6 hours before your bedtime can keep you awake longer than you need to. Avoid caffeine at this time to help your brain and body wind down!


4. Exercise to promote good quality sleep.

If you thought we’d have an entire blog post without recommending exercise… you were wrong! As little as 10 minutes of exercise daily, like walking or cycling, can drastically improve your sleep. For the best night’s sleep, most people should avoid strenuous workouts close to bedtime. However, the effect of intense nighttime exercise on sleep differs from person to person, so find out what works best for you.


5. Expose yourself to natural light and limit blue light

Exposure to natural during the day, as well as darkness at night, helps to maintain a healthy sleep-wake cycle. Using electronic devices before bedtime can stimulate your brain and your body in ways that can adversely affect your sleep. Using TVs, tablets, smartphones, laptops, or other electronic devices before bed delays your body’s internal clock (a.k.a., your circadian rhythm )and delays the release of the sleep hormone melatonin. This makes it more difficult to fall asleep.  Try powering down an hour before bed! But if that’s a tough transition most newer devices have blue-light cancelling settings that you can set to turn on when the sun starts going down.


That said, if you’ve already tried all of these sleep tricks and are still not getting enough sleep or you wake up and don’t feel rested there could be an underlying sleep disorder such as sleep apnea, restless legs syndrome, narcolepsy or another clinical sleep problem. If your sleep difficulties don’t improve you may want to consult your physician or a sleep specialist about further steps you can take.


Obtaining healthy sleep is important for both physical and mental health. It can also improve productivity and your overall quality of life. Everyone, from children to older adults, can benefit from practicing good sleep habits!


Let us know how your 3 week sleep challenge is going at your next appointment!



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