Sleep Tips with World Renowned Sleep Expert: Dr. Meeta Singh
Purple's National Sleep Week Partner Breaks Down What it Takes To Sleep Better
Sleep is essential for overall health and well-being, and it plays a critical role in physical, mental, and emotional performance. Yet, many people overlook the importance of sleep and often prioritize other aspects of their lives over getting enough rest. My name is Dr. Meeta Singh, MD, and I’m an expert on all things sleep. I’m a board-certified psychiatrist and sleep medicine specialist. In addition to studying at the Mayo Clinic, I completed a sleep fellowship at the Henry Ford Health System.
Today, I’m fortunate to work with professional and collegiate athletes, Olympic athletes, and others to help optimize their sleep for improved performance. In this post, we'll get into why sleep is so important for health and performance and provide helpful tips that explain how you can start getting better quality sleep.
So, how does sleep help the body to heal and repair itself? When we sleep, our bodies produce hormones that help repair damaged cells, regulate our metabolism, and even strengthen our immune system. Lack of sleep can actually weaken our immune system, making us more susceptible to illnesses and infections. Poor sleep quality has also been linked to chronic health conditions such as diabetes, obesity, and cardiovascular disease.
In addition to physical health, sleep plays an important role in mental health and serves a critical role in cognitive function and emotional well-being. Actions like attention, reaction time, and decision making can all be negatively impacted when you’re not getting enough sleep. Lack of sleep can also affect our mood and emotional regulation, leading to irritability, anxiety, and depression. Adequate sleep helps us stay focused, alert, attentive, and is essential for learning and memory consolidation.
Now that we’ve established why sleep is absolutely essential for all aspects of health and performance, let’s talk about five things you can do for overall better sleep:
Stick to a consistent sleep schedule. Try to go to bed and wake up at the same time every day, even on weekends. This helps regulate your body's sleep-wake cycle, making it easier to fall asleep and wake up feeling refreshed.
Create a comfortable sleep environment. Invest in a comfortable, quality mattress and pillows to support your body while you sleep. Make sure your bedroom is cool, dark, and quiet. Use blackout curtains or eye masks to block out light, and earplugs or white noise machines to block out noise.
Practice good sleep hygiene. Avoid stimulants like caffeine and nicotine in the hours leading up to bedtime. Additionally, limit alcohol consumption and heavy meals close to bedtime, as these can disrupt your sleep. Make sure to also turn off electronic devices an hour or two before bed, as the blue light emitted by screens can interfere with your body's natural sleep rhythms.
Use tools to help manage stress and anxiety. Stress and anxiety can interfere with your ability to fall asleep and stay asleep. Consider practicing relaxation techniques, such as deep breathing, meditation, or yoga, to help calm your mind and body before bedtime.
A little exercise goes a long way. Regular exercise has been shown to improve sleep quality and help you fall asleep faster. Aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise most days of the week, but avoid exercising too close to bedtime, as this can actually make it harder to fall asleep.
Give sleep the attention and respect it deserves as a critical aspect of health and performance, and physical, mental, and emotional well-being. By prioritizing sleep and implementing healthy sleep habits, we can improve our overall health, cognitive function, and productivity. Use the tips above to sleep like a pro and you'll be on your way to a happier, healthier, and more productive life!