How to Improve Your Sleep

Are you getting enough sleep? The National Sleep Foundation says that 1 in 3 people are not, and that’s a big problem! Sleep is where restoration happens, where our body gets a chance to reset and realign for the activities of the next day. Sleep deprivation is hard on the body, and can be a risk factor for other disorders and diseases. Sleep is of course an extremely important part of daily life, yet in today’s world, we are often incredibly busy, and it is not necessarily valued as much as it should be, but it is the reality. Experts say that if you feel tired or sleepy during the day, even during “boring” activities, or if you fall asleep within five minutes of lying down, you are severely sleep deprived. I’m sure many of us have experienced at least one of these symptoms at one time or another. There are 5 stages of sleep, ranging from light sleep to deep sleep, and REM (Rapid Eye Movement). Deep sleep is where real and restful sleep comes from, but studies show that many people spend much more time in light sleep (stages 1 & 2) and REM (which is the stage of sleep where dreams occur). So what can you do? There are several techniques and behavioral modifications that can help improve quality of sleep.

Take a nap.
Taking a 20-30 minute nap in the afternoon can restore your deep sleep, and be highly beneficial for restoring energy.

Go to bed at the same time every night, and get up at the same time every morning.
Our bodies have natural clocks (circadian rhythms) and when we habituate our sleep pattern, it improves the quality of restorative sleep.

Use your bed for sleep and sex only. No TV, reading, or eating.
This will help reinforce your brain and body’s association with bed and sleep.

Make sure your room is free from light and distracting sounds. Having a room that is as dark as possible and as quiet as possible will help your circadian rhythms.

Don’t eat a heavy meal or do vigorous exercise right before bed. It takes a lot of energy to digest food, so eating a large meal can keep you awake at night. Heavy exercise excites the body, and can make it difficult to sleep. A gentle exercise such as yoga can be done before bed to help relax the body.

Exercise Daily.
We know that exercise is good for us for so many reasons, but it is also good to help regulate sleep.

Make getting enough sleep a priority!
In line with keeping a good sleep schedule, making sure that your sleep is an important consideration.

There are many other ways to improve sleep, and there is much help out there!

For more information on sleep deprivation and disorders visit The National Sleep Foundation


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