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Sleep Well - Stay Healthy!
As we retire to sleep first thing we ought to experience is the darkness and the quite atmosphere. But when we try to sleep, suddenly we think of the credit bills, appointments and pending files. A lot of thoughts come to our mind and it goes on. And after lying awake for a few hours we drift off to seep; and soon you hear the alarm ringing!
Most of us have some kind of trouble in sleeping occasionally; for some it is a chronic problem. Sleep deprivation is due to the high-paced lifestyle causing the lack of time to get the sleep we need. When we do not get the amount of sleep we need we accumulate a sleep debt. But, taking sleeping pills is not the solution. This sleep debt has to be paid back or else sleepiness will continue to worsen. Many people try to pay back the debt on the weekends resulting in the disruptions of their circadian rhythm. Most doctors would agree that a lifestyle change can do the trick and that there is no reason for pharmaceutical solutions.
Hence, in the interest of avoiding sleeping pills, let us look at some smart tips on how to fall asleep:
Establish consistent waking timesOur sleep-wake cycle is regulated by a “circadian clock” in our brain. The body needs to balance both sleep time and wakeup time. A regular waking time in the morning strengthens the circadian function and can help with sleep onset at night.
Keep a regular bedtime and wakeup time.It is important to keep a regular bedtime and wakeup time, even on the weekends when there is the temptation to sleep more. Stick to it, even on weekends. This will help your body know when to feel alert and when to feel sleepy.
Use a comfortable mattress and cushionMake sure your mattress is comfortable and supportive. Use comfortable pillows and a good cushion that holds your head in the same relationship to your shoulders and spine as when you are standing upright.
Eat at least 2 hours before you go to bedEating or drinking too much may make you less comfortable when setting down for bed. It is best to avoid a heavy meal too close to bedtime. Also, spicy foods may cause heartburn, which leads to difficulty falling asleep and discomfort during the night. Try to restrict fluids close to bedtime to go to the bathroom.
Make the bedroom a sleep-only zoneRemove most toys, games, televisions, computers, and radios if your child has trouble falling asleep or is frequently up at nigh. These items can be powerful cues for wakefulness.
Establish a regular, relaxing bedtime routine
Avoid worrying and thinking before bedtime like working, paying pills, engaging in competitive games or family problem-solving. If you are unable to avoid tension and stress, it may be helpful to learn relaxation therapy from a trained professional. Finally, avoid exposure to bright light before bedtime because it signals the neurons that help control the sleep-wake cycle that it is time to awaken, not to sleep.
Avoid caffeine (e.g. coffee, tea, soft drinks, chocolate), nicotine (e.g. cigarettes, tobacco products), alcohol close to bedtime
Caffeine is a stimulant, which means it can produce an alerting effect. Caffeine products such as coffee, tea, colas and chocolate remains in the body on an average from 3 to 5 hours. But they can affect some people up to 12 hours later. Even if you do not think caffeine affects you, it may be disrupt and change the quality of your sleep. Avoiding caffeine within 4 hours of going to bed can help improve sleep quality.
However, exercising sporadically or right before going to bed will make falling asleep more difficult. In addition to making us more alert, our body temperature rises during exercise and takes as much as six hours to begin to drop. A cooler body temperature is associated with sleep onset. Hence finish your exercise at least 3 hours before bedtime. Late afternoon exercise is the perfect way to help you fall asleep at night