Sleep Well

Even if you have early starts, or work long hours, there are small actions you can take to prepare for getting better quality sleep.

Why Sleeping Well matters

Good quality sleep impacts on every function in your body.

  • You will have increased energy, improved focus, better memory, reduced stress, and stronger protection against becoming unwell.
  • Sleep increases energy and improves focus and memory. 
  • You will stay well, refreshed and safe to work.
  • During the hours you are asleep, your body heals itself and removes the physical and emotional build ups you experienced during the day.

What can I do to Sleep Well?

When life is busy, it can be hard to get those 7-9 hours of good-quality sleep. Sleeping problems are common, with up to 4 in 10 Australian adults not getting enough sleep.

Here are several small steps you can take to improve the duration and quality of your sleep:

  • Create a sleep time routine and make sleep a priority.
  • Use blue light to wake, yellow light before sleep, red light if you need a night light.
  • Don’t drink alcohol too close to bedtime.
  • Only drink caffeinated drinks in the first half of your day.
  • Try not to have a big meal, or too much refined sugar before bed.
  • Practice deep breathing before bed.

Some other steps include:

Tips to sleep well

Create a sleep time routine

  • Train your brain to prepare for sleep by following the same routine every time you need to sleep.
    • Schedule time to be asleep (between 7 and 9 hours,) plus time to get to sleep and wake up (about 30 minutes).
    • Consider whether reading, playing white noise or calming music, or writing in a journal could form part of your sleep time routine. Regularly engaging in similar, restful activities for bed can help you wind down and fall asleep. A hot shower before bed raises your body temperature, so when the temperature cools it signals to your body that it’s time for sleep.
    • Lower the lights to help produce melatonin – a hormone that promotes sleep
    • Disconnect from devices up to 30 minutes before bed

Make your sleep schedule work for you

  • Budget time for your sleep to ensure you are getting the recommended 7-9 hours of sleep each night
  • Whenever possible, wake up and get up at the same time each day, even on your days off!
  • If your sleep is out of whack, adjust your schedule gradually

Prepare to sleep well during the day

TIP: Limit blue light by staying off your devices at least 60 minutes before sleep, switching your devices to night mode (yellow screen) before you use them at night, or by downloading and using a phone app such as f.lux (for Android devices).

Tips for night shift workers

  • Expose yourself to bright light in the evenings and during the night when working.
  • Limit your light exposure in the morning after a shift and use blue-light blocking glasses to prevent sending your body a signal that it’s daytime.
  • Exercising before a night shift tells your brain to be alert.
  • Eating higher protein, lower carbohydrate meals like tuna salad can maintain alertness at night. Try eating a meal like this before you start working.
  • Avoid alcohol when you’ve finished your shift.
  • Try to sleep as soon as you can in the morning after your shift. Don’t busy your mind with lists of things to do.
  • Eat all your food within a 12-hour window. This helps set you up for a refreshing sleep in the day.

Tips around Sleep Apnoea

  • Sleep Apnoea is a physical condition where your breathing is interrupted as you sleep. It stops you getting enough quality sleep for the body to heal itself.
  • You are at risk for Sleep Apnoea if:
    • You snore loudly
    • You have repeated pauses in your breathing, you wake up coughing, or you wake up gasping for breath
    • Your neck circumference is larger than 43.18cm for males or 40.64cm for females
    • You have a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 35 or greater
  • If you are concerned or don’t know what your BMI is – talk to your doctor about your concerns.
  • You can also get more information at Sleep Disorders Australia