May 9, 2024

A Good Night’s Rest – It Matters

General Health
Preventative Health
A Good Night's Rest - It Matters, Blog post graphic

We all know that getting a good night’s rest makes you feel better.  It can improve mental health, mood, and ability to think and make good decisions. However, during sleep, your body is also busy fighting off viruses and other pathogens, operating a waste removal system to clean the brain, looking for cancer cells and getting rid of them, repairing injured tissues, and forming vital memories that are essential for learning.

Establishing a healthy sleep routine is an important step towards a better night’s rest.  Start by following a relaxing “sleep routine” 1.5 hours before bedtime to help your body make the transition from being awake to falling asleep. Consider setting an alarm 1.5 hours before bedtime to start preparing for sleep. Brushing your teeth, washing your face, and getting into a pre-sleep routine will help you relax. Transition to dim lighting during this time (for example, don’t use a bright light in the bathroom). Don’t expose your eyes to computer or phone screens during this period and avoid excitement like watching an action movie or reading upsetting news stories.

Other tips to consider:

  • Set aside enough time for sleep.  Most adults need between 7-9 hours of uninterrupted sleep each day.
  • Get bright light during the daytime to strengthen your biological rhythm that promotes alertness during work and sleep at the end of your day.
  • Limit screen time when possible.
  • Go to bed and get up at the same times every day (including days off).
  • Take a warm bath 30 minutes to 2 hours before bedtime optimizing body temperature changes that aid in sleep.
  • Exercise daily – even if just a 10-minute walk.  Plan to finish exercise at least 3 hours before bedtime.
  • Think of going to bed as relaxing and enjoyable. Sleep will come sooner.
  • If your worries don’t let you sleep, write them down in a diary. Then close it and go to bed.
  • Make sure the room is not too hot or too cold (65-68 degrees is ideal for most adults). If it’s not dark enough, an eye mask can help. If it’s noisy, try using earplugs.
  • Don’t eat a large meal just before bedtime (ideally you should eat larger meals at least 3 hours prior to bedtime). If you are hungry closer to bedtime, eat a light, healthy snack.
  • Have a comfortable mattress and pillow.
  • Limit liquids several hours before sleep to avoid having to get up to go to the bathroom.
  • Avoid alcohol near bedtime. It may help you fall asleep but can cause sleep disturbances. If you plan to drink alcohol, finish several hours before bedtime.
  • Avoid caffeine, chocolate, and nicotine for 5 or more hours before sleep is planned—more if you are sensitive.

What if these suggestions don’t work?

Fort HealthCare’s Sleep Medicine Program can address such issues as snoring, insomnia, restless legs, unrefreshed sleep, grogginess, and narcolepsy.   If you are struggling with any of the following issues:

  • you consistently take 30 minutes or more to fall asleep
  • you consistently awaken several times during sleep or for long periods
  • you take frequent naps
  • you often feel sleepy, especially at inappropriate times

Please visit FHC Sleep Medicine or call 920-563-5571 to schedule an appointment with one of our sleep experts.


Improve Sleep: Tips to Improve Your Sleep When Times Are Tough | Blogs | CDC
Treating Insomnia (