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Sleep 101 – Tips & Tricks

Woman sleeping in bed

Getting enough sleep is one of the best ways to improve your overall health. Sleep plays a critical role in helping our bodies function at optimal levels. Even though most people will (or should) spend approximately one-third of their life sleeping, its importance in our lives is commonly misunderstood and unappreciated.
There are several health benefits to getting enough sleep, especially for people with type 2 diabetes.

Benefits of Sleep 

  • Increases body’s ability to maintain healthy blood sugar levels
  • Decreases risk of heart disease
  • Decreases risk of developing dementia
  • Improves immune system
  • Improves blood pressure
  • Reduces risk of contracting cancer
  • Reduces risk of stroke

Getting quality sleep on a regular basis can also improve memory, aid in healthy weight loss, enhance fitness, mood, creativity and improve anxiety and depression.
It’s important to assess your current sleep habits so you can make the appropriate changes.  Good sleep hygiene is all about maintaining the right sleep routine.  We’ve all heard that 7-8 hours of sleep is ideal, so knowing the right techniques will make it easier to start getting a good night’s rest.

Tips & Tricks

Keep a Schedule:

Going to bed and waking up at the same time each day is integral to obtaining healthy, high-quality sleep. Doing so maintains a healthy circadian rhythm which is necessary for falling asleep quickly and staying asleep throughout the night.

Exercise Regularly:

Exercising for as little as 30 minutes each day can improve sleep quality. However, it is important to not exercise too soon before bed. If exercising late at night, make sure to do so at least two to three hours before you anticipate falling asleep.

Limit Caffeine & Nicotine Before Bed:

Both caffeine and nicotine are stimulants that make it difficult to fall and stay asleep. Caffeine can stay in your system for as long as eight hours, so it’s best to enjoy your last cup of coffee, tea, etc. at least 8 hours before bedtime. Nicotine contributes to poor sleep quality and can cause users to wake up prematurely due to withdrawals.

Management of your Glucose Levels:

Both high and low glucose levels can impair your depth (quality) of sleep. For example, high glucose levels overnight can lead to frequent urination, hunger, and thirst, causing you to wake more often.  Equally as important, low glucose levels can trigger a release of hormones which may lead to insomnia. Be sure to monitor glucose levels regularly.

Avoid Late Night Drinks:

Drinking alcohol too late at night can lead to poor sleep quality and a loss of essential rapid eye movement (REM) sleep. If you wish to enjoy a drink at night, try to keep the quantity down and have your last drink a few hours before bedtime.

Avoid Late-Night Meals and Beverages:

Large meals before bed can cause indigestion and impair sleep quality. Similarly, having too many liquids can cause frequent trips to the bathroom, impeding upon healthy sleep cycles.

Talk to Your Doctor About Medications:

Some medications can harm your ability to get natural sleep. If you are having trouble sleeping, talk with your primary care physician or a sleep expert to see whether your medications are affecting your sleep quality.

Nap Early:

Naps are healthy and enjoyable but doing so after 3 p.m. can harm your ability to fall asleep on time.

Relax Before Bed:

Try to schedule some time into your day to do a relaxing activity before bed. Doing this regularly will help you to fall asleep faster and maintain better sleep.

Take a Hot Bath:

Taking a hot bath before bed can help to lower your body temperature which is necessary for falling asleep. Additionally, this can help you to relax before bed.

Cool Your Bedroom:

As previously mentioned, lowering your core body temperature before bed is necessary to fall asleep. If possible, keep your bedroom a bit on the cooler side.

Kill the Lights:

Make sure that your bedroom is as dark as possible. Try to eliminate any sources of light from your bedroom, no matter how small the light is.

Eliminate Distractions:

Try to keep distractions and gadgets out of your bedroom. If you sleep with an alarm clock, make sure that it is pointed away from you so that you can’t watch the time while falling asleep.

Get Sunlight:

Getting sufficient sunlight during the day can help to maintain your circadian rhythm and helps aid in healthy sleep.

Do Not Lie Awake in Bed:

If you can’t fall asleep within 20 minutes of lying in bed, get out and do something relaxing, e.g., read or listen to calming music. Staying awake in bed for too long can cause sleep-related anxiety and make it harder to fall asleep.

Ready to update your sleep routine but you aren’t sure where to begin? Your Level2 care team and coach can help by providing actionable advice and tips, along with real-time coaching so you can reach your goals.