An old Chinese proverb states, "Only when one cannot sleep does one know how long the night is." Anyone who's ever experienced an occasional bout with insomnia—and that's most of us—can relate to this all too well. Sleep is critical to good health and functioning, so lack of it is a serious matter. "Sleep is one of the most important functions of the brain," says Frederick R. Carrick, DC, PhD, president of the American Chiropractic Association's Council on Neurology. Through it, our bodies recharge and renew for the next day's challenges.Source:ACA
I’ve been a hopeless insomniac all through my life, albeit not on a regular basis; but 2 days in a week were reserved for a sleepless state.And, believe me, most insomniacs are people who think a lot. They are those unfortunate individuals who do not know how to ‘sleep on your problems’, but those who remain awake all through the night pondering and making an ignoble mess of their brain.
What’s at Stake?
Even small problems and little events often force the brain to go into overdrive and encourage the urge to do a night watchman duty when the world is blissfully sleeping, snug and comfy in their beds.
All the tricks of counting sheep and watching the swirling fan blades do not serve any good purpose. Sleep is one thing you cannot force, instead the more you try to force sleep, the more alert you become. Now, is there an escape from remaining owl-eyed and longing for 6/7 hours of bliss?
You may be sleeping every night, but is it quality sleep? Are you getting up more refreshed and energetic or do you feel more lethargic the next morning? Is this is a result of a disturbed sleep? Beyond your costly investments in the coir beddings and mushy pillows, you need to be committed to a pattern of sleep.
Let’s help you out with some expert tips for a good sleep cycle and for getting proper rest at night.
Off that TV
Too much of everything is bad, be it television or computer, the light emission from both the sets confuses your brain into thinking that it’s still daytime!
So, if you find yourself restless in bed after watching your favorite show on TV or submitting a last minute report through your computer, then it’s time to turn down the lights real low, put on some soothing, soft music and just relax for 15-20 minutes before attempting to catch some sleep.
Now don’t confuse milk with coffee, the first one induces sleep while the later drives away the slumber. Milk has an acidic content, which increases serotonin level in the brain, slowing down the active mode of the brain. Even having alcohol and smoking cigarettes at night may disrupt the sleeping pattern and you tend to have a disturbed and poor sleep.
Maintain regular bed habits like taking a hot and relaxing bath just before you hit the bed. I take up a spiritual or philosophical book that makes me sleepy. Some are fond of listening to light music to induce sleep. This will help you sleep better.
No Electronic Items
Don’t keep any electrical items other than the AC or the fan in your bedroom. Let the bedroom serve its true purpose of sleep and sex alone. Work items like computer or laptop have a negative effect on your sleeping environment.
Switch off the lights, and if possible do not keep any night-lamp, however dim it might be. It is a medically proven fact that any sort of light disturbs the sleeping pattern of the body; there are some growth organs in an adolescent or growing body which function only during the absence of light.
Yoga and Meditation
Practice some yogic postures for a better-relaxed body. Practicing meditation or deep breathing exercises will also relax you and help in relieving you of stress and tension that your body has accumulated all through the day. Remembering all positive things may help you unwind after the day’s stress.
One of the easiest and most relaxing of yoga postures is the Corpse pose, which basically serves as the cool down posture and is done to conclude every yoga class. Lie down on the bed and allow your body to go absolutely limp and feel your muscles softening starting from the toe and moving right up to the crown of your head.
Then deeply breathe in and out for the next few minutes and concentrate and focus your mind on the expansion and contraction of the lungs. Feel the difference in your body as it goes utterly limp and prepared for a restful night.
Avoid Sleeping in the Day
Try not to have that noon siesta. You can have quick forty winks if you are feeling too tired, but try not to make it a habit. If you are a bit tired out after the day’s activities, you may have a good, deep dreamless sleep.
Set a biological clock, get up and go to bed on more or less a fixed time. This disciplined rhythm will help you sleep better and on time.
Sleep will elude you if your stomach is too full or too empty. A light snack just before bedtime will keep you filled and will induce a deep slumber.
A healthy massage by your spouse will help you relax instantly. The gentle and soothing stroking action relieves the tensed muscles, lulling you to the sleep world.
All said and done, avoid those drugs and pills for sleeping better, they are extremely addictive and if you allow yourself to become dependant on them, they will become a dangerous habit, without which you may not be able to hit the sack. Induce natural and relaxed slumber with all the above-mentioned tips. It’s not that tough and the results are quite satisfactory.
I have personally found soft music meant for meditation to be very relaxing. So much so, that all through the stressful day, I look forward to that tiny spell of time at night when I’m listening to music and drifting off towards peacefulness. Find a way that suits you best and stick to it!