Sleep remains a great mystery to most of us. After a hard day’s work, all of us would like to hit the bed and sleep like a baby. Yet sleep eludes most of us at one point or other in our lifetime. Some of us suffer occasional bouts of sleeplessness while for some others it is a chronic problem. If we cannot sleep, we start worrying and the worry starts worrying, giving us restless nights of tossing and turning. Our quality of sleep determines our moods during the waking hours. According to studies, sleep deficiency play a major part right from feeling sluggish to an elevated risk of cardiac problems. Therefore, a good night peaceful and sound sleep results in increased energy, enhanced productivity, promoting heart and immune health, besides acting as a mood-booster imparting that feel good factor prolonging life span. Hence, let us look at a few solutions for saying hello to sleep and bye-bye to that miserable sluggish feeling.
Regularise Sleep Routine
Melatonin, a naturally occurring hormone in the brain, controlled by light exposure secretes more, when dark, inducing sleep. Hence, every night attempt going to bed at a fixed time, to facilitate Melatonin production. Although it is easily said than done, the most vital approach for accomplishing quality sleep is by getting attuned to your body’s natural circadian rhythm (sleep wake cycle). Remember consistency is the key word; therefore, try your level best not to break the rhythm during weekends or holidays. In case of any changes in bedtime, make slight adjustments of 10 – 15 minutes each day. This will help you recharge your batteries keeping you refreshed all day long.
Make Bed Comfortable
Ensure that the bed is encouraging, with enough space to turn, roll and stretch at ease. If you wake up frequently with a painful and tender shoulder and back, then its time, you invested in a new set of mattress and pillows. Opt for one, which does not raise your neck excessively high or flex your neck backwards. Instead, choose one, which helps you sleep in the right position. If you are the one who sleeps flat on your abdomen, use a very flat pillow in order to keep your neck and spine supported or better still sleep sans one.
Many essentials oils help higher quality of sleep. The best method is to put English Lavender sachet or two to three drops of essential oils under the pillow. Otherwise, mix a few drops each of Lavender and Clary Sage essential oils, spray on bed linen to ensure blissful sleep. This is because Lavender, chamomile, and ylang-ylang, activate the brains alpha wave activity, resulting in relaxation and sound sleep.
Kick Out Furry Pets
According to a survey, most of the people who sleep with their pets have disturbed sleep, since dogs have a tendency to snore and sniff, while cats remain energetic late at night and in the wee hours of morning.
Turn Off Lights
Ensure you turn off the lights before sleeping, as light can be an overwhelming factor to keep your brain alert. Even a small light, stimulates hypothalamus, the part of the brain controlling sleep delaying the production of Melatonin, thus affecting slumber. Hence, to sleep blissfully keep the room dark and use curtains to curtail light from any quarters.
Turn Off Electronics
Many individuals watch television or surf the net to wind up after a hard day’s work. Since television and computers stimulate the mind, they end up stifling Melatonin production. However, a not so interesting programme or film sure makes you yawn, forcing you to retire to bed.
People finding it hard to enjoy good sound sleep can follow relaxation techniques such as listening to some soothing strains of music, reading a book in soft lights, taking deep breaths or thinking of a picturesque landscape with eyes closed, before winding up for the day.
Warm Refreshing Shower/Bath
There are two foremost parts of our nervous system namely the adrenaline and the parasympathetic nervous system. To enjoy sleep it is essential for the adrenaline part to adjust to the relaxed part of the nervous system. Therefore, a hot bath enables shifting of the brain to sleep form. However, it will be favourable to have a warm soak half-hour earlier for your body’s natural thermostat to cool and enter sleep mode.
Normally exercise gives us all an invigorating jump-start to get through the day. Therefore, following a regular exercise regimen, with as little as 20 to 30 minutes every day, helps promote sleep. Nonetheless experts advice against vigorous exercise, within four hours of bedtime as exercising too late in the day can stimulate the body, keeping the brain alert and active. According to Researchers from Harvard Medical School, yoga sessions of 30- to 45-minutes coupled with deep breathing exercises, improved symptoms of insomnia significantly.
Stay away from rich spicy meals within two hours of bedtime, as fatty foods take longer time to digest. Consuming foods containing carbohydrates combined with either calcium or a protein containing the amino acid tryptophan (brown rice, lentils, beets, turkey, bread, bananas, low fat yoghurt, cereals, oats and almonds) may help boost serotonin, a naturally occurring brain chemical that helps you feel calm and induce sleep. For the amino acids to reach your brain, have them an hour before bedtime.
Refrain From Alcohol
Most of us are under the misconception that alcohol has a sedative effect and helps sleep. However, the truth remains that alcohol make you fall asleep faster, nevertheless when metabolized in the body, awakes a person later in the night making it more difficult to go back to bed
Nicotine, a stimulant, apart from interrupting sleep, develops withdrawal symptoms at night thereby causing sleeplessness. (Read Harmful effects of smoking)
Cut Down Caffeine
Caffeine is a stimulant hence, can cause sleep problems. It stays in your system for about eight to twelve hours after consumption, preventing your brain from entering deep sleep mode or stopping you from falling asleep altogether. Therefore, avoid drinking coffee, tea, hot chocolate, or cola post lunch.
Review Your Medications
Nonetheless, if none of the above gives you Seven to nine hours of quality sleep, that you long for, then review your medications with the help of a health care provider. Blood pressure medications and antidepressants do affect the quality of sleep producing insomnia.
Discover the sleeping beauty in you by following these simple useful tips to wake up fresh and kick-start the day with renewed vigour and vitality… remember a well-spent day brings happy sleep… Sweet Dreams!
May sleep envelop you as a bed sheet floating gently down, tickling your skin and removing every worry reminding you to consider only this moment. ~ Jeb Dickerson