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Sleep Awareness Week March 13-19, 2022

The National Sleep Foundation announces Sleep Awareness Week will be observed March 13-19, 2022. Recognizing the importance of sleep as a crucial measure of overall health, we have compiled some sleep hygiene tips to help you increase the length and quality of your rest based on the most current sleep research.


  • Exercise regularly. It is not advised to exercise intensely two hours before bedtime as it increases adrenaline and dopamine. Light stretching, however, may help you fall asleep.
  • Go outside for at least half an hour per day. Daylight is necessary for your brain to regulate sleep.
  • Avoid caffeine or other stimulants (nicotine from cigarettes for example) about four to six hours before bedtime, or earlier if you are sensitive to caffeine. Coffee, black and green tea, cacao, chocolate, and sodas may contain caffeine so check the labels. Try herbal tea or water instead.
  • If you have trouble staying asleep, avoid drinking alcohol before bedtime. Although it seemingly makes you fall asleep faster, the alcohol will cause you to wake up more frequently, and significantly reduce your sleep quality.
  • Don’t eat a heavy meal two hours before bedtime as it can disrupt your sleep. If you are hungry before bedtime, have a light snack such as an apple or some yogurt.
  • Avoid your phone an hour before bedtime. It is assumed that the blue light of the screen makes you more alert and awake. In addition, social media before bedtime is especially to be avoided, as it combines the blue light with the adrenaline (a stress hormone), and dopamine (a happiness hormone) of scrolling through social media feeds, making you even more alert. Research has shown that social media postpones the time you fall asleep by 30 to 60 minutes on average. Tiktok showed the highest delay of 67 minutes on average.
  • Sleep in a dark room, preferably slightly colder than would be comfortable when walking around during the day in a T-shirt. The dark and the slight cold is assumed to tell your body that it is nighttime, causing us to fall asleep faster. Of course, good blankets are necessary to not actually remain cold during the night.
  • Keep the bedroom a bedroom. Remove TVs, computers, recreational activities, gym equipment, office desk, etc.  This tells the brain that the bedroom is only for sleeping and related activities.
  • If you find yourself unable to fall asleep before a busy or important day, take a few minutes to write down your to-do list for the next day before your evening routine. This reduces the stress of possibly forgetting to do something during the night and unburdens your memory.
  • Temporary sleeplessness happens to all of us occasionally. Do not keep twisting and turning and getting annoyed at yourself for not falling asleep: you will feel stressed, and make it even more difficult to fall asleep. After half an hour of not being able to fall asleep, it is better to get up in dimmed lights, and read a chapter in a book, fold laundry, or do some other relaxing activity. And then try again. Do not turn on bright lights, check social media, or snack on food, as all those activities will make you feel more awake.
  • Evening routines are not only for children; adults benefit from them as well. Set up an evening routine at around the same time every day where you slowly unwind from the day:  dim all of the lights (dimmer switches may be helpful), get ready for bed, take a hot bath or shower, listen to relaxing music, read a relaxing book, then turn off all the lights. Repeat similar actions for at least two weeks and find yourself getting sleepier faster the moment you start the routine.