Welcome to the world of super foods, power yoga and brilliant life hacks which teach you the formula of an epic life from alpha to omega. Today, the world of internet and various other platforms have brought you closer to a life which you can read and research before you actually live it. Trust me…our generation is far more prepared to face life than any of our ancestors.
But wait a second…is life only about living at a racing speed? Should it not halt and rest before preparing itself to bask in the glory of another superb day? Of course it should.
Nothing soothes and rests life better than a serene night of good sleep. Sleep is the one and ultimate solution to calm down and moderate the engaging and engrossing challenges of everyday life.
Sleep well for a couple of nights and you will know what it feels to fall blissfully in the lap of serenity, absorbed in the world of tranquility and lost in the world of dreams.
Yes…believe it or not but sleep does wonders to our body. It not only banishes those under eye circles but also does a whole lot of goodness to your inner machine. It revitalizes your body organs, keeps your heart stable and healthy, aids in better blood circulation and boosts your memory. In a nutshell it stimulates the growth of your body and entire metabolic system.
Having discussed the innumerable perks of this natural activity it is of paramount importance that we understand ways and means to enhance the quality of our sleep and glorify this every day experience.
Tune in to your body’s natural circadian clock which is linked to the nature’s cycle of sunrise and sunset. Going to bed and waking up at a set time conditions your body to follow a regular sleep pattern which enhances the quality and quantity of your sleep.
As per a study those who normally follow a regular sleep time but cheat on those timings on a weekend, reported poor sleep.
Try setting a time which does not hamper your daily routine and allows you to naturally retire for the day at almost the same time every day.
Stick to this schedule for a couple of weeks and you will not need the alarm clock to show you the morning sun. Set your internal alarms and follow them religiously.
Yes…those 5 + 5 minutes of sleep that you borrow from your alarm clock is in no way healthy. It leaves you lousy feeling like a slammed door which has been opened, shut and again opened.
To add to the woes, when you suddenly jump out of the bed with the guilt of sleeping longer and being late to work, it gives you a sudden shot of stress in the morning which can be the last thing you would desire at the start of the day.
Do you know a cappuccino at 6pm can hamper your sleep tonight? For that matter why cappuccino…it is the same for all teas, coffees and colas. The caffeine component in these drinks triggers the brain and restricts it from falling asleep.
The drink has a long lasting effect and it stays in your body for about eight hours hampering your sleeping capabilities. So next time…you go on a coffee date…remember to sip up that coffee by 4 pm.
Do not drink caffeine after 4-5pm on a daily basis.
Believe it or not…alcohol is the biggest hindrance to quality sleep. No doubt, it gives you a high and then transforms you into serenity where you feel lost and magical but the fact is that it does more damage to your sleep than any other intake.
When the effect of the alcohol fades away in the middle of the night, it is likely to leave you with a bad hangover that spoils your remaining sleep.
This is true…nicotine deters sleep and stimulates the brain thereby withdrawing you from calm and composed sleep. It also interferes with your breathing cycle at night and can cause sleep respiratory disorders like sleep apnea or snoring. So stay away from puffing and more so restrict your puffs at least two hours before sleep.
An urge for a large indulging dinner with friends and family cannot be ruled out but when it comes to quality sleep, you have to resist that urge. No doubt that freshly roasted turkey can be flattering on your tongue but it can ruin your sleep that night.
Heavy dinners are bound to add pressure to your digestive system, initiating heart burns, acidic burps and even refluxes when you lie down on your bed. So, eat light and sleep tight is the mantra for a good night of sound and comforting sleep.
Keep the dinner hours early, so that your digestive system has sufficient time to slip and absorb food rather than create an inner turbulence when you hit the pillow.
No doubt regular exercise is a blessing to boost your sleep abilities and has proven to increase sleep time by 18% in most of the people who exercise regularly. However, immediately before going to bed or at least 4 hours before hitting the bed, it is recommended that you get off the tread mill and keep away those dumbbells.
The simple logic behind this is that sleep indicates preparing your body for rest, while exercise stimulates the body and activates the adrenaline rush. It increases your alertness and focus, which you do not desire at a time when you want to unwind and de-stress.
Imagine you are on board on an aircraft which is about to take off and you fear flying… what are you advised? Breathe deeply. Why?...Simple because it calms you down and relaxes your nerves.
Similarly every night when you prepare to take off on a journey to slumber land….relax…breathe deeply. Inhale for about 5 seconds…hold on for three and then exhale to a count of 5. This will release endorphins that will relax your nerves, inviting sleep in a calm and composed body.
Do not carry the luggage of a hectic day into your bedroom. If you do, you will never have a good and sound sleep. Forget about your tiff with the boss, the appraisal next month or even the client meeting scheduled the next morning.
This night is to sleep and relax. If still you cannot get over the turbulence in your head, sit down at your desk and pen down your worries, pour out your heart on that piece of paper and vomit all those worries before you wear your night cap.
Our mind is like a vast canvas and it paints the picture based on the colors we choose. Though it may sound silly, but a recent study shows that visualizing scenes of calmness and serenity are actually sleep inducing.
Imagine yourself, sitting face to face with the vast expanse of the sea watching the sunset, and gradually you will feel your head sinking into the pillow like the sun setting down the horizon. So what are you painting tonight?
Generally recommended as an early morning practice, meditation can do wonders at night to calm down your racing mind and increase concentration and focus to induce sleep.
Our mind is like a racing horse and we need to tame it down with soothing practices like meditation that relaxes the mind and body. Alternatively you can also say a small prayer with few thanksgiving words to the Almighty for all the blessings that helped you sail through the day peacefully.
What happens when you want to fall asleep but sleep does not want to fall into your lap. It leaves you turning and twisting in bed. Then you pull out your smart phone and check all messages. If still it doesn’t work then you stare at the ceiling lost in all wild thoughts.
No matter how natural this may sound, believe me this is wrong. If you do not sleep within 20 minutes of touching your bed…leave the bed and try some light activity which is likely to induce sleep.
Re-arrange the books on the shelf, stroll down the house to check the locks or simply sit and write your thoughts but do not struggle in bed for long.
Have you ever dozed off turning the pages of a book and starting from the same page next day, because you were completely unaware when you actually slipped into slumber land? Well, you will know what I am talking if you have ever experienced the magic that the black and white print can do to invite sleep.
You read and re-read a sentence, while your eyelids gently close and trap that precious sleep. Yes that is the effect reading can do at bedtime. But remember keep the topic light and easy, any heavy content can strain your brain and can have a contrary effect.
Soaking in at least 15 minutes of gold sunshine during the day helps to reset your biological clock and invite sleep on time during the night. Especially early morning dose of bright sunshine can be a blessing to your overall health.
Blue light exposures from any electronic gadget like your phone, tablet, laptop or iPad is bad when trying to sleep. This is because the blue light triggers your mind creating a false impression of daytime and restraining it from relaxing. It also reduces the hormone melatonin that largely affects the quality of your sleep.
Certain elements in our body induce sleep and magnesium is surely one of them. Munch some magnesium rich food before bedtime. This could include a handful of pumpkin seeds, a bowl of spinach salad or some Swiss chard. While this satiates your night time cravings for a last munch, it also does its share of goodness.
Often used to combat insomnia, melatonin supplements are taken to aid melatonin hormones that induce sleep in humans and signals to the brain that it is time to relax and fall asleep. However, consult a doctor before opting for one.
Research shows that a warm bath or shower 90 minutes prior to retiring for the day invites better sleep especially in elderly people. It relaxes and soothes your nervous system, while hydrating your body and preparing it for sleep.
Alternatively, if you do not want to take a full shower, consider soaking your feet in warm water for 20-25 minutes and pampering them with a good moisturizer. It has the same effect as a night shower.
A short daytime nap of 30 minutes is believed to bring good results and recharge your brain to function more effectively for the remaining day. However, a nap longer than this is likely to confuse your biological clock and disrupt your sleep pattern. It can leave you struggling for sleep at night, because your body already had its quota of sleep irrespective of the time.
Remember those lullabies that drifted you to sleep while your mother hummed them when you were a kid. Unfortunately, we cannot have our moms do the same throughout our lives, so thanks to technology that can create the same effect.
Load some light bed time stories in your iPod and allow your brain to soak in the rhythm of the words while you gently drift into the land of dreams.
Achieving the perfect temperature for good sleep may require some days of practice for you but it is not tough. Remember the basic-too cold or too hot temperatures can disturb sleep.
Choose a temperature that is moderate and in tune with your body temperature and the temperature outside. Of course, do not ignore the comfort of your sleep partner, else it can soar tempers if not temperature!
Light is the biggest signal to your brain-that activates or relaxes it. Whenever, your brain receives a light source, it is signaled to believe that it is day and it turns into action.
So if you are aiming at peaceful sleep then make sure that there is no sneaky light entering from any of the unclosed doors, half drawn curtains or night lights in your lobby reflecting on the glass door.
Looking groomed and chic during the day is good, but taking care of personal hygiene in bed is equally important. Every night before going to bed remember to brush your teeth. This will keep the foul smell off from your mouth and avoid bacteria to breed on the cheese that you had for super.
Also wash your face and remember to moisturize your face, hands and feet. This not only makes them soft and supple but also relaxes and cools them.
How do you feel when you enter a spa? Relaxed… even before you are pampered by the therapist. Ever thought why? Of course, it is the smell of those essential oils like lavender, chamomile, ylang ylang and many more.
Take a few drops of essential oil and water in a spray bottle and spray them on your mattress and pillow and feel the magic. You not only accentuate the ambience of your bedroom but also your sleep inducing hormones.
What disturbs you most in sleep? Perhaps the barking dogs outside, the noise of the television in the other room or simply the noise of doors opening and closing in some part of your house or backyard.
Well some sound machines are designed specifically to create a soothing noise that helps you to tune in with it and disconnect with all other noises that disturb you. Try to get one for your bedroom if noise is your biggest problem to sleep.
No doubt the bed, mattress and pillow form the basis of your sleep, but if they are not of good quality they can terribly mess up your sleep. A mattress that is old and sagging can cause you back pain, fail to give you support and ultimately disrupt sleep.
Your pillow is a big support system in your sleep. Ideally it is used to keep the head, neck and back aligned. If the head and neck are not aligned at proper angles, it can lead to cramps and strains which can further aggravate a bad night of sleep. If you sleep on your stomach, then keep the pillow as thin and flat as possible. It aligns your body well and keeps the support more solid and better.
Your bedroom is your heaven for sleep. Keep it clean, and free from noise and dirt. Choose a wall paint that is soothing and accentuates a mood for relaxation rather than one which distracts you from sleep.
Do not crowd your room with too much furniture or upholstery. Keep it simple and add space which shall mentally help you to unwind. Avoid too much light in the bedroom, as it disturbs your sleep cycle. Create an environment which is light and relaxing and which naturally induces sleep.
Your furry pet can share your living room, your garden, your study with you but certainly not your bed. Sleeping with pets especially furry pets like dogs and cats is definitely a bad idea.
They leave their furs all around and can infect your bed which in turn passes on to you in the form of allergies. Further, you can surely not tune in with their sleep cycles, so why disrupt yours with their presence?
Although this trick may not work for all, but if you have cold feet and often search those warm corners in your mattress then it would be best to put on your socks for a warm and cozy sleep. Try cotton socks that not only keep your feet warm but also soft and supple.
Reserve the bed for sleep and some intimate moments with your partner only. The rule is simple, you want to sort the bills or answer mails…finish the work on the couch before you shift to the bed. Any activity that demands intellectual attention of the brain should be done outside the bed else it distracts sleep and ruins all your attempts to fall asleep.
Sleep related respiratory disorders like snoring or sleep apnea not only disturbs your sleep but also that of your partner. If you really want to fight snoring without relying on medications then try side sleeping. It is one of the best ways to combat snoring and have a restful and noise less sleep throughout. Try it for some days as a practice till it gets imbibed in your system like a natural habit.
Some medicines come with the side effects of affecting sleep. If you feel that your current medications are hindering your sleep, consult a doctor and try getting better alternatives with lesser side effects.
Never try to compensate for a poor night’s sleep by a sleep in or waking up late on weekends. It can seriously upset your sleep schedule and mess up your sleep for many more days. So, forget the lost sleep and concentrate on your present sleep that is likely to benefit you more.
Listening to soft, soothing and light music at bedtime can actually be comforting and relaxing. The benefits may not be evident overnight but it shows over a period of time. It relaxes your brain, inviting sleep and giving you a restful night of sleep.
You sleep more soundly, wake up less during the night and feel fresher in the morning. Familiar songs and tunes work well at night, especially those which you have already listened a couple of times. So you just enjoy the hum rather than trying to figure out the lyrics.
A clean, neat and breathable bed and mattress is the ultimate prerequisite to quality sleep. No doubt the satin and silk bed sheets give you a soft and luxurious feather feel but they are likely to trap air and block ventilation.
Try organic cotton or linen covers that are light and soft and allow air to pass through your mattress. They regulate the temperature of the mattress close to your skin and give a cool and breezy feel. Wash the bed linen once a week to keep away dust, germs and bacteria.
For those of us who are stomach sleepers this may be bad news. But his is the hard truth… when you sleep on your stomach you shift all the weight of your body on the torso region. Your head and neck are never aligned and often sit at an angle on the pillow to allow you to breathe sufficiently.
This strange posture may comfort you for the night, but the fact is that it exerts undue strain and pressure on your head, neck and spine. You are more likely to wake up in the middle of the night trying to relieve the pressure areas or wake up in the morning with an aching neck.
The message to take home here is that belly sleeping adversely affects the quality of your sleep. Try opting for other sleep positions.
Wearing an eye mask blocks the light entering your eye and improves the quality of your sleep. You may feel a bit conscious and uneasy wearing one initially but soon your system shall get used to it. It also restricts your temptation to open your eyes and stay awake despite your mind signaling them to close and retire for the night.
Dryness in the bedroom can create a difficult environment for sleep. Adding a humidifier to your bedroom maintains optimum moisture and keeps the air cool. This hydrates the environment of the area and allows better breathing in sleep.
All day long you stress your feet and do all the running around on them. So at night, it is time to pamper your running mills. Yes… soak them in warm water and condition them well with a moisturizer.
If possible allow someone to give you a good foot massage that de-stresses the nerves and drains the fatigue out of your body. Then see the magical effect…you will never know when you slipped into sleep while your feet indulged in the pampering.
Of course you would love to cuddle with your partner in the king size blanket that wraps the both of you in bed but what when in the mid of the night you find yourself struggling to find your share of the cover? Well in most cases it is found that sharing blankets often leaves one partner cozy while the other chilling and struggling to find comfort thus affecting his/her sleep.
Try to take separate blankets which shall give you better cover and comfort. It also helps to keep the motion transfers from been transmitted from one end of the bed to the other. So each creates a comfort zone without inflicting the others’ sleep.
You have probably heard the rule that eating carbohydrates once the sun goes down only adds to your waistline and mid section area.
But it is not always so…while it hugely depends from person to person, but the fact is that a good combination of carbohydrates and proteins loaded with Vitamin B6 can help to stimulate the melatonin hormone which usually affects the quality of your sleep.
So, some mashed potatoes with plantain and a drizzle of olive oil actually could be a healthy snack before you turn off the lights for the day.
Check out these articles to find the best recipes rich in carbs and proteins.
This wonder herb is a tried and tested solution to better sleep. It calms down your digestive system and lowers your anxiety level thus initiating internal peace in the body for better sleep. Making this tea is pretty easy, I'm sure you can add this extra ritual of preparing tea before bed in your schedule very easily,
As per a research, millions of people the world over are most affected in bed by the undesirable work related worries that clutter their mind.
While your mind rewinds the activities of the day, you hold on to the frictional moment you faced in the conference room, or the deadline which you missed because of a faulty error in reporting, the presentation that was expected to be better or the targets that hang on your head like a sword.
They are all justified but not at bed time. When you enter the bedroom, leave your worries outside at the door. As in most cases, worries do no good, but at bed time they can be a big menace. De-clutter and delete all worries before you hit the pillow.
Oh God! That was indeed huge….yes 44 solutions to trap that humble thing called sleep. But don’t take it like a medicinal pill. You don’t really have to follow all those tips and tricks listed above.
See what works best for you. Of course…ultimately you need to decipher your lifestyle, your daily regime, body type, food habits, physical environment and decide the solutions that work out best for you. None of the tips listed above guarantees immediate results but each comes with the promise and potential to show you results if followed with a little patience and perseverance.
And once you crack your sleep solution, stick to it and follow it as much as possible. You will be amazed to see the goodness that a blissful and serene night of sleep can induce into your ordinary life, making each morning and day remarkably special.
Why wait? Go…unlock your Sleep Solution today!