You work hard. The day comes to a close. You look forward to your hours of rest and sleep. These hours of sleep refresh and rejuvenate you and recharge your batteries ready for another productive and fruitful day. What happens when you have not rested your body and mind sufficiently due to inadequate or fitful or poor quality sleep? You feel sleepy and groggy, of course, but also irritable. You feel the lack of freshness in your body and mind. Lack of sleep affects your body’s metabolic functions. It also makes you listless and unproductive. And if you are subject to insufficient sleep over long periods of time, it affects adversely your body and mind in many ways.
How to sleep well and get good sleep
Find effective ways to have a good sleep to refresh, rejuvenate and recharge you.
Getting better sleep is possible
Getting better sleep is in your hands. If you take some steps in the direction it will be possible. You need to work on the issues that are causing you poor or insufficient sleep. You can be a little aware of your needs and a little innovative so you can create the right conditions to have a good night’s sleep that will leave you rested and refreshed.
If it takes a little planning, do it. If it requires arranging and re-arranging your bedroom or bed, do it gladly. If it calls for discipline, welcome it wholeheartedly. Sometimes some small changes in your schedule or some minor rearrangements in your bedroom or bed may all that maybe necessary to have a good night’s sleep.
So, let’s see what can transport us to the land of nod easily.
Up the comfort quotient of your bed and bedroom
Your bedroom and bed must be comfortable. That’s where you must spend some seven to eight hours in a day. So, why not make it comfortable? Make sure your bed is all right for you. Is it too high or too low? Make it right to sit on and lie down.
It is good to use cotton or natural fabric bedclothes – bed sheets, bed covers and quilts, as also pillow cases. Natural fabrics will be comfortable and skin-friendly as also more safe. Keep the colours and patterns and designs of the bed linen pleasant and simple. Geometric or wavy patterns and motifs may be disturbing to see for long. Likewise, bright or bold colours may not be very relaxing.
Then, ensure your mattresses and pillows are comfortable for you. They should be neither too stiff or hard, nor too cushiony or bouncy with too much foam and sponge. If you feel uncomfortable on your mattress try another variety. Maybe you should try a change of your mattress; the cotton could be sagging.
Also, the furnishings like curtains and cushion covers in your bedroom must be pleasing to the eye. Jarring colours keep you active; that isn’t appropriate to slip into sleep.
It’s simple to make your bedroom more conducive to inviting sleep. In fact, making some minor changes in your bedroom or to your bed maybe all that is required to help you sleep better. There are interior designers and vaastu specialists who could help you in this if you like to resort to external help.
But you could try something yourself too. Maybe there is some disturbance –light or noise – that affects your sleep. See the source of disturbance and try to alter the interior arrangement in your bedroom. Maybe you have to just change the placement of your bed. Or you may have to keep the table or chair at a distance from your bed. Or it may be an incessant noise from the rotating fan, clock or air conditioner that may be bothering you. Sort it out.
Cleanliness gives good energy
Ensure your bedroom, as also your bed, are neat and clean. Unnecessary items on your bed will not only make your bed uncomfortable for you but will also not be a source of good energy. A clutter-free clean room gives you good energy. Keep your bedroom well-ventilated so that the air is fresh and clean. Make your bedroom simple and pleasant looking.
Take a book to bed
You would remember well how you so easily dozed off when you had an exam the next day and took your book to read something before going to sleep the previous night but dropped asleep too soon and couldn’t complete what you had planned to. Isn’t it? Could that be a prescription actually? That reading at bedtime helps you fall asleep?
Indeed so. Reading has a calming effect. You disconnect from the outer world and get into your little space, your bed. You may get into bed with a book or an inspiring work you love to read. You will see that you would not have to close the book and put it away on the side table. You would have the book in your hands still as you would have already fallen asleep. Or then the book will, in all likelihood, just drop from your hands relaxed under the influence of sleep. A compromise not too much to make to enter the land of nod. Isn’t it?
Put away the mobile and laptop
Don’t keep your mobile and laptop near you when you get into bed. You are only allowing yourself to stay up. Your whatsapp messages and sms-es will keep arriving and you will find it difficult to keep yourself from looking into the mobile. The laptop too is a great source of keeping you active. So avoid it if you want to go to sleep.
With the global connectivity that emails and sms-es and whatsapp bestow on us, we tend to break all time and space boundaries so that we could be chatting up late into the night too. Avoid it and set a time limit for yourself for these activities. They take away your precious sleeping hours.
Besides, the radiation emanating from these electronic gadgets is supposed to be hazardous to our health. So in any case it’s best to keep these away from your bed.
Keeping stress away is good
Like the mobile and the laptop, keep stress away too. Keep your mind off worrisome thoughts of the day gone by and the anticipated tensions of the next. Worries don’t help solve a situation nor do they help you sleep. When the new day comes solutions may come. And troubles you anticipate may not happen at all. So relax and feel happy.
A relaxed mind and not a tense one can invite sleep. Meditation is often suggested for a good and sound sleep. Learn, with the help of a trainer, the art of meditating.
Music makes lovely lullabies and lilting songs
You can’t remember the lullaby your mother sang to help you sleep in her lap. Perhaps you remember the lullabies you sang for your babies. Whether it is lullabies or sweet songs it is the music and soft tones that actually help you feel relaxed and help you doze off. There are, in fact, ragas (melodic patterns) in the Indian – Hindustani and Carnatic- classical music that can induce sleep. Mothers have put this to use to help their cranky babies go to sleep easily. One had to sing only a stanza of a song set in the ananda bhairavi raga, for instance, to send a little one to sleep.
So try to play some soft music at bed time. Vocal music is fine if it is soft and gentle. Definitely not a loud or harsh number to sleep! Or then an instrumental composition with music of the violin or flute playing would be wonderful. You will find yourself easily fall asleep.
A warm water shower
While a cold water shower makes you cool and fresh, a warm water shower will help you relax and enable you to doze off more easily. It not only de-tenses you, it also serves to take off the dust of the day and cleanses you.
Timing and duration of sleep are important
It is suggested, based on research, that we need to sleep seven to eight hours per day on an average, there being some small differences according to age. So, make sure you hit the hay at the right time. It is also suggested we get a couple or so hours of sleep before midnight. So plan your day well. ‘Early to bed, early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise’ is not a dictum to be slighted. By going to sleep by, say, 10 pm you can also wake up early and utilize to your best advantage the early morning hours when your productivity is the highest.
Our body adapts to schedules and to discipline quite easily and naturally. So all it takes is to set a fixed time to go to bed. And it will do well to stick to it as far as possible.
Eating and exercising are best avoided just before sleep
Finish your dinner about two or so hours before sleeping time. Also, intake of caffeine affects sleep. It will keep your brain active. And you will have difficulty dozing off. So stay away from consuming coffee as also tea just before bedtime. Exercising just before bedtime will also not let you sleep. It will make you active. So avoid that too.
Being in sync with Nature is ideal
It’s good to follow the natural clock. Be up with the sun. And turn in not too late after night fall. Or try to be close to this schedule. You will feel more fresh and energetic during the day and enjoy a sound sleep at night.