Getting better sleep

Nothing feels as good as a good night’s sleep – and your body and mind will agree. A proper night’s sleep can improve brain performance, mood and your overall health. However, if we don’t get enough quality sleep, it raises the risk for many health issues, including fatigue, heart disease, stroke, obesity and dementia.

So, the next time you’re ready for bed, try aiming for 7 to 8 hours of sleep every night. And children, depending on how old they are, might need a few hours more.

If you think you could be getting a better sleep, you’re not alone. 49% of Manitobans believe they aren’t doing enough or could be doing more when it comes to getting a good night sleep (Doctors Manitoba 2023 survey). Below you will find suggestions from doctors about simple steps you can take.

Here are some tips for sleeping well:

  • A regular bedtime routine can help improve your sleep, including consistent times for going to bed and waking up as much as possible.

  • Eliminate screen time in the hour before bedtime.

  • Try white noise, like a fan, to support a more restful night’s sleep.

  • Make the room as dark and comfortable as possible. Try facing your alarm clock towards the wall and placing your cell phone facedown.

  • Don’t forget to change your sheets weekly to reduce allergens that can disrupt your sleep.

  • Try avoiding caffeine and alcohol intake before bed. They can easily disrupt a good night’s sleep.

When to Call a Doctor

Talk to your doctor if you have persistent sleep issues. This could include whether medications, ongoing pain, menopause, or conditions like depression or anxiety are affecting your sleep. You should also talk to a doctor about signs of sleep apnea, which include excessive snoring or long pauses between breaths while sleeping.

Sometimes it is important to see a doctor if you are dissatisfied with your sleep. Some of the reasons include:

  • You worry you are not getting enough sleep. As people get older we need fewer hours of sleep at night. Your doctor could help reassure you if there are no signs your sleep is limiting your activity level.

  • Your sleep is disrupted because symptoms of medical conditions wake you. Examples might include: waking frequently to use the bathroom, low blood sugars if you take medications for diabetes including insulin or you snore heavily and have periods when you stop breathing.

Learn More

You can learn more and get additional tips from these sites:

  • MySleepWell sleep hygiene checklist, an initiative from Dalhousie University.

  • Sleep Foundation is a source of sleep information with medically-reviewed articles and tips based on sleep science, as well as reviews of sleep and wellness products.

  • Sleep On It, which offers age-specific dos and don’ts, a partnership of several sleep disorder and insomnia organizations.

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