Are you sleepy?
A good night's rest is essential for feeling and performing your best each day. Most adults need at least eight hours of uninterrupted sleep at night to maintain optimal mental and physical health.
Use this brief online Sleepiness Test to see if you are more or less sleepy than the general population. You'll get your results immediately along with helpful tips on how to get a good night's sleep. National Sleep Foundation Sleepiness Test.
Tips for Successful Sleep
- Establish a regular routine that includes going to bed and getting up at the same time every day, even on weekends. Maintaining a sleep-wake cycle is the key to better health overall.
- Get an adequate amount of sleep every night. Determine the amount of sleep you need by keeping track of how long you sleep without using an alarm clock for a week. Maintain this "personal" sleep requirement.
- Go to bed when you are sleepy. If you have difficulty falling asleep or wake up shortly after going to sleep, leave the bedroom and read quietly or do some other relaxing activity. Avoid overly bright lights as this can cue your wake cycle.
- Develop sleep rituals before going to bed. Do the same things in the same order before going to bed to cue your body to slow down and relax.
- Avoid stress and worries at bedtime. Address tomorrow's activities, concerns, or distractions earlier in the day. Certain activities, such as listening to soft music, reading, or taking a warm bath can help you wind down.
- Use your bed for sleeping and sex only. Often, doing other activities in bed like watching TV, paying bills, or working only serve to initiate worries and concerns. Let your mind associate the bed with sleeping, relaxing, and pleasure.
- Avoid heavy meals late in the evening; similarly, avoid going to bed hungry. A light snack, especially dairy foods, can help you sleep.
- Reduce your intake of caffeine and nicotine 4-6 hours before going to sleep. Stimulants interfere with your ability to fall asleep and progress into deep sleep.
- Avoid alcohol 4-6 hours before bedtime. As a depressant that slows brain activity, alcohol may initially make you tired, but you will end up having fragmented sleep. In addition, being tired intensifies the effects of alcohol. Alcohol also aggravates snoring and sleep apnea.
- Exercise regularly. Regular exercise, even for 20 minutes, 3 times a week, promotes deep sleep. Finish exercising at least a couple of hours before you go to bed.
- Don't nap for more than 30 minutes or after 3 pm. Avoiding naps altogether will ensure that you are tired at night. Longer naps disrupt the body's ability to stay asleep.
- Maintain a dark, quiet, and cool room to sleep in.
- Use sleeping aids conservatively, and avoid using them for more than one or two nights per month. Avoid sleeping pills altogether if you have obstructive sleep apnea; it can be a deadly combination.
Explore the additional resources below for more support with getting a good night's sleep.
Calm - mindfulness, sleep stories, and relaxation. Also available on the App Store.
National Sleep Foundation - sleep research and education
Healthy Sleep - information and videos from Harvard University
Michigan Medicine Sleep Disorders Center - sleep experts who can diagnose and treat sleep disorders
Additionally, U-M partners with The StayWell Company, LLC, a national provider of health improvement services, to offer free programs to benefits-eligible faculty and staff:
- Sleep Tight Self-Directed Coaching, an online, self-paced program
- Sleep Well, an 8-week program focused on developing better sleep skills
These programs are free and qualify for MHealthy Rewards 2018. Benefits-eligible faculty and staff can go to the StayWell Portal to get started and learn how to successfully complete these programs to earn points towards a $100 reward.
If a lack of sleep continues to be a concern for you, we encourage you to seek help. For no-cost confidential counseling or more ideas on how to manage sleep problems, contact your employee assistance program:
- Michigan Medicine Employees: contact the Office of Counseling and Workplace Resilience at (734) 763-5409 or by email (* see confidentiality statement below)
- Campus employees: contact the Faculty and Staff Counseling and Consultation Office at (734) 936-8660 or by email
* Electronic Mail is not secure, may not be read every day, and should not be used for urgent or sensitive issues.