Sleep and How to Improve It

Get Better Sleep

Sufficient sleep is a known factor in good health and wellbeing. Yet, according to a study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than one-third of American adults are not getting enough sleep on a regular basis. Plus, some say sleep quality has more impact on your overall well-being than sleep quantity. Read on to find out how your Columbia benefits can help you improve both.

Sleep Problems

Solution: More physical activity throughout the day 

Exercising can reduce stress and strengthen circadian rhythms, which drive your internal clock. By exercising, you can increase the time you spend in deep sleep, the physically restorative sleep phase.

Take a walk around the block; start walking uphill; build up to a run. If you don’t exercise regularly, getting started can be as challenging as any lifestyle change. Finding help, however, is easy. Your Columbia benefits include one-on-one wellness coaching and self-guided tools. And did you know about the discounted gym membershipsoffered through the University’s Office of Work/Life?

Tip: Avoid stimulants like smoking, caffeine or large meals in the hours leading up to bedtime.

Not convinced? Oregon State University researchers found that 150 minutes—just 2 ½ hours—of physical activity per week provide a 65% improvement in sleep quality.

Solution: Relieve Stress

If your to-do list keeps you up at night, you’re not alone. One in four Americans develops insomnia each year and stress is one of the leading causes.

If exercise (see You're Tired, above) isn’t doing the trick, try a hot shower, burn a scented candle (lavender is known to soothe) and consider your caffeine intake (stimulants can increase anxiety). Your Columbia benefits include resources to help with stress reduction, which can contribute to a better night’s sleep.

*Username: Columbia; Password: eap

Reminder: You can reach out to someone at the Employee Assistance Program at any time. Not just when things get too busy, stressful or overwhelming. If everyday issues are keeping you up at night, consider the free, short-term therapy option: Three sessions per topic, with a licensed professional offering confidential guidance and counseling.

  • Make sleep a priority
  • Design your bedroom in a way that helps you sleep
  • Give your brain a break from phone, computer and TV screens before bedtime
  • Find your magic number: Go to bed 15 minutes earlier each night until you wake up feeling refreshed, then stick with that bedtime

One more stat: More than 90% of Americans attribute their mattress to a good or bad night’s sleep—evaluate yours.

Go to the Office of Work-Life's Sleep Health page for more.