Man restfully sleeping

Mind-Body Connection: What about sleep?

Putting you unapologetically first means spending roughly one-third of our lives sleeping. This critical component of our wellness is often deprioritized, but we are here to raise it up. Read on to make sleep health a focus of your wellness journey.

What is sleep and how much do I really need?

  • Sleep cycles — circadian rhythms, also known as your body’s internal clock, are the directors of sleep and change as we age. Sleep occurs in 4 stages that we cycle through 4-6 times during sleep, spending around 90 minutes in each cycle.
  • Sleep time — adults need 7-9 hours of sleep each day; older adults are on the lower end of this range and kids need far more. Be mindful of your ever-changing sleep needs, particularly with age and conditions of life. Find out how much sleep you need by doing your own experiment:
    • Step 1: choose a consistent sleep time and record it
    • Step 2: record your natural (no alarm) wake time and how you felt when you fell asleep and woke
    • Step 3: repeat until you see a pattern of consistent sleep hours
  • Sleep quality — Have a hard time staying asleep or getting to sleep? You are not alone! Poor sleep quality can cause emotional and physical distress so take control with our tips below. Reach out to your healthcare provider to explore other contributors such as sleep apnea, other sleep disorders, or emotional health.

Why do I need sleep?

What can help improve my sleep health?

Sleep hygiene is sleep habits that will empower your sleep health journey. Here are a few ins and outs for your sleep clean-up:

 Sleep INS Sleep OUTS


Establish a consistent sleep time where you can get 7-9 hours of sleep when you feel tired, and use a routine to wind down like stretching, meditation, or calming music.


A short nap early in the day may boost cognitive performance, but if you have trouble falling or staying asleep at sleep time eliminate naps.


Ensure your sleeping environment is relaxing, dark, and at a comfortable temperature. Start with an air temperature between 66 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit (19-21 degrees Celsius) and experiment to find the best temperature for you.


Avoid caffeine for at least 6 hours before sleep time. Caffeine metabolism can vary from person to person due to genetic differences. Experiment to determine the best timing for you.


Daylight is important for your circadian clock and melatonin production (sleep hormone). Light therapy may help if you cannot get enough.

Devices and bright light near sleep time

Bright lights after dark may alter your sleep cycles; dim lights after dark and remove devices from your sleep environment or ensure they are in night mode and avoid using them before sleep time.

Eating pattern

Following a healthy eating pattern with quality carbs (if you eat them) and getting enough vitamin D may influence sleep quality and quantity. Research is evolving on sleep effects from specific foods which naturally contain melatonin (sleep hormone).


Let go of the day’s stress as much as you can. Breathing and relaxation, mindfulness, and meditation practices can help.


Regular exercise can support your sleep health and improve sleep quality.


Limit excessive fluids and alcohol before sleep time.


Evidence-based research continues to build on the importance of sleep to optimize your health in all stages of life. Prioritize yourself by being mindful of your needs and taking steps to better sleep health.