During yet another whirlwind year, Canadians have reported increased mental illness across the board. In fact, sleep disorder rates jumped from 36% to 55.5% during the pandemic and 40% of Canadians experience insomnia symptoms at least 3x per week, which actively fuels anxiety and depression. We spoke to the experts at HALEO Clinic to learn their tips for better sleep.

Adjust your sleep environment

Your bedroom should be a peaceful place. Body temperature decreases at night (which is part of your “circadian rhythms”) which promotes sleep. Keep your bedroom a little cooler than the rest of the house. Ensure your bed and sheets are comfortable, the bedroom is soundproof and dark enough to promote the secretion of melatonin. Don’t be afraid to take the time to make some aesthetic changes; if you like the space, you’ll spend a lot of time in it!

Don’t work in the bedroom

A physical break between the space you sleep in and the space you work in is necessary – especially if you have trouble sleeping. Don’t use your bed to work! Instead, find a “peaceful environment”. The last year brought household changes for many people; if you don’t have a choice and need to work in your bedroom, limit the space and set up your desk far from the bed.

Deal with intense stress during the day

The amount of stress you have during the day can interfere with sleep. Your sleeping time isn’t a great time to deal with stress; if you find your mind wandering and looking for solutions at night, practice letting go at night and coping with stress during the day. Having an appropriate among of good quality sleep will have a positive impact on how you deal with stress during the day and will create a positive relationship between the two.

Drop the clock

Are you used to having a clock in your bedroom and looking at it constantly when you’re not able to fall asleep or when you wake up during the night? If yes, this will trigger stress about how long you have left to sleep before your alarm goes off, the workday ahead, and if you will be able to fall back asleep. Find ways to go back to that peaceful environment; keep the alarm but drop the clock.

Make little changes

There isn’t one thing that will change your sleep for good – rather, a combination of small things. If you have bad sleep hygiene, you can make some changes: watch TV outside your bedroom and try to go to sleep on your own, drop the cellphone/tablet/tech with bright lights long before bedtime. This will let your brain disconnect and rest and not be stimulated by the light, something that suppresses melatonin secretion.

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