Sleep your way to good health
Most of us have sleep disorders, but we often ignore it without considering the fact that it can give us severe health problems in future like loss of memory, depression, diabetes, heart ailments and strokes, etc.
In order to create awareness and to highlight the importance of good and healthy sleep amongst nations across the world, the World Association of Sleep Medicine (WASM) has begun observing ‘World Sleep Day’ since 2008.
The World Sleep Day, which is held annually on the third Friday of March, is also aimed at promoting the prevention and management of sleep disorders.
A recent study in India by Philips and The Nielsen Company shows that while 93 percent of the people felt sleep-deprived, getting less than eight hours a night, only 2 percent consulted a physician.
There are several factors that can interfere in your good night sleep- work pressure, family responsibilities, relationship issues, etc. Although you can’t stop thinking of all the issues that hamper your sleep, you can still adopt habits that will help you in getting a good night’s rest. Here are some tips:
Have regular bedtime schedule: Make sure that you and your family go to bed and get up at the same time every day. Because sticking to a schedule strengthens your body’s sleep-wake cycle and helps promote better sleep at night.
Go to bed at 10: You should know that it is always good to go to bed early, say by 10 o’clock than going to bed at 11 as better quality sleep happens before midnight.
Do not sleep during daytime: If you have trouble sleeping at night, avoid daytime nap if possible. Even if you can’t avoid it, limit it to 20 minutes since day sleep can hamper your nighttime slumber.
Do not eat just before going to bed: You should not go to bed either hungry or stuffed as both the cases can keep you up. However, try eating two hours before your bedtime as that will help your system to digest well and get proper rest during the night.
Limit your caffeine intake: As you know that caffeine is more than just tea and coffee, you should limit its intake else you will end up awake the whole night. Also, it is advised to avoid foods which are acidic (citrus fruits and juices) and spicy as they can give you a heartburn.
Avoid alcohol: Drinking alcohol before bedtime is not a good idea since it disrupts sleep and causes nighttime awakenings.
Have warm milk: Milk, which has an essential amino acid, tryptophan. Tryptophan stimulates the brain chemical serotonin and is believed to play a key role in inducing sleep.
Exercise: Physical exercise will not only help you keep in shape, but it will also assist you in getting a better night’s sleep. So, if you have sleep problems, exercise can make a good difference. It is recommended that the best time to exercise is in the morning, because exercising late in the day can contribute to sleeplessness.
Say no to gadgets: While many people use TV/laptop at the end of the day to relax or fall asleep, these activities actually hinder your good sleep. The latest research hints that artificial light from laptop screens, TVs, etc. suppresses the sleep-inducing hormone melatonin.
Make your bedroom dark and quiet: Ensure your bedroom is comfortable enough for a proper night’s rest by keeping it dark and quiet. If you live by the road, consider earplugs or use a white-noise machine to block out loud noises. Hang some thick curtains to avoid bright light passing through your eyes.
Counselling: Sometimes poor sleep can be the result of anxiety and depression. Without hesitation, you should consult your doctor or a psychologist if you think you might be suffering from the same.
Get out of the bed: People who have trouble falling asleep or wake up in the middle of the night should not just lie down in bed and get mad. Instead, wake up immediately and get yourself involved in some quiet activity or read a book, but not the TV – it will only worsen your sleep.