“I can manage my entire day with just 4/5 hrs of sleep” Innumerable people are heard saying that across the board of all ages, young and old. It’s a phenomenon that is gradually becoming a sort of epidemic. My question is “Why should you manage? Why shouldn’t you want to get up feeling completely rested?”
For the young it’s more often the feeling of missing out on something while they were sleeping. Like small children who refuse to go to sleep till they can no longer keep their eyes open and literally “fall” asleep doing whatever they were and where ever they are. Then there is a student group with the more genuine problems of having erratic sleep due to studies or being in love. The young adults come next with work deadlines to me met or financial and career worries. No matter what the excuse this creates a pattern that the body gets used to. Now most will claim that it should create no problem if the body is used to it but a sleep depraved body is like a bad habit.
Bags under the eyes, dry skin, hair loss these are only few of the ill effects of less sleep. The most important is the neurological imbalance that it causes within your brain, which results into a dysfunction of your entire body.
So how do we get our nightly 7/8 hrs of rejuvenation therapy?
- Try and get a regular sleep time. The body gets used to a habit. If you train yourself to get into bed at the same time every night, the body will gradually get into a pattern.
- Eat atleast 2 hours before bedtime. The body organs are continuously working and that is why the eventual wear and tear. When we are asleep, we allow them to slow down the process and thereby replenishing the energy used. If the food sits in the stomach the digestive as well as the nervous systems are still at work as they have unfinished job. So their rest time is shortened.
- Just as too much food is bad, so is too little. If you go to bed hungry, stomach acids start affecting the gut flora. A little meal of a bowl of curds, a small banana, some nuts, one small toast with honey or a chicken broth are lighter options to have if you plan on going to bed soon after.
- Dim the lights in advance and shut out as much noise as possible, when you prepare for bed, it’s a signal for your body to start winding up.
- T.V., mobile phones, laptops all radiate blue light which prevents melatonin from being produced. Melatonin is a hormone that induces sleep, puts us in a restful state of mind. So all such devices need to be switched off at least half hour before bedtime.
- The olfactory senses also help in transmitting brain signals to the brain. Lavender, bergamot, chamomile and jasmine are known to help in stress reduction, anxiety control and promoting calmness. One can spritz a little on the pillows to enhance a restful sleep.
- Sound of course affects sleep a lot and silence is ideal but very often meditative music can be conducive to relaxing the hypothalamus of the brain.
- Thoughts of gratitude. Instead of focusing on work to be done or problems that envisage our daily lives. Thinking about the things that make us happy no matter how small and insignificant they are, promote dopamine and serotonin which in turn give us a sense of gratitude and satisfaction. A well ended day always is peaceful.
- We all know that children often require comfort to fall asleep, but many adults too require that warmth of a touch. Cuddling with a loved one disburses dopamine into the system to help relax frayed nerves. The benefits of a human touch can never be undermined.
- If insomnia is a genuine problem, do contact a doctor for medicinal remedies. It is imperative that the body gets enough rest to function optimally. The avoidance of medicines that can help because of worry that it could be habit forming could in turn result with other bigger problems of decreased immunity.
Sleep is therefore as essential as air, food and water for our bodies and for our brain. Do not underestimate what rest can do for the recovering and rejuvenation of the wear and tear of our bodies through everyday living. Work hard, enjoy better and rest longer.