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Improve Your Sleep and Feel Ready to Take on the Day

improve your sleep-telmd

We all have those nights from time to time when we can’t fall asleep or we keep waking up throughout the night. We awaken in the morning exhausted, having difficulty focusing on the task at hand. But, if you experience unrestful sleep frequently, consider exploring the underlying cause and then implement habits to improve your sleep and feel ready to take on the day!

The Importance of Good Sleep

Sleep helps to repair and rejuvenate your body physically and mentally—revitalizing energy, improving cognitive function and regulating emotions. Sleep also affects longevity. Lack of consistent restful sleep can impact your body’s ability to regulate hormones, glucose levels, and other essential functions, which can lead to obesity and other chronic diseases over time.

Sleep Cycle and Stages

The sleep cycle is a recurring pattern of brain activity that occurs during sleep. It’s divided into two primary states: rapid eye movement (REM) sleep and non-REM (NREM) sleep.

The sleep cycle is a recurring pattern of brain activity that occurs during sleep. It’s divided into two primary states: rapid eye movement (REM) sleep and non-REM (NREM) sleep.

3 Stages of NREM Sleep

Stage one is a light stage of sleep, where you may feel drowsy but can be easily awakened.

Stage two is a deeper stage of sleep, where your body temperature decreases and your heart rate and brain activity slows down.

Stage three is the deepest stage of NREM sleep— also referred to as slow-wave or delta sleep. This stage is essential for physical and mental restoration.

REM Sleep

Vivid dreaming, rapid eye movements and increased brain activity characterize this stage. It typically lasts about 90 minutes and repeats several times throughout the night, with each cycle alternating between NREM and REM. It’s believed to play a crucial role in memory consolidation and learning.

Factors Affecting Sleep Quality


  • Irregular sleep schedule

  • Excessive screen time before bed

  • Stress

  • Physical discomfort, such as pain or discomfort from a mattress or pillow

  • Environmental factors, such as light, noise, and temperature

  • Medical conditions such as sleep apnea, restless leg syndrome, or chronic pain

  • Mental health conditions, such as depression and anxiety

  • Hormonal changes, such as menopause

  • Substance use, such as caffeine, alcohol, or cigarettes—especially in the evening

  • Prescription and over-the-counter sleep aids

how to improve sleep

How to Improve Your Sleep

  • Stick to a sleep schedule: A consistent sleep schedule can help improve sleep quality and make it easier to fall asleep and stay asleep. Set a consistent bedtime and wake-up time, even on weekends. Aim for 7-9 hours of sleep per night.


  • Manage stress: Set limits on personal responsibilities to keep from feeling overwhelmed. Set aside daily “me time” (even if for just a few minutes). Ask for help when needed.


  • Eat a healthy diet: Avoid heavy meals and fatty foods before bedtime. Spicy and rich foods can cause indigestion and heartburn. Sugar and low-quality carbohydrates cause a spike in blood sugar. This can cause a boost in your energy.


  • Stay hydrated: But avoid drinking a lot close to bedtime as it can cause frequent bathroom visits, disrupting your sleep.


  • Limit caffeine and alcohol: Contrary to what many believe, alcohol does not help you sleep. It may cause you to fall asleep initially, but even one or two drinks can reduce sleep quality by over 9%.  A few more drinks and sleep quality can be reduced by over 39%.



  • Exercise regularly: Moderate to vigorous exercise can increase sleep quality by helping you fall asleep faster. Some people find exercising strenuously close to bedtime gives them the opposite effect, so listen to your body.


  • Limit naps: A 10 to 20-minute nap in the afternoon can be refreshing. But longer naps, especially later in the day, can negatively affect your sleep. 


  • Establish a bedtime routine: Practice relaxation techniques such as meditation, yoga, deep breathing or taking a bath just before going to bed.


  • Avoid screens (including cell phones) several hours before bedtime. Electronic back-lit devices like cell phones, tablets, and computers emit blue light. This blue light reduces or delays the natural production of melatonin and decreases sleepiness. It can also reduce the amount of time you spend in REM sleep. 


  • Avoid prescription and over-the-counter sleep aids. Contrary to their name, sleep aids often interfere with restful sleep and cause prolonged drowsiness and fogginess upon waking, as well as numerous other potential side effects.


  • Create a sleep-conducive environment: Designate your bedroom for sleep and sex only. Avoiding working and doing other activities in the bedroom can help your body and mind prepare for sleep.

    • Keep your bedroom temperature cool and comfortable. 

    • Eliminate all sources of light (including nightlights and lights from electronic devices.

    • Eliminate any noise (Consider using ear plugs, a white noise machine or a sleep-promoting app to help create a peaceful sleep environment).

    • Make sure your bed is comfortable (including pillows and mattress).

In Summary

Getting quality sleep regularly is important to repair and rejuvenate your body physically and mentally. If you want to improve your sleep, it’s important to uncover and address the cause or causes. Next, you can implement a strategy to improve your sleep. Implementing good sleep habits and creating a sleep-conducive environment can improve your sleep and increase your energy. You wake up refreshed and ready to take on the day! 


Want a personalized plan to improve your sleep? 

Book a consultation today!