All work and no proper sleep makes us dull without any doubt. Around seven to eight hours of sleep each night in adulthood and ten to 12 hours in childhood is essential to stay healthy.
Many have a problem falling asleep or getting a sound sleep. Here are few tips for you to improve your sleep pattern.
- Turn-off the thought-chatter: Instead of dozing off, as soon as we hit the bed, we reflect on the activities of the day and events of the past. Our thought process is wide awake and so falling asleep can be tricky. Shut down your thoughts by meditation, praying, listening to music, or simply feeling at peace and contented.
- Cut down on Coffee or Stimulants Before sleep: Though the effects of coffee vary with individuals, it can delay and disrupt sleep. To avoid it interrupting your sleep, refrain from drinking coffee for at least six hours before bedtime. Consuming foods high in tryptophan such as cherries, cherry juice, pumpkin seeds, milk and yoghurt (consumed at any time daily) or foods that have a high glycemic index such as short-grain rice (three to four hours before bedtime) can help. Tryptophan is converted to melatonin in the brain. Melatonin, known as the "hormone of darkness", is released at night time and induces sleep. Another factor is light! Light powerfully suppresses the release of melatonin and, therefore, sleep. So avoid using electronic devices that emit light in the period just before bedtime.
- Create a Sleep-friendly Environment: Some people have no problem falling asleep but may struggle to sleep through the night. The temperature of the surrounding, noise and light can interrupt your sleep. Make sure your bedroom is quiet, dark and cool (around 20-22°C is optimal). A full bladder will signal a trip to the bathroom and break your sleep. One way of getting around this is to stop drinking fluids two hours before bedtime. It takes around 60 to 90 minutes for liquids to move through the body and turn into urine.
- Maintain a Sleep-wake pattern: A structured bedtime and rise time will help establish your sleep-wake pattern. Sleepiness will automatically descend at bedtime.
- Stop Worrying: Being anxious about not getting sufficient sleep may amplify sleep problems. It can be difficult to change these patterns of thinking. If you're struggling, you can seek help from a clinical psychologist. They can assist you to make the emotional and behavioral changes needed to promote healthy sleep.
‘Preparing a favorable sleeping environment, curbing thought-chatter at bedtime and following a structured sleep-wake routine will be a win for all sleepers.’
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