At Optum Medical Care, we want to help encourage better sleep quality, here are some things you can do at home to get more restful sleep.
Brighten your day, not your night
The natural cycle of mental, physical and behavioral changes your body goes through within a 24-hour period, or circadian rhythm, is greatly affected by how much light you receive throughout the day and when. Bright light first thing in the morning may help you wake up and feel more alert during the day, while helping your body to fall asleep earlier.
Your circadian rhythm is most sensitive to light two hours before your usual bedtime, throughout the night while you are sleeping and one hour after you wake up². Taking some reasonable time outdoors can provide considerable amount of light needed to help provide better sleep quality. The Sleep Foundation’s Sleep Health Index (SHI) measured at 79 for people who spent three to five hours outside and fell to 72 for those who spent more than five hours outside.¹
Closer to your bedtime, you need to lessen your access to light, which includes blue light, a source of light that comes from fluorescent lights, LED lights and back-lit electronics. Blue light suppresses your melatonin, a hormone your body produces in response to darkness, which affects your sleep cycle, making it difficult for you to fall asleep or wake up too early.²
Make your mealtime consistent
The food you eat plays an important role in maintaining your overall physical health, but did you know that when you eat can affect how well or how poorly you sleep? Your metabolism is a part of your sleep cycle, signaling to your body when it’s time to be active and when it’s time to wind down.
Start your day with a healthy breakfast to kick start your metabolism and keep you feeling alert throughout the day. Eating a light dinner two to three hours before bedtime will ease your body into sleep¹. Do not eat a heavy meal or give into late night snacking right before bed as it can disrupt your sleep.
Get up, get active
Getting and staying active has long-term health benefits including better sleep. More than one out of three people get less than the CDC recommended amount of physical activity as most Americans live mainly sedentary lifestyles.³ It’s important to incorporate some physical activity into your daily routine for not only your physical health, but better and deeper sleep. Even if it’s just a short 10-minute walk, get up, get active.
Medical care and help
If you believe you are suffering from a chronic sleep issue, we have several sleep providers on staff to help you address your concerns and get the treatments or resources you need for better quality sleep.
- National Sleep Foundation. 2022 National Sleep Foundation’s Sleep in America® Poll, The National Sleep Foundation. https://www.thensf.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/03/NSF-2022-Sleep-in-America-Poll-Report.pdf. Accessed February 22, 2023.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. NIOSH Training for Nurses on Shift Work and Long Work Hours. https://www.cdc.gov/niosh/work-hour-training-for-nurses/longhours/mod2/20.html. Accessed February 22, 2023.
- National Sleep Foundation. Sleep Awareness Week. https://www.thensf.org/sleep-awareness-week. Accessed February 22, 2023.