Dr Gowri Kulkarni, Head of Medical Operations, MediBuddy
Are you always tossing and turning in your bed at night unable to fall asleep?
Quality restful sleep can seem elusive due to several things such as work stress and illnesses. Chronic sleep issues have been linked to many long-term ailments including hypertension, obstructive sleep apnea, heart disease, depression etc.
While you may not have control over these things, certain habits can help facilitate good quality sleep.
Here are a few tips for Natural ways for good sleep and wake up energized and rejuvenated-
- Make it a habit to go to bed at the same time daily: Figure out a fixed time to go to bed and then stick to it. This will help you sleep better as your body will get used to the routine and will ready itself for falling asleep. Varying bedtimes will send confusing signals, which is not conducive to restful sleep.
- Similarly, wake up at the same time every day. This will reinforce the body’s sleep-wake cycle. If you go to bed at your usual time but still cannot fall asleep, then get up and take part in a relaxing activity such as reading or listening to soothing music. This will trigger drowsiness, a precursor to sleep.
- Create a sleep-friendly environment: To sleep well, you need surroundings that are conducive to sleep. Ideally, the room you sleep in should be calm, dark, and cool. Avoid staring at your phone’s screen before falling asleep as the blue light it emits can impair the production of sleep hormones- melatonin. You can use shades to darken the room. Earplugs are useful if you want to cut off any unwanted sound. You can also keep light, soothing fragrances like rosemary in the room for a calming effect.
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- Keep a close eye on your food: Going to bed with a full stomach is never a good idea. It is best to eat an early dinner at least 2-3 hours before bedtime. This is because your digestion process will be inefficient if you sleep immediately after eating. You must stay away from Coffee, Alcohol & Cigarettes before bed. It is recommended to have chamomile tea, Warm milk, Lettuce, Almonds & Fatty fish to help you sleep better.
- Do not nap during daytime: Daytime naps may sound like a good idea, but they do not do much when it comes to night-time sleep. Long daytime naps will make it very hard for you to sleep at night. If you must sleep during the daytime, limit it to 30 minutes.
- Exercise is a must: An hour of physical exercise daily does wonders to your sleep. The tiredness that seeps into your body will help you fall asleep instantly. Of course, it is advised to avoid strenuous activity right before bed. It is advised to exercise in the morning hours and early evening hours. Avoid too late in the night. Simple exercises like jogging and playing a sport will suffice.
- Do not take your worries to bed: If your mind is running amok with thoughts, sleep simply will not happen. You need to manage your mind and its contents well. For this purpose, there are tools like breath watching, progressive muscle relaxation and alternate nostril breathing that can help. These techniques enhance awareness so that your thoughts do not influence your sleep.
- Use comfortable mattresses and pillows: If your bed is not comfortable then sleep will remain elusive. Air your mattress and pillows regularly. Ensure that they are not very soft but have the right degree of firmness to support you.
A good night’s sleep is essential for a healthy and refreshed mind and body. Chronic poor sleep can affect your health in many ways. So, implement these sleeping tips in your daily life and enjoy deep, uninterrupted sleep. Remember, it is okay to not be okay. Do not hesitate to seek help.