Shifting Into Healthy Sleep

Published Tuesday, September 20, 2022

Shifting Into Healthy Sleep

Shifting Into Healthy Sleep

By Samantha Morris, Health Promotion Project Assistant

Have you ever found yourself exhausted and crawling into bed after a busy day, only to continue lying there for what seems like hours before falling asleep? Don’t worry, you are not alone.

Around 75 per cent of Canadians between the ages of 18 and 64 met the recommended sleep guidelines (seven to nine hours) in 2020, but only 65 per cent reported having high quality sleep. Sleep duration and quality was found to be lowest for those aged 35 to 49 due to the likeliness of having increased work and family demands. Other factors like socioeconomic status, employment status, electronic media use, physical activity and sedentary behaviours were also related to changes in sleep quality and duration. Individuals with irregular sleep schedules are more likely to report poor sleep quality, but still manage to accumulate enough sleep throughout the day.

So what is better, duration or quality? In order to answer that question, it is important to understand what sleep is and how it can effect us.  

For Natalie Collings, Ontario Clinical Expert Educator and a national technical community leader for Vitalaire, sleep is her passion. “Sleep is a natural, regularly recurring condition of rest for the body and mind, during which the eyes are usually closed and there is little or no conscious thought or voluntary movement, but there is intermittent dreaming,” she explains.

Working as a respiratory therapist for the past 22 years, Collings has come across a multitude of different sleep conditions and patient concerns. With a strong desire to help others, educating people on why sleep is important and ways to get that good night sleep is a rewarding endeavour.     

Next week, Collings will be the expert speaker for Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre’s Healthy Get-Together. This half hour virtual event will focus on what happens when you are asleep and ways to improve sleep hygiene. Whether you are accustomed to shiftwork or work consistently throughout the day, there are steps you can take to improve the length and quality of your sleep in order to enhance your overall health and wellbeing.

Leading up to the event, Collings shared a few of her tips for getting that elusive good night sleep:

  1. Sleep in a cool, dark room. Regulate the temperature in your room so that you can comfortably use a blanket without feeling overheated. Try to eliminate all sources of light exposure to keep your room as dark as possible.
  2. Try to minimize consumption of beverages that contain high levels of caffeine throughout the day, especially closer to the time you plan on sleeping.
  3. Remove any unnecessary electronic devices from where you are sleeping or put them on ‘do not disturb’ mode. This will prevent the chances of you being woken or distracted during your designated sleep time.

To learn more about improving your sleep hygiene, join our virtual Healthy Get-Together event featuring Natalie Collings on Wednesday, September 14, 2022 at 12:00 pm EST by visiting

The Healthy Get-Together speaker series is available to both Hospital staff and the public, providing information about chronic disease prevention strategies and healthy living in a fun and engaging way. These sessions are held bi-monthly and feature a guest speaker from our Hospital staff or a community expert. Past sessions are can be viewed by visiting


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