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Published On: Mon, Jul 24th, 2017

7 Ways To Improve Sleep

If there’s an equalizer in the world, it’s sleep. This great leveler does not care for rich, poor, education, gender and status. It may be a gift to anyone and the lack of it, a curse. The amount of research into sleep is a testament to how important sleep is. Now more than ever, when sleep disorders seem to be on the rise, the value of that long uninterrupted rich sleep has gone up even more.

If you enjoy a good night’s rest, congratulations. If you toss and turn in bed for hours before you fall into restless sleep, there may be simple things you can do to find the elusive slumber you so crave.

Let’s look at 7 ways to improve sleep:

  1. Put away your devices

The more screen time you have in the late hours of the evening, the less sleep time you enjoy. One of the reasons is the blue light that devices emit. Your brain thinks it’s still day, subdues the hormone that preps you for bedtime (melatonin) and stimulates you. Instead of falling asleep, you come awake, making it hard to sleep. Apart from the blue light, the fact that you can hear or feel a beep or a buzz is distracting enough. Then, when you start engaging with others, taking care of work stuff etc.,  you are allowing your brain to work, not rest and that send sleep further away. Put away your devices- tablet, phone, laptop- and help your mind relax into sleep.

2. Create a restful space

Keeping with the previous point, a restful space will mean no television. Keep the TV out of the bedroom for better quality of life and conversation. Your room should be done up in soothing colors, calming prints on the fabric and curtains, adjustable lights and good drapes or blinds to keep light out. Make sure noise levels are low, even if that means telling fellow inhabitants to keep it down. When you dim the lights around you, the production of melatonin slows down as well. The result? Sleep! A restful space will also ensure that you can fall back to sleep quickly, even if you wake up in the night. If you share a room with someone and cannot control lights, do think of a good quality sleep mask. That will help too.

3. Work

New research shows that motivated people sleep better. If you have figured out your life’s purpose, then falling asleep is not difficult to do. And this applies to everyone, regardless of age. You can’t just stumble on to a purpose. It requires thought and work but the rewards are huge and include a good night’s sleep. Work also has the added benefit of tiring you out, leaving you with an urge and ability to sleep.

4. Physical Activity

We all know this- exercise is good for the body and the mind. Scheduled physical activity helps to regularize your sleep patterns, or circadian rhythms. The resultant sleep is refreshing and healing. If you’re doing an intensive work out, make sure you finish it at least two hours before bedtime. If its yoga or a slow form of exercise, that can be done before bedtime too. In fact, certain yoga postures can help relax your body; the chair pose and the cat/cow pose. Meditation is proven relaxation and will help you reach the sleep state of mind. do a few breathing exercises each day to see a difference in your sleep cycles.

5. Diet

Food and sleep go hand in hand. You must eat at least two hours before bedtime and it must be a light meal. A heavy meal sits like a stone in your stomach and takes longer to digest. This can keep you awake. At the same time, starving yourself will not help because the hunger pangs will keep you up. Avoid spice, coffee, alcohol and cigarettes and instead include yoghurt and chamomile tea at night.

6. Create a sleep routine

A routine is repetitive and even boring, making it perfect for sleep. A sleep routine could include some meditation, followed by a cup of peppermint tea to accompany a book, then changing into comfortable clothes and dimming the lights, laying your head on the pillow and trying to sleep. This routine gives your body a signal at the start of it to say- get ready for bedtime.

7. Alternate thoughts

Lavender is soothing and stress reducing. Use it as a lotion or pillow spray, tuck a sprig of it under your pillow or get it in a room freshener. It is known to create better sleep. Make sure that the mattress and pillows are not part of the problem. A too hot or too cold room also has the effect of making sleep difficult. Today, there are many apps to help you sleep. If it comes to that, you could try one of those too.

Here’s wishing you a good night.

Author: Pankaj Deb

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- Outside contributors to the Dispatch are always welcome to offer their unique voices, contradictory opinions or presentation of information not included on the site.

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  1. Joe says:

    A part of your sleep routine could be a comfortable sleep mask, so wherever you are, you will carry your familiar space with you. The Dreamhelmet sleep-mask pillow also helps to muffle sound.

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