Poor sleep can have physical and mental health consequences.

Poor sleep can have physical and mental health consequences.

Improve sleep: a valuable New Year’s resolution


Poor sleep can not only leave you feeling lousy, emotional and low on energy, it can also make you more vulnerable to high blood pressure, obesity, diabetes and mental health problems, say sleep experts. So, improving one’s slumber could be a good goal to consider as Canadians tend to resolve to make positive changes for the New Year.

Go for quality over quantity, advises expert

“Sleep is extremely important for health,” says Colleen Carney, an associate professor and director of a sleep and depression laboratory at Ryerson University in Toronto.


It is not the number of hours one sleeps that is important, she says, but the quality of sleep. Most people need between six and nine hours, and the optimum amount varies from person to person.

Answering emails or the phone can spark problem-solving activity and wakefulness and is best avoided right before bedtime.
Answering emails or the phone can spark problem-solving activity and wakefulness and is best avoided right before bedtime.

Teens have trouble

Canadian teenagers often have a difficult time managing sleep because their body clocks shift making them want to go to sleep later and wake later. Yet school hours often prevent them from being able to do that. Some jurisdictions in Canada are considering changing school hours to help teens get more sleep.

As Canadians age, they tend to have more insomnia or suffer from sleep apnea whereby they may stop breathing several times during the night. Persistent apnea can be fatal.

Some people worry very much about sleep and develop an obsession which may also create or worsen insomnia.

Substances affect sleep

To improve sleep Carney has several suggestions. First, she advises people to avoid taking substances be they alcohol, caffeine, marijuana or other drugs.  She says many people say they have no trouble sleeping after drinking coffee, or they may have a drink to relax, but all of these can affect the quality of sleep.

Next, she says to take an hour before bed time to wind down. This could involve watching television, reading, pursuing hobbies or taking a hot bath. Carney says it’s best to avoid using the phone or internet, or thinking about problems which could make one more alert and wakeful.

We advise children to settle down with a book before bed and that advice is good for adults too.
We advise children to settle down with a book before bed and that advice is good for adults too.

Be like a kid, says expert

“Basically, the way to fix your sleep is to think about what we do for kids,” says Carney. “For kids, we want to make sure they’re active during the day, they get enough sunlight…and they have the hour wind-down routine which usually for them is a bath and a book. It’s predictable. It’s about the same time every day and they get an adequate amount of time in bed.

“We don’t outgrow any of those needs, any of those pieces of advice. And when any of those pieces are missing as adults, we suffer.”

Prof. Colleen Carney says the advice we give to children about sleep applies to adults too.
Prof. Colleen Carney says the advice we give to children about sleep applies to adults too.
Tagged with: , , , ,
Posted in Health, Society

Do you want to report an error or a typo? Click here!

@*@ Comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

 characters available

Note: By submitting your comments, you acknowledge that Radio Canada International has the right to reproduce, broadcast and publicize those comments or any part thereof in any manner whatsoever. Radio Canada International does not endorse any of the views posted. Your comments will be pre-moderated and published if they meet netiquette guidelines.

Netiquette »

When you express your personal opinion in an online forum, you must be as courteous as if you were speaking with someone face-to-face. Insults and personal attacks will not be tolerated. To disagree with an opinion, an idea or an event is one thing, but to show disrespect for other people is quite another. Great minds don’t always think alike—and that’s precisely what makes online dialogue so interesting and valuable.

Netiquette is the set of rules of conduct governing how you should behave when communicating via the Internet. Before you post a message to a blog or forum, it’s important to read and understand these rules. Otherwise, you may be banned from posting.

  1. RCInet.ca’s online forums are not anonymous. Users must register, and give their full name and place of residence, which are displayed alongside each of their comments. RCInet.ca reserves the right not to publish comments if there is any doubt as to the identity of their author.
  2. Assuming the identity of another person with intent to mislead or cause harm is a serious infraction that may result in the offender being banned.
  3. RCInet.ca’s online forums are open to everyone, without regard to age, ethnic origin, religion, gender or sexual orientation.
  4. Comments that are defamatory, hateful, racist, xenophobic, sexist, or that disparage an ethnic origin, religious affiliation or age group will not be published.
  5. In online speak, writing in ALL CAPS is considered yelling, and may be interpreted as aggressive behaviour, which is unpleasant for the people reading. Any message containing one or more words in all caps (except for initialisms and acronyms) will be rejected, as will any message containing one or more words in bold, italic or underlined characters.
  6. Use of vulgar, obscene or objectionable language is prohibited. Forums are public places and your comments could offend some users. People who use inappropriate language will be banned.
  7. Mutual respect is essential among users. Insulting, threatening or harassing another user is prohibited. You can express your disagreement with an idea without attacking anyone.
  8. Exchanging arguments and opposing views is a key component of healthy debate, but it should not turn into a dialogue or private discussion between two users who address each other without regard for the other participants. Messages of this type will not be posted.
  9. Radio Canada International publishes contents in five languages. The language used in the forums has to be the same as the contents we publish. The usage of other languages, with the exception of some words, is forbidden. Messages that are off-topic will not be published.
  10. Making repetitive posts disrupts the flow of discussions and will not be tolerated.
  11. Adding images or any other type of file to comments is forbidden. Including hyperlinks to other websites is allowed, as long as they comply with netiquette. Radio Canada International  is in no way responsible for the content of such sites, however.
  12. Copying and pasting text written by someone else, even if you credit the author, is unacceptable if that text makes up the majority of your comment.
  13. Posting any type of advertising or call to action, in any form, to Radio Canada International  forums is prohibited.
  14. All comments and other types of content are moderated before publication. Radio Canada International  reserves the right to refuse any comment for publication.
  15. Radio Canada International  reserves the right to close a forum at any time, without notice.
  16. Radio Canada International  reserves the right to amend this code of conduct (netiquette) at any time, without notice.
  17. By participating in its online forums, you allow Radio Canada International to publish your comments on the web for an indefinite time. This also implies that these messages will be indexed by Internet search engines.
  18. Radio Canada International has no obligation to remove your messages from the web if one day you request it. We invite you to carefully consider your comments and the consequences of their posting.