Healthy Living

6 Steps to Better Sleep

Jul. 2, 2024
If you toss and turn your way from midnight to morning, you’re missing out on some of the great health and wellness benefits of good sleep. Whether it's improvements to your immune system, heart health, or even your brain--your body gets a lot done for your health while you sleep. That's why it's so important to prioritize getting enough quality sleep.

UR Medicine sleep experts Dr. Jonathan Marcus and Dr. Elizabeth Nocera offer six steps to help you make restful nights a priority.

How can I increase my sleep quality?

Z's as a symbol of sleep.

              1. Don't oversleep
              2. Get up at the same time every morning
              3. Exercise regularly
              4. Make your bedroom comfortable
              5. Don't lay in bed unless you're tired
              6. Avoid checking the time


1. Don't oversleep.

Sleep only as much as you need to feel refreshed the following day. It’s important to not spend too much time in bed trying to sleep. Excessively long times in bed can lead to fragmented (waking up a lot) and shallow sleep. Most adults need 7 to 9 hours of sleep per night.

2. Get up at the same time every morning.

Do this even on weekends and holidays. This helps to set your “biological clock.” Even better, go to sleep at the same time each night, too.

3. Exercise regularly.

Exercise improves the quality of sleep, allowing you to fall asleep and stay asleep more easily. Many people do best to exercise during the morning or daytime hours and should avoid exercise within three hours of bedtime.

However, others find that evening exercise will help them improve their sleep. Go ahead, experiment with the timing of your exercise. You should always talk to your doctor before you begin an exercise program.

Our Research on Sleep

The Sleep & Neurophysiology Research Laboratory is dedicated to the study of the causes, consequences, and treatments for insomnia.

About the Lab

4. Make your bedroom comfortable.

Quiet, cool, dark atmospheres help improve sleep. An easy way to remember this: your bedroom should remind you of a cave. While this may not sound romantic, it seems to work for bats. Bats are champion sleepers, getting about 16 hours of sleep each day—likely because they sleep in dark, cool caves.

5. Don’t go to bed unless you are tired.

If you aren’t sleepy at bedtime, don't just lay in bed. Get up and do something else. Read a book, listen to soft music, or browse through a magazine. Find something relaxing, but not stimulating, to take your mind off of worries about sleep. This will relax your body and distract your mind.

6. Avoid checking the time.

Turn that phone upside-down. Clock-watching can lead to worry, frustration, and anger—all of which can interfere with a good night’s sleep.

Not only that, but when you check your phone for the time you might see notifications, distracting you from falling asleep.


Treating Sleep Disorders

The UR Medicine Sleep Center is the largest sleep disorders facility in western New York. Our collaborative approach allows experienced providers from multiple departments to factor in all medical conditions a patient might have.

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