Making your Dream of Better Sleep Come True


For many people, the notion of waking up feeling well-rested is just a vision from a dream. If you’re struggling to get the appropriate amount of rest, you’re not alone. In fact, several North American studies suggest sleep troubles are on the rise. But you don’t have to take poor sleep lying down: the tips below can help you discover simple solutions that’ll get your sleep cycle back on track.

Make your bedroom a sleep zone. Does your bedroom look more like a high-tech electronics store than a serene retreat? Surrounding yourself with TVs, computers, video games, etc., before slumber can all, literally, leave you feeling “wired” or stressed, making it nearly impossible for you to switch off and fall asleep. Remove sleep disrupters and work on creating a sleep-centred room that is comfortable, cool, quiet and dark. If you work shifts and usually sleep during daylight hours, then invest in some blackout curtains, an eye mask and something to generate white noise (e.g., a fan). Is your partner’s snoring sabotaging your snooze? Try wearing ear plugs or sleeping in a separate room. Better still, encourage your mate to consult a physician to ensure he or she is not suffering from sleep apnea—a potentially dangerous sleep disorder that slows or stops breathing for 10 seconds or more at a time.

Stay on schedule. Staying up until the wee hours of the night and sleeping in until noon on weekends might seem like a great idea at the time, but it can seriously disrupt your body’s sleep schedule—especially when it’s time to go back to your weekday, early-to-bed, early-to-rise routine. Whenever possible keep your snooze schedule relatively consistent: try not to go to bed more than an hour past your weekday bed time and limit sleep-ins to an extra hour in the morning.

Exercise (but do it early). As if improved health, weight loss/maintenance and a boost in mood weren’t reasons enough to get moving, several studies also suggest regular exercise earlier in the day promotes better sleep at night. Ensure you finish your workout two to three hours before you hit the sack though, as exercising too close to bedtime can actually “wake up” your body and make falling asleep more difficult.

Steer clear of stimulants and sleep disturbers. Consuming stimulants such as caffeine (found in coffee, tea, colas and chocolate) too close to bed time may cause you to toss and turn or clock-watch in the middle of the night. Depending on your sensitivity, you may need to avoid caffeinated food and drinks anywhere from two to 12 hours before your bedtime. And while you may think that glass of wine or beer will help you fall asleep, alcohol can actually spoil your slumber, so it’s best to pass on the nightcap.

Create relaxing rituals that encourage you to unwind before bed. Whether it’s soaking in a warm bath, reading a few chapters of a novel or meditation, creating a consistent pre-bed routine can help you shed some of the day’s stress (that can keep you up at night) and encourage your body and mind to unwind.

Get to the root of the problem. Insomnia or poor sleep can be a complicated issue caused by a series of factors. Medication, a physical condition—such as chronic pain, pregnancy, menopause and restless leg syndrome—as well as emotional or mental concerns—like depression, anxiety and stress—can all interfere with your ability to snooze. With over 85 different sleep disorders in existence, it’s wise to seek the support of a medical professional. Signs of a sleep disorder may include:
•Frequent trouble falling asleep and/or trouble staying asleep throughout the night
•Difficulty completing or focusing on day-to-day tasks at home, work or school
•Feeling exhausted even after seven or eight hours of sleep
•Frequent forgetfulness
•Mood swings
•Falling asleep while driving
If one or more of these symptoms sound familiar, consult your health professional immediately.

Poor sleep doesn’t have to be a fact of life. By taking a few simple steps, understanding the source of your sleep disturbances and getting the support of a medical professional when necessary, it is possible to make that dream of great sleep a reality.

Fall into Fitness: UHN Wellness – Group Exercise Schedule

With September upon us, and students across the city returning to the classroom, what better time to get into UHN Wellness Group Exercise Classes yourself?

spin 2

Offered at several locations across the organization, there’s an opportunity to improve your health and well-being near you! For thirty to sixty minutes at a time, join your colleagues and enjoy a variety of the activities available.

Please click on the link below to view the group exercise classes that are available to all UHN employees:

Group Exercise Schedule – September-October 2014

Hoping to focus on flexibility and mobility while taking time to energize? Attend any of the 8 weekly Yoga classes offered at 5 of our sites.

Looking to focus on core strength, stability and posture? Participate in any of the 4 weekly Pilates classes offered at 3 locations.

With several other formats to choose from, UHN employees can participate in any of the classes on the schedule above, on a drop-in basis, by purchasing a Flex Pass. Passes are available on the eLearning system.

New to UHN Wellness?? Many of the classes are perfect for all levels of fitness.

Please don’t hesitate to contact the UHN Wellness team to discuss your questions or concerns at or Ext. 14-4486.

Market 707 Farmer’s Market

Leap into Spring with Market 707’s Farmers’ Market!!! Apples, peaches, peares and plums, visit us every Thursday for food and fun. Get the best in local produce, vegetables, meats, grains, cheese and more!!!

707 Farmer's Market

For more information, go to

Joe’s Team: The Perfect Beginner’s Triathlon with a Cause


Joe’s Team is a triathlon/duathlon founded by patient Joe Finley in support of cancer research at the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre. It’s the perfect beginner’s triathlon for four reasons:

1) People with all levels of fitness and abilities participate.

2) It involves a “calm” start, meaning that participants are divided and released in waves rather than all at once.

3) It’s located at the beautiful CNIB Lake Joseph Centre in Muskoka, Ontario.

4) Everyone is there to support a great cause and have fun.

Joe’s Team has raised nearly $9 million over seven years.  With participant and donor support, it expects to reach its goal of raising $10 million with the 2014 event on Saturday, July 5, 2014.

Simply put, it’s a very special year for Joe’s Team.

Once these funds have been raised, The Princess Margaret will be able to establish the Joe Finley Head and Neck Translational Research Centre.  The research centre will be the lasting legacy to Finley who passed away in 2010 from his cancer.

 Why sign up for a triathlon?

Many people find that signing up and training for a challenging event like a triathlon actually helps them stay focused on their fitness routines.

World triathlete and seasoned runner Paul Huyer was interviewed for UHN News and found that training for a triathlon actually improved his running.

“I replaced some of my running volume with cycling, pilates, and weight training,” said Huyer.  “What those sports do, particularly pilates and weight training, is isolate muscles specific to your running that take a hard workout when you run—like your glutes, hamstrings, quads and calves.  Working different muscle groups strengthens them, and also allowed my running muscles and tendons to rest between workouts because I wasn’t using them repeatedly.”

“So as a result, I was having better quality runs with that and improving my performance,” said Huyer.

 Training with UHN’s Wellness Program

UHN’s Wellness Programs offers many programs that complement the training needs of any aspiring triathlete.

Class options include:

  • Spinning: Sculpt & Spin, Spin – Endurance, Spin, Bands & Bikes
  • Yoga: Beginner Yoga, Intermediate Yoga, Yoga
  • Pilates
  • Boot camp

Pair up with a UHN friend or start a training group for an event like Joe’s Team.  Alternatively, feel free to come alone and to meet other individuals with similar fitness goals.

Accomplishing something challenging and meaningful like Joe’s Team is both mentally and physically rewarding.  UHN’s Wellness Program is here to help you design your training program.  


Joe’s Team 2014 will be held on Saturday, July 5, 2014.

For more information about Joe’s Team, please visit or e-mail Kelly Webb – Manager, Special Events at The Princess Margaret Cancer Foundation (

Questions about UHN training programs? Feel free to contact Paul Smits – Wellness Coordinator (, for any Wellness related questions.

4 days until the 2014 IHHC begins!

2014 IHHC Banner

Are you up for the challenge!?

Looking for a fun and easy way to earn points on Day 1? Join us on Thursday, May 1 at 12:00pm in front of Sick Kids Hospital on University Ave. There will be Music! Stretching! Games! And Many Prizes!

Represent UHN by wearing Yellow.


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