sleep tips

Tips to Improving Your Sleep

May 19, 2022

According to the Sleep Foundation, one-in-three Americans do not get the recommended amount of sleep (7-9 hours for a healthy adult) on a regular basis. According to Kimberly Huntington-Alfano, D.O., with the Midwestern University Family Medicine Clinic, “not getting optimal sleep is one of the biggest obstacles to feeling refreshed and ready to take on the day.”

The Sleep Foundation recommends the following tips for improving your sleep:

Create a Sleep-Inducing Bedroom

  • Make sure that your pillow and mattress are providing the support you need in order to avoid aches and pains. Also look for bedding that will help maintain an ideal body temperature while you sleep.
  • While the exact temperature varies by person, most research supports sleeping in a cooler room that is around 65 degrees.
  • Excess light and noise can disrupt your circadian rhythm, also known as your body clock. Using earplugs or headphones will help drown out the noise, while blackout curtains can help keep your room extra dark.

Optimize Your Sleep Schedule

  • While you may be tempted to stay up late and sleep in on the weekends, following a consistent sleep schedule allows your body to get accustomed to a healthy sleep routine.
  • Make sure you are scheduling the proper amount of sleep each night.
  • If you nap during the day, schedule it in the early afternoon for around 20 minutes.

Craft a Pre-Bedtime Routine

  • Plan on getting to bed 30-minutes early to wind down. Add calming elements such as low lights, reading, meditating, light stretching, or peaceful music.
  • The light from electronics, including cellphones and laptops, prevents your body from naturally creating melatonin, a hormone that promotes sleep. Try to disconnect at least 30-minutes before bedtime.

Foster Pro-Sleep Habits During the Day

  • When possible, get a dose of daylight to help your circadian rhythm, whether that be through getting outside or just opening the window blinds.
  • Exercise has been shown to help you sleep better. Just be sure not to work out too close to bedtime.
  • A nighttime snack too close to bedtime can lead to poor sleep quality. It’s also recommended not to consume alcohol or caffeine late at night.

If you or a family member are suffering from sleep issues, including sleep apnea or insomnia, Dr. Huntington-Alfano recommends scheduling an appointment with a physician.

Kimberly Huntington-Alfano, D.O., M.B.A., C.S. is a Clinical Associate Professor for the Chicago College of Osteopathic Medicine and Medical Director for the Midwestern University Family Medicine Clinic.


The information contained in this article is provided for informational purposes only and is not for use in diagnosing any condition. The information is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, care, or treatment and does not establish a provider/patient relationship. Always consult your own physician or other qualified healthcare providers with any questions regarding any possible medical condition.

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