Round 4: Submit Results Now
Monday, February 20 - Sunday, March 5
Deadline for submitting results: Monday, March 13.
Set the Scene for Sleep
According to recent studies, inadequate sleep over time can result in serious health consequences. Your bedroom is your sanctuary from the day, where the body can efficiently begin its nightly processes of physical restoration, detoxification, and information processing. When was the last time you had a solid night of sleep? If it has been eluding you, there could be ways to modify your surroundings to improve sleep quality. Setting the scene for sleep and create a rest-inducing environment in your bedroom can be an impactful and cost-effective way to ease into more sound sleeping patterns.
Let's take a look at some of the common "sleep robbers" and ways that we can change the scene to make sleep more conducive.
- Set a digital curfew: the light emitted from smart phones, tablets, TVs, and other screens has shown to interfere with the production of melatonin, an essential sleep hormone. A digital curfew means all devices are shut off at least one hour before bedtime.
- Consider placing devices on silent mode when you get home from work: this already sets the scene that the pings and alarms of the day should subside.
- Cover all sources of light, perhaps with shades or thick curtains over windows.
- Investing in the purchase of a sleep mask is another option.
- Consider installing a motion sensor light that only comes on when needed rather than having a nightlight running constantly.
- The body is in tune with the natural environment where temperatures typically drop at night, signaling the time for sleep. Recreate this in your bedroom by keeping it cool.
- Keep comfortable and clean bedding. The more comfortable your bed is, the easier it will be to fall asleep.
- Keep the bed for sleeping by refraining from bringing work, technology, or difficult conversations into the bedroom.
Source: A Good Night's Sleep: Addressing insomnia, stress, and digital toxicity. (2015). Omaha, NE: WELCOA.
Exercise for Better Sleep
According to the National Institutes of Health, about 30 to 40 percent of adults report symptoms of insomnia annually, and about 10 to 15 percent of adults say they have chronic insomnia. Sleep problems can be related to stress and worry, increasing age, shift work and major schedule changes. According to new findings from the National Sleep Foundation, lack of exercise can also be added to that list. Physical activity improves sleep quality and increases sleep duration. Exercise may also bolster sleep in other ways, because it reduces stress and tires you out.
There are two types of exercise: aerobic and anaerobic. Aerobic means "with oxygen." Aerobic exercises increase the amount of oxygen in the blood. Examples of aerobic exercises include jogging, walking, swimming, bicycling, jumping rope, dancing, riding a stationary bicycle, and using a treadmill. Anaerobic exercise means "without oxygen." Anaerobic exercises, such as slow walking, bowling, or strength training with weights, are important to your overall fitness. Aerobic exercises, however, are probably the best to combat sleeplessness.
Exercise is a beneficial stressor to the body. The brain compensates for the physical stress by increasing the amount of time you spend in deep sleep. Exercise also encourages sleep because it causes one's body temperature to rise and then fall by equal amount a few hours later. This drop in your body temperature makes it easier to fall asleep and stay asleep. Sleep problems affect millions of adults, who could likely improve their quality of sleep, vitality, and mood with regular aerobic exercise.