Catching Zs for a More Balanced Life

Natalie Dodd, LCSW, EAP Clinical Counselor

Sleep is one of the most fundamental aspects of health and well-being, but it’s often the most neglected. Between work demands, family demands, and social interactions, sleep takes a back seat to other priorities. The problem is that our mind and body are unable to rest and recharge for the next set of activities. To achieve a more balanced life, let’s take a look at how we can get better sleep.

When you begin your bedtime routine, take a moment and notice what your habits are. Do you scroll through social media? Do you turn the TV on? Raghu Opender, MD, MBA, associate professor in the department of neurology, explains, “It’s really important to reduce the exposure to light in the evening hours and really reduce the amount of exposure to electronic media, particularly on television, cellphone, and even laptops.” In addition, it’s important to put your phone away about 30 minutes to an hour before you plan on laying down to sleep. To support better sleep, try some of these recommendations.

  • Take a hot shower or bath to start winding down for the night.
  • Read a few chapters of a book or listen to a guided meditation.
  • Turn off the TV and put away your phone when you lay down.
  • Limit your amount of alcohol before bed.

According to Dr. Opender, “Sleep gives the body and the mind the opportunity to repair itself. During sleep, important chemicals in the brain are replenished.” It might take a few nights to perfect, but by establishing a routine and improving sleep habits, you will begin to feel more balanced. For more tips on how to get better sleep, visit Health & Wellness’ Take Good Care video series.