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Wellness Wednesday: Tips for a more restful sleep

Refreshing sleep
(Courtesy of Health Promotion and Wellness)
As we continue into the holiday season and another month of the coronavirus pandemic, sleep is still important. Sleep is one of the most beneficial wellness activities we can do each day for our mind, body and spirit.

Sleep helps boost our immune system, improves our mood and productivity, and helps our memory as well as a host of other benefits. However, it can be hard to get good quality sleep for many reasons.

If you are looking to improve your sleep, consider signing up for the Refresh Sleep program​, which begins in January 2021.

In the meantime, here are some sleep tips to help you get more rest right now:

Wind down without screens

It’s best to limit your screen time at least an hour or more before bed. The blue light emitted from technology restrains the production of melatonin, the hormone that helps you regulate your sleep-wake cycle.

Keep a journal or book near your bed

How many times have you not been able to fall asleep because you have too much on your mind? Rather than keeping it all in your head, write it down, whether it’s your to do list or just random thoughts you were able to ignore most of the day. Alternatively, a book can help relax you and keep your mind focused on something else rather than all of your thoughts.

Move your phone away from arms reach

When we have a hard time falling asleep, we tend to reach for our phone to keep us busy. Keep it out of reach from your bed to avoid those late night scrolls that will keep you up even longer.

If you can’t fall asleep, get up

Rather than lying in bed counting sheep, get up and do something such as yoga or stretching, a puzzle or another low stress activity, such as meditation. Once you start to yawn and feel sleepy, get back into bed. If you find yourself again not being able to fall asleep for more than 15 minutes, get back out of bed and repeat another low stress activity. Keep the lights low and avoid using any technology.

Try meditation

Taking long inhales and exhales will activate your parasympathetic nervous system and lower your blood pressure to help your mind and body relax. Try the 4-7-8 breathing technique by inhaling through your nose for four seconds, holding your breath for seven seconds and exhaling though your mouth for eight seconds.