10 ways to get a Good Night’s Sleep!
A few years back after the birth of my second child, I had almost become an insomniac. A nocturnal child and a school going toddler, my hands were full and I was severely sleep deprived. Sounds like a familiar story to many, right!! Eventually, my nocturnal child became diurnal, however I remained nocturnal!! It was not so easy to get back to sleep after being awake for over a year. It had already become a habit. Let’s explore why a good sleep is important and some tips to improve your sleep!
First of all, why is sleep so important?
Many a time I come across people asking me this!! To put it in simple terms, here are the few things that happen when you sleep –
- Growth hormone is secreted by the pituitary gland that helps in the growth and repair of the body.
- The sympathetic nervous system (which controls our fight or flight reactions) rest.
- The immune system releases cytokines which reduce inflammation.
- The level of stress hormone or cortisol reduces.
In short, your body rests, rejuvenates and prepares for the next day.
So then, what happens to the body when you don’t sleep well?
- Growth hormone production is disturbed which can lead to fatigue, weak heart muscles, weak bones and low-quality hormones.
- High cortisol can lead to an increased risk of cardiovascular issues, fatty liver and high fat.
- Low level of cytokines can lead to inflammation and autoimmune diseases.
- The sympathetic nervous system, when always in an active state due to sleep deprivation, leads to heart attacks.
SLEEP CAN MAKE OR BREAK YOUR BODY!
As it is important to have a healthy diet and exercising regularly, sleep is also equally or even more important. Often people neglect to fit in sleep among other things in their daily routine. You might eat the best of the best foods rich in nutrients and exercise every day, however, you might be sleep deprived. In such a state, the results of healthy food and exercise will not be visible.
Sleep can be classified as Light sleep, Deep Sleep and REM (Rapid Eye Movement) Sleep. Approximately 1.5-2hrs is the ideal deep sleep requirement, REM should be about 1.5-2hrs and light sleep is the default sleep mode and is about 50% of the total hours we sleep. What is of significance is having 2hrs of REM and 2 hrs of deep sleep; this is enough to feel rejuvenated. Some people have mastered this art and hence can sustain on just 4 hrs of sleep, while a vast majority of us struggle to get this. Deep sleep is extremely important to your overall health as the body naturally heals itself. Your organs detoxicate, your kidneys clean your blood, your body replaces cells, heals wounds, and builds muscle tissues.
Before we get to the remedy, we need to assess if you are actually sleep deprived. So some initial symptoms are –
- deteriorating memory
- mood swings
- weak immunity
- trouble in concentrating
- low productivity
- weight gain
- low sex drive
- difficulty in responding immediately
If you are having any one or more of the above symptoms, it’s time you seriously work towards setting your sleep right.
So, what can be done to improve your Sleep?
There are many things I tried to get back to my regular sleep routine and some that worked really well are listed below –
- Doing deep breathing 30 minutes before bed: Taking in deep breath and holding for a count of 5 and then releasing it slowly. Simple, but very effective. Initially, it might make you dizzy, not to worry, just continue doing it regularly.
- Changing your Reading Habits: Reading can make some people sleep and make voracious readers wide awake. So don’t read on the bed if you are a voracious reader.
- Have an Early Dinner: Having a light dinner 2-3hrs before bedtime can help you not only sleep well but also stay healthy.
- Develop a Sleep Routine: Have a skincare routine before bed. Brush your teeth and wash your face and apply a nice soothing moisturizer all over yourself. Some fragrances like lavender can make you calm down and sleep better.
- Avoid gadgets: Keep your gadgets away from your bed and avoid using them 1 hr before bedtime. Certain content can keep you awake by awakening your curiosity.
- Chamomile Tea: Having a cup of chamomile tea 1 hr before bedtime can help you reduce stress and sleep better.
- Turmeric Milk: The age-old turmeric milk helps relieve your digestive system, aids in liver detox and helps you sleep better.
- Avoid Rigorous Exercise in the Evening: Exercising in the evening can affect your circadian rhythm. Stick to just walking if done in the evening or simple yoga which relaxes you.
- Avoid Drinking too much of fluids 2 hrs before bed: Having too much liquids post-dinner can wake you up multiple times in the night for urinating. Hence, avoid it!
- Try Visualization meditations or any form of meditation: It has a two-way benefit. Not only does it aid in sleeping better but also helps you increase your productivity in all areas of Life.
Let me know in the comments below what do you do to have a better sleep.