Posted by: Suzan | May 10, 2010

Sleep Well – It Will Make Your Day!

What really makes your day? If you’re anything like me, a good night’s sleep the night before does it. It shapes the energy I bring to all my activities, affects my mood, and essentially defines my level of productivity.

 According to The National Sleep Foundation, adults require 7-9 hours of sleep per night for optimal health and effectiveness. Operating on less than six hours of sleep a night on a consistent basis is like being drunk. It can affect one’s judgment, reaction time, mental alertness, and coordination.

 Rob Stein of the Washington Post wrote that living in a 24-7 society deprives us of our sleep and ultimately, our health. Citing studies done by Harvard University, irregular sleep is being associated with obesity, and an increased risk for colon cancer, breast cancer, heart disease, and diabetes. “Lack of sleep disrupts every physiologic function in the body,” said Eve Van Cauter of the University of Chicago. “We have nothing in our biology that allows us to adapt to this behavior.”

Harvard’s Nurse’s Study, involving more than 82,000 nurses, found a relationship to increased risk of death among those who slept less than 6 hours per week. So if we want to stay alive and thrive, collapsing into a deep, long sleep on a regular basis is paramount.

 Here are some tips from The National Sleep Foundation to help induce better sleep habits:

  • Establish consistent sleep and wake schedules, even on weekends
  • Create a regular, relaxing bedtime routine such as soaking in a hot bath or listening to soothing music.  Begin an hour or more before the time you expect to fall asleep.
  • Create a sleep-conducive environment that is dark, quiet, comfortable and cool.
  • Sleep on a comfortable mattress and pillows.
  • Use your bedroom only for sleep and sex (keep “sleep stealers” out of the bedroom – avoid watching TV, using a computer or reading in bed).
  • Finish eating at least 2-3 hours before your regular bedtime.
  • Exercise regularly during the day or at least a few hours before bedtime.
  • Avoid caffeine and alcohol products close to bedtime and give up smoking.

Finally, a few methods I use to fall asleep which work every time:

  • Journal furiously. Unload your mind of anything which may be clogging it and keeping you awake.
  • Drink some hot milk with honey. Sip it slowly. I prefer almond milk.
  • Sit in a massage chair if you have one for 15 – 30 minutes. Release all of your tension here. If you don’t have one, put two tennis balls into an old sock and use this as a roller to relieve stress in your shoulders, back, or anywhere else.
  • Count backwards from 100 slowly while focusing on your breath.
  • Practice yoga style breathing techniques. Breathe in for 4 counts; hold for 4 counts; and then exhale for 6 counts.

Sleep well. It will make your day!


  1. Wonderful post Suzan! So many of my patients find themselves suffering emotionally due to poor sleep hygiene. These tips are helpful reminders.


  2. I have printed your great post and promised myself to read it and practice your good tips and methods. The past months have been very difficult, now is the time to do this. Thank you Suzan.


  3. You are welcome. Glad to help. Sleep well!!


  4. I couldn’t agree more with this post on sleep. It seems like a place we are all willing to cut corners. Thanks for this important topic.


    • You are so welcome. I’m glad you enjoyed it.



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