Updated: Aug 18
(Sleep Series- 2)
Have you got 8 hours of sleep in the past week?
If your answer is YES, keep it going.
If it is anything other than that, I say we should work on that.
This is the second part of the Sleep Series and as discussed in the previous part, one of the inbuilt defence mechanisms of our body against any disease is sleep, according to the current studies quarantine has caused a great impact on the sleep life of many. Quarantine time has put us in a situation where we do not use our physical energy much as the daily movement is reduced, leaving us with so much energy in our body unexpended and possibly delaying our sleep.
Here I would like to share how to have a better quality/quantity sleep.
Yes, not just quality but quantity also matters.
TIPS FOR HEALTHY SLEEP
1. Keep a schedule
Have a regular schedule for sleep. Humans tend to get used to habits, so sleeping and waking up the same time every day will help you to have a better sleep. Daily distortions in sleep time can make it difficult to fall asleep.
Even if you are not having your normal chores (preparing lunch for the office, getting dressed for work, dropping off children etc.), make a schedule for yourself.
Restrict your bed for sleeping and relaxing alone. Do not do work, study or other wakefulness activities on your bed. If you are stressed or worried, move out of your bedroom. Your mind associates your bed to wakefulness and finds difficulty in relaxing.
Keep the bedroom dark or use a bed light, but strictly avoid exposing yourself to bright lights before sleep. Make sure the room is cool. Warm or hot temperature environments can hinder your sleep. Remove distractions from the bedroom- TV, mobile, computer, noises, bright lights etc. You should feel comfortable and relaxed when you lie on your bed. That is what we want by the end of the day!
3. Take care of what you eat
We all love that evening cup of coffee/tea. A cup of coffee in the late evening can hinder your sleep. Avoid intake of chocolates, coffee, colas, Redbull and other caffeine contained items after evening.
Nicotine can also trouble your sleep. A big NO to alcoholic drinks before sleep. Alcohol may help you to relax but won't allow you to have a well-rested sleep.
Avoid heavy meals before sleep, especially fatty foods. The acidic reflux might interfere with sleep. Magnesium, Vitamin B, melatonin or tryptophan rich food can help sleep regulation - bananas, nuts, green leafy vegetables, chickpeas, seaweeds, egg whites, cherries, pumpkin seeds, turkey, milk etc.
Lavender tea, chamomile tea and many other herbs like Valerie root can also help to get a good sleep.
4. Exercise and yoga
Exercise and other physical activities like dance, sports, running etc. are very important for better health. It can also help in improving sleep. It is always better to avoid exercise just before sleep or at least 3 hours before sleep.
Yoga can help you in relaxing. But avoid power yoga, hatha yoga and other rigorous yoga practices just before sleep. But less intense and more relaxing yoga routines and asanas can help you in enhancing your sleep- pranayama, yoga nidra, Shavasana etc.
Yoga nidra has helped me a lot in refreshing my mind and also have a healthy sleep life.
5. Day time activities
Avoid naps after 3 p.m. Evening naps can increase your wakefulness in the night. Make sure during the daytime your body gets the right amount of sunlight. This is applicable to everyone. Proper sun exposure is needed to regulate your circadian rhythm( an inbuilt rhythm that regulates your wake/sleep cycle) and also we got to get our Vitamin D 😎.
6. Sleep routine
Always have a sleep routine. It can be anything like putting your work aside, keeping your electronic gadgets away( at least 30 minutes before sleep), brushing your teeth, making your bed etc. Your mind gets habituated to this routine that subconsciously your body starts to understand it is time for sleep.
Using soothing moisturizer creams, essential oil, taking a hot bath or listening to calming music before sleep can help your body to relaaaaaaax. Reading a book also helps you to feel sleepy (do not read anything triggering).
Last but always the best technique to fall asleep - meditate before sleep. Take a few minutes before sleep, lie on the bed closing your eyes and breathe in and out for a few counts. Release out all the negativity or any disturbing thoughts and loosen your whole body. Observe your whole body relaxing when you leave breath out, count down from 54 to 1 each time you breathe out. I am sure the next thing you remember is waking up the next day. This is an old practice similar to counting sheep but it is very effective. I practice it myself and I recommend it to everyone.
Sleep is a divine practice. I love everything about sleep, the feeling you have after a refreshing full eight hours sleep is unexplainable and irreplaceable. It is Ok to stay awake for an extra couple of hours but after doing so, you should make sure you get full eight hours of sleep. I cannot stop stressing the amount of sleep compulsory for a healthy body and mind ❤️. I help my friends and family in training their bodies for a good sleep/wake cycle. The above six tips can be a very useful and powerful tool to sleep like a baby.
Have a blessed and good sleep people ☺️🥰
Below a link will help you to do a self sleep assessment for free. Sleep quality questionnaire- the Sleep Condition Indicator (developed by Colin Espie, University of Oxford) to self evaluate your own sleep. ⬇️⬇️
If you would like to know more about how to better your sleep, read 1) Sleep Smarter by Shawn Stevenson 2) The Sleep Book by Guy Meadows (Links are below for shopping through Amazon)
Try these methods for a good sleep or you can get in touch for more guidance.
Dedicating this sleep series to Dr. William C. Dement who is the Father of Sleep Medicine and left us on 17 June 2020.