July’s Small Shift: Prioritizing Sleep

July 9, 2024 · Baton Rouge, LA

Pennington Biomedical encourages “Small Shifts” for building a foundation toward improved health

Small shifts can make a big impact on a person’s long-term health, and that includes catching some Z's. Quality sleep is essential for physical health, mental clarity and emotional resilience. This month, making a few small adjustments to sleep routines can enhance overall health and energy levels.

Here are a few tips to help prioritize sleep: 

  • Create a Sleep Schedule: Aim to go to bed and wake up at the same time every day, even on weekends. Consistency helps regulate your body's internal clock.
  • Wind Down Before Bed: Establish a relaxing pre-sleep routine. This might include reading a book, taking a warm bath, or practicing meditation.
  • Limit Screen Time: Reduce exposure to screens at least an hour before bedtime. The blue light from phones, tablets, and computers can interfere with your sleep cycle.
  • Optimize Your Sleep Environment: Make your bedroom a sleep sanctuary. Keep it cool, dark, and quiet, and invest in a comfortable mattress and pillows.

“Sleep is complex, but it affects everything,” said Associate Professor Dr. Prachi Singh, director of the Pennington Biomedical’s Sleep and Cardiometabolic Health Lab. “Your mental health and your physical health, everything is interconnected.”

For those who find sleep challenging, they can try making small shifts to their nighttime routine. Dr. Singh said that one of the best things about sleep is that people are naturally inclined to do it. And it doesn’t cost anything.

“Sleep is free!” Dr. Singh said. “It’s the easiest thing you can do to improve your health. If you focus on improving sleep, then depression and anxiety levels go down. You’re able to feel happier and see an improved quality of life.”

This year, the Pennington Biomedical Research Center is encouraging “Small Shifts” in food choices, exercise and daily routines. Through research studies undertaken by Pennington Biomedical scientists, the common refrain that emerged is that subtle, simple adjustments to personal habits and choices can build a foundation for lasting well-being. 

Small shifts are something that everyone can do and can be incorporated into everyday life. Small shifts add up, and they are reinforcing, which further promotes the activity.

“In our mission to address and prevent disease, we feel that small shifts in diet, attitude, exercise and behavior can go a long way toward improving not only general health, but mental, physical and emotional health,” said Dr. John Kirwan, Pennington Biomedical Executive Director.

To take part in Pennington Biomedical’s “Small Shifts” campaign, people are encouraged to sign up online at pbrc.edu/smallshifts. Upon signing up, participants will receive a free health journal with helpful resources, a habit tracker, a meal planner and recipes from Pennington Biomedical’s Metabolic Research Kitchen.

Additionally, participants will receive monthly “Small Shifts” messages in which researchers will provide guidance through new small shifts. Participants’ names will be entered into monthly drawings for giveaways, including water bottles, t-shirts, Bluetooth earphones and other prizes.

For more information contact:

Joe Coussan, Media Relations Manager, joe.coussan@pbrc.edu, 225-763-3049 or Ernie Ballard, Senior Director of Communications & Marketing, ernie.ballard@pbrc.edu, 225-263-2677.

About the Pennington Biomedical Research Center

The Pennington Biomedical Research Center is at the forefront of medical discovery as it relates to understanding the triggers of obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, cancer and dementia. The Center conducts basic, clinical, and population research, and is a campus of the LSU System. The research enterprise at Pennington Biomedical includes over 530 employees within a network of 44 clinics and research laboratories, and 13 highly specialized core service facilities. Its scientists and physician/scientists are supported by research trainees, lab technicians, nurses, dietitians, and other support personnel. Pennington Biomedical is a state-of-the-art research facility on a 222-acre campus in Baton Rouge. For more information, see www.pbrc.edu.

Pennington Biomedical Research Center
6400 Perkins Road
Baton Rouge, LA 70808