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How To Optimize Your Sleep

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Healthy sleep habits are needed for optimal health.

During sleep, your immune system releases proteins called cytokines, some of which help promote sleep. Certain cytokines need to increase when you have an infection or inflammation, or when you’re under stress. Sleep deprivation may decrease production of these protective cytokines. In addition, infection-fighting antibodies and cells are reduced during periods when you don’t get enough sleep.

We’re sharing a few key steps to create healthy habits to optimize your sleep:

Develop A Routine

This is the most important step. Your body will recognize these cues and it helps to prepare for sleep

• Set and stick with the same bedtime and wake time daily (+/- 20 minutes)

• Aim for 7-9 hours of sleep each night

• Implement calming strategies such as journaling, meditation, a warm bath, reading, gentle stretch, evening yoga

Synchronize Your Sleep

Try to encounter the morning blue light from the sun with your skin soaking in the light as well as your eyeballs.

• Use a sunlight lamp if you are unable to see the sun for 20 minutes every morning.

• Avoid blue light after the sunsets (this includes screens!)

Avoid Stimulants 

• Avoid nicotine, caffeine, and alcohol. These all disrupt our sleep cycle (even that early morning coffee and late night chocolate can have a stimulating effect.

• Strenuous/challenging exercise within 3 hours of bedtime

• Heavy meals within 2-3 hours before bedtime

• Staying in bed for longer than 20 minutes if you are tossing and turning

• Screen time within 2 hours of bedtime

    • Replace this activity with calming strategies

    • If you must work with a screen, utilize blue light blocking glasses or screen protectors

Create Your Environment

Cool & Dark

• Approximately 65 degrees works well for most

• Apply room darkening curtains to reduce exposure to street lights

Organized & Calm

• Reduce visual stimuli

• Eliminate clutter and all work related tasks from your bedroom

• Reserve the bedroom for sleep & intimacy only

• Choose relaxing colors + scents

    • Blues, purples, or neutral paint and textile colors

Essential Oils

• Lavender, Jasmine or Sandalwood

Free Guide to Medicinal TeasExplore Non-Caffeinated Herbal Teas

• Lemon Balm Tea

• Valerian Tea

• Passionfruit Tea


Sleep From 10 p.m. to 2 a.m.

Sleeping within this timeframe is the most valuable time for deep, restorative sleep.



An Accupressure mat is a wonderful tool to help relax prior to sleep.

Eat Real Food

Good nutrition promotes better sleep. Research shows that a diet deplete from diverse minerals and vitamins can contribute to insomnia.

If you’re struggling with creating a healthy sleep routine or suffering the effects of lack of sleep, we encourage you to take action and meet with our medical team for an assessment and to learn more.


Vince WinklerPrins, MD, FAAFP

Traverse City & Petoskey

Now Accepting New Direct Primary Care Patients