Live your Healthiest Life with a 7-Day Sleep Makeover to Take You from Exhausted to Energized

by Liz Stovall, MPH Manger, Division of Fitness and Wellness

Follow these simple steps to put yourself on the path to a fully energized, fully awake YOU! Start by running a “7 for 7” sleep experiment. Seven hours of sleep for seven nights in a row. No excuses. Even if you think you can function well on five or six hours. This is non-negotiable. Which means you will also need to…

Pick a bedtime. Choosing a set time that you day will end is THE KEY to getting those seven hours. If you know when you must wake up back it up by 7 hours and viola, that is your bedtime! This becomes the hard stop for your day. To close your eyes at the time you’ve picked, you’ll need to…

Establish a wind down routine. A regular wind down routine is vital to falling asleep more easily at night and staying asleep until morning. You will want to begin this routine about an hour before bedtime, giving your body and mind time to decompress from your day.

  • Cut out caffeine after noon. Caffeine can temporarily block sleep-inducing chemicals in the brain and increase adrenaline production.
  • Clean up the clutter. Visual clutter stresses us out, so tidying up each evening helps you feel ready for bed. This is why spas are so Zen! Just take a few minutes to put things away.
  • Dim the lights. Go through the house and dim the lights (or turn some off if you don’t have dimmer switches). This sends a subtle signal to your brain that it should start to wind down.
  • Soften sound in the house. Like the lighting, changing the soundtrack in the house in the hour before bedtime can be powerful. Choose music or TV programming carefully so the sounds in the house are aligned with your goal of getting to sleep.
  • Stow your devices. I know, I know…but do it. Take the phone and the tablet and ALL the electronics that emit blue light and put them away. A digital detox for the last waking hour is HUGE to sleep wellness. It will keep you from scrolling mindlessly for hours. Instead, read or journal, or have a conversation with someone you love. PS – if your phone is your alarm, put it in the next room and turn up the volume or buy an analog alarm clock.
  • Clear your head. If your thoughts prevent you form falling asleep, keep a journal or notebook on your nightstand. If you are worried you might forget an errand or deadline the next day – jot it down. If you are stressing about something, write about it. This simple act of clearing your head is the last step toward a restful night of sleep.

For more information on healthy sleep, visit the National Sleep Foundation at