April 1, 2016

Sleep for Success

The human body needs sleep to regenerate and to consolidate learned information. However the majority of Canadians are not getting the sleep they need to perform at their best.

What is Sleep Deficiency?

Sleep deficiency can occur when you get:

•Too little sleep (7-9 hours is optimal for adults)

•Interrupted sleep (we hear you parents!)

•Incomplete sleep (i.e. not entering all phases of sleep)

Even an hour or two of lost sleep per night can have an impact on our mental and physical health.

Impact of Sleep Deficiency

Too little quality sleep can have an impact on all facets of your life.

Mental Health: irritability, inability to concentrate, increased depression and/or anxiety, lack of memory, inability to learn (process and retain) information

Physical Health: reduced immunity, increased risk of obesity, diabetes, stroke, cardiovascular disease, kidney disease

These mental and physical deficits can lead to increased risk of accidents and stress on relationships which could prevent you from excelling at whatever it is you are doing – whether it is proving yourself in your job, working towards a promotion, coaching your kid’s soccer game, working out, developing and/or maintaining a relationship/marriage.

If you’re awake for 18 straight hours, the impairment on your driving ability is similar to that of being legally drunk.

Sleep for Success

Sleep patterns can be affected by a number of things:

Diet: A good diet can translate to a better sleep. Avoid alcohol, sugar, and caffeine late at night. Also avoid a heavy meal and too many fluids too close to bedtime.

Exercise: Exercise is good and can lead to a good night’s sleep but elevating the heart rate just before bed may mean it takes longer to fall asleep. If you exercise before bed, try calming exercises such as yoga instead of a high intensity cardio workout.

Stress: When you’re juggling a number of aspects of life, your mind is often racing to the next “to-do”. Write them down to calm your mind.

Environment: Our bodies are hardwired to sleep when it’s dark so keep your bedroom dark and use blackout curtains if necessary. This can help shift workers who have to sleep during the day.

Limit Screen Time: Screens on our electronic devices can cause a delay in the release of melatonin, a natural occurring hormone that leads to sleep. Limit the use of cell phones, tablets, and TVs to at least an hour before bedtime.

Consult your Doctor

Some people experience sleeplessness or interrupted sleep due to medications or medical conditions such as sleep apnea. Consult your doctor if sleep consistently eludes you. Sources:



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