Sleep is a subject we talk about constantly in the office and on the blog, and our passion for the topic is mirrored by our society at large. But while sleep is obviously one of the foremost pillars of wellness, we tend to brush past the subject entirely. That’s why Dr. Preeti Devnani MD has dedicated her career to understanding and managing sleep disorders, as well as raising what she calls “Sleep Awareness” among the medical community and general public.

The science of sleep is extremely fascinating, and it’s clearly evident that we are still in the nascent phase of learning much about the various physiological aspects and the impact of sleep disorders on general health,” says Dr. Devnani.

“Ideally a person must sleep from sunset to sunrise, optimizing the cumulative effect on the homeostatic and circadian drive for ideal physiology. In the modern era, we’re burning the candle at both ends. We’ve become a 24-hour society due to social and work stressors. We need to make a consistent effort to sleep at the same time and maintain a sleep and wake schedule. Recent studies have shown that dysregulation of this sleep cycle (or delayed sleep circadian phase) can have an adverse effect on the metabolic functions of the body.” You heard that right. Not getting proper sleep can even make you gain weight. Read on for Dr. Devnani’s 10 Commandments for Getting a Good Night’s Sleep, and fight your insomnia naturally.

photo by Kristen Kilpatrick

1. Keep a regular schedule. Regular times for meals, medications, chores and other activities help keep the inner clock running smoothly.

2. Keep a fixed time for going to bed and awakening each day.

photo by Teal Thomsen

3. Restrict water intake in the late evening and before bed.

4. Avoid caffeinated drinks and food before within 4 to 5 hours of bed time such as tea, coffee, soft drinks, and chocolate.

photo by Hannah Haston

5. Avoid alcohol before sleep – it may cause early onset of sleep but the sleep is more likely to be fragmented.

6. Light form of physical exercise is recommended, preferably not closer than 4 hours to bedtime.

photo by Kathryn Worsham

7. Avoiding electronics such as television, computers, laptops at bedtime is recommended.

8. Do not spend excessive amounts of time in bed. Use your bed only for sleep and intimacy.

photo by Melissa Gidney

9. A relaxing pre-sleep ritual such as a warm bath, light bedtime snack, or 10 minutes of reading may help. Avoid heavy meals before bedtime.

10. Avoid sleeping in the daytime. If required, a short nap less than 30 minutes is recommended, no later than 3 pm.

Learn more about Dr. Devnani’s practice at the Sleep Disorders Clinic, and check out their facebook page here.

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Comments (16)
  1. 1
    miki September 27, 2017 at 8:03 am

    very useful tips!!
    miki x

  2. 2
    passportforliving September 27, 2017 at 8:48 am

    Isn’t this just standard sleep hygiene? You don’t need to be a sleep expert to know all of this…wish it worked for me though! Sometimes, nothing I do will help me get to sleep even if I follow all the rules and recommendations.

  3. 3
    Eva September 27, 2017 at 10:32 am

    Ugh, I had a terrible night’s sleep last night and could not shut my brain off. I think it was a combo of coffee too late in the day, and a chai in the afternoon, but working on my computer up until late. I didn’t give myself time to unwind and relax. Thanks for the reminders, hopefully I see an improvement tonight!

  4. 4
    TAMIKA RHODES September 27, 2017 at 10:21 pm

    If I may add, working night shift, I’ve learned the importance of all of these things particularly since I’m fighting my circadian rhythm. I make certain to eschew caffeinated anything within four hours of bedtime, try to keep the bed free of “work” things, and calm my mind both with ritual (meal, darkening of the room, pjs) and essential oils. I’ve had such great success diffusing a lavender, cedarwood and vetiver blend – in fact, filling and turning on the diffuser is part of my bedtime ritual! Love this article <3

  5. 5
    Diane M Foos September 30, 2017 at 7:17 am

    Good advice but not helpful for the myriad of workers (nurses, doctors, police, etc.) who must work night shift intermittently. Please offer advice for those people.

    • Frances September 30, 2017 at 3:31 pm

      Unfortunately, the bottom line is that working night shifts for a long time is very damaging to our health, and there is no way to mitigate it. Lots of research proves that. We are ‘built’ to sleep when it gets dark and wake up when it’s daylight. Even lamps haven’t done us much good. Personally: I worked the 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. shift on a med/surg ward for only 14 months, and I’ve never really recovered.

  6. 6
    Stacie Bennett September 30, 2017 at 12:49 pm

    hard to do when your schedule at work includes opening and closing

  7. 7
    Jan Dalgaard September 30, 2017 at 6:08 pm

    I used to work rotating shifts and was a big fan of self hypnotic tapes. I can still relax my body by just thinking of them.

  8. 8
    Anjali September 30, 2017 at 7:49 pm

    Please also consider hormone imbalance

  9. 9
    Eva Gerard October 1, 2017 at 8:45 am

    well i hate evenings as there’s no sleep no matter what I do, count sheep, have a few deep breaths etc etc and look at my husband peacefully sleeping and i feel envious as he can sleep standing up. not sure what else to do?

  10. 10
    moyrapapworth October 1, 2017 at 3:50 pm

    I do have trouble going to sleep a lot of the time so I will be interested to learn more about ways to correct that.

  11. 11
    Angela October 3, 2017 at 2:27 pm

    I find doing deep breathing exercises helps me relax a bit and get drowsy. Stretching also helps me a bit.

    Blush & Pearls by Angela

  12. 12
    Fatima October 15, 2017 at 11:33 am

    Amazing tips thanks for sharing