I had been a nocturnal person for a good part of my life. I was a freelance content writer about a year ago and I used to hate to be disturbed when I sat for writing. I didn’t want this to impact my kids. So, I reserved my day time for kids and at nights I used to sit at leisure and work on my tasks at my hand. As a result, I had an extremely poor night sleep that averaged to about four hours or so. Consequently, I used to be grumpy like a dormant volcano waiting to spew ashes any time, in the day time. When I reached out to a Naturopathy Doctor for help, the first thing he wanted me to do was, set my sleep time right. I was asked to go to sleep by 9PM, a time I used to consider, late evening, not night. I was desperate for a good health that, I followed his words to the ‘Tee’. Yes, initially it was really difficult but with every passing day things improved and I can evidently feel less stressful, more peaceful and healthier today. I realised how right Thomas Dekker was in saying that ‘sleep is the golden chain that ties the health and our body together’. So, here are some quick and simple tips for you to catch some effective night sleep to discover the healthier version of yourself.
1. Listen to your body-clock
All of us have an internal body-clock, called the circadian rhythm which controls our every day sleep
wake routine. It’s absolutely vital to listen to our body-clock in determining the right sleep-wake time for us. This way, we can manage to get the right amount of sleep at the right time depending on our body requirements. Now, doesn’t that sound like a personalized sleep-wake routine? Now that we are living in an era of personalisations what better than a sleep-wake cycle customised as per our bodily requirements.
2. Have a consistent sleep-wake routine
A consistent sleep-wake cycle is essential for a quality night’s sleep. Experts say consistency in the sleep-wake timings helps in optimising the quality of sleep that we get. In addition, it also helps in keeping us energized and helps us feel fresh during the day. Hitting the bed when we usually feel tired and are just ready to sleep is the key to this. Also, to be noted that the need for alarm clock for waking up signals the inadequacy of sleep meaning, you need to be hitting the bed earlier if you want to rise up at that given time. In just one year of sticking to a consistent sleep-wake routine I have able to reap the benefits. My internal clock wakes me up at the dawn even if my alarm fails. As a corollary to this, avoid
sleeping-in on weekends. Remember, consistency is the key.
3. Eat way before your bed time
Eating at least two hours before your bed time is vital for a good night’s sleep. Expertssay that eating late into the night may lead to several issues like acidity and heart-burn. Also, what we eat plays a crucial role in determining the quality of sleep that we might get to enjoy. Going by the expert advice, it’s
preferable to avoid heavy meals in the night and stick to lighter diet especially two-hours before the bed time. Otherwise, there could be serious repercussions in our sleep quality and hormone systems. So, if you want a quality sleep it’s time you stick to a healthier diet and that well before yourbed time.
4. Watch what you consume
In addition to when you eat, what you consume also determines the quality of your sleep. Cut down on caffeine, sugary foods and refined carbohydrates like the white rice, white bread, etc. They can disrupt your sleep and trigger wakefulness. Also, avoid drinking too much liquid in the evening, lest you would have to make quick trips to the rest room often, disrupting your sleep. If you drink or smoke, remember to cut down on alcohol and nicotine if you don’t want to compromise on your sleep. Munch on snacks that wouldn’t disrupt your sleep if need be. Remember, what you consume has a huge say on your life including your sleep. So, better be smart with your choices.
5. Clear the clutter of your head
Just like we declutter our surroundings it’s necessary to declutter our mind. Our mind is a reservoir of thoughts. It’s essential to clear all unwanted thoughts off our mind. One of my friends who was a member of Sri Ramachandra Mission, used to tell me of a ‘cleaning process’ that they did every night to get rid of unwanted thoughts and thoughts that hinder their personal growth. I have attempted it as well and found this interesting. It actually helped me in catching better sleep and getting up fresher the subsequent day. Of late, I follow the mindfulness approach. Every day as I hit my bed, I train my mind to focus on ‘Three Good Things’ that happened that day and I express my gratitude towards them. It’s an indirect approach of decluttering, where-in I train my mind to focus on the positives of the day and letting the negative ones fade away in the distance. If you would like some good night’s sleep, declutter your mind every day before your hit the bed following any approach that sounds appealing to you.
6. Pamper yourself to sleep
Indulge in some pampering routines to catch some good night’s sleep. Take a warm refreshing shower. Soothe yourself to some melodious songs. I do this especially for my kids, for two-fold benefit. One to help soothe and relax themselves and other is to get their focus on the music that is played and thus stopping the barrage of thoughts that would otherwise surface in their minds hampering their sleep. For myself I again use a mindfulness-based approach of expressing gratitude to each of my body parts- a routine that my Naturopathy Doctor had told me to do. In addition to the benefits of ‘the gratitude’ I also feel that this serves like the ‘progressive relaxation’ technique for meditation. I get to feel each of my body parts relax and wind-up for the day, letting me to fall into a peaceful sleep. You could also use essential oil diffusers or light the essential oil candles for an aromatic way to sleep. You are the center of your universe. You deserved to be pampered to sleep.
Exercising in the day is vital for a sound sleep in the night. Whether you prefer to walk, jog, sprint or run, or you prefer to shake your leg to some peppy music or stretch yourself with gymnastics or yoga the choice is up to you. Go for a swim, cycle around your place, jump or skip for a while. Whatever it is, do exercise. Experts say that exercising is highly beneficial for sleep and has been found to reduce insomnia. In fact, exercising has been found to make a greater difference than the prescribed drugs. So, what are you waiting for? Exercise every day for a good night’s sleep.
8. Stay away from digital-screens
Digital-screens are one of the worst enemies to sleep. Exposure to the blue light, affects the natural sleep-wake cycle impacting the secretion of sleep hormones. Shun the TV. Shun the social media. They aren’t just disrupting your hormone system there; they are actually feeding your mind with loads of negativity. A little more than a year before I stopped logging into social media and watching the TV news
at least 30 minutes prior to sleep. As a result, I found a profound difference in the quality of sleep and my thought patterns. Subsequently, I made it a point to stay away from screens at least two hours prior to going to sleep. I now enjoy an undisturbed sleep every single day. My mornings are fresher. For your good night’s sleep, consider shunning the screens and social media. They don’t matter more than your sleep or health.
A couple of days ago, I read this life tip, “When nothing goes right, go to sleep.” Thinking about it now, I feel it is usually when the sleep isn’t enough things do not go right. Yes, we definitely need to sleep like a baby for a fresher, energetic and healthier day.
So, what do you do to catch some sound sleep? Let me know in the comments. I would love to know.