Are you feeling sleepy whole day? Not able to sleep during night? Having trouble staying awake during meetings? Nodding yes to the above questions? Don’t worry you are not alone. Several people are suffering with this problem. But it’s time to take some action or else your health may be at risk.
Good and sound sleep is often referred as one of the cornerstones of health. When we say good sleep, it is not quantity that matters but it’s the quality.
Why Sleep Matters…
Sleep is a mysterious shift in consciousness where your body and brain gets relaxed to prepare for the next day’s challenges and struggles. A disturbed sleep has adverse effects on not just your next day’s performance but also it’s the health that’s on the stake.
Interrupted sleep or impaired sleep can
- Weaken immune system
- Increase risk of anxiety and depression
- Increase risk of cancer and heart diseases
- Accelerate high blood pressure and pre-diabetic state
- Decrease problem solving ability
- Impair physical and mental tasks
- Affect weight management
- Decreased concentration and motivation
- Interfere in the production of growth hormone
Worried? Take an initiative today of having a quality sleep and you can get relived from health disorders quickly. The quality of sleep is often measured by sleep-wake cycle.
The Sleep – Wake Cycle:
In a sleep-wake cycle, there are two different stages – slow wave sleep, REM sleep.
Slow Wave Sleep – During this phase, the body completely relaxes, blood pressure falls and brain becomes less responsive. This phase is very essential for repair and renewal of the body. The pituitary gland release growth hormone during this phase which ensures to stimulate tissue growth and repair. It also repairs the weak immune system.
REM Sleep – During this phase brain dreams, clears out irrelevant information, re-organizes information, boosts memory, and improves neural and learning growth.
Slow wave cycle helps to recover physically whereas REM sleep helps to recover mentally. A good sound sleep ensures these two cycles are completed.
Healthy Sleep Tips
1. Follow Consistent Schedule
Following a consistent sleep-wake schedule helps your body to re-organize its clock and improve the quality of sleep. Avoid sleeping extra hours during weekends and holidays. If you have trouble sleeping during nights, avoid taking naps during the day. Don’t fall asleep right after having dinner. Take at least 2 hours gap before going to bed after having dinner.
2. Establish A Sleep Inducing Environment In Your Bedroom
Creating a sleep environment ensures a sleep without interruptions. Your bedroom should be moderately cool, free from noise and very low in light. Ensure your mattress and pillows are comfortable. Consider using room-darkening shades, ear plugs and eye masks to sleep better.
3. Lighten Up Dinner
Eating heavy meals or drinking too much before sleeping can make you uncomfortable and decrease the quality of sleeping. Avoid drinking, smoking, caffeine consumption improves sleep quality. Be cautious of spicy foods and foods that are difficult to digest. A gap of 2 hours between and sleep is recommended by many doctors.
4. Exercise Regularly
Exercising regularly helps your body release toxins, maintain weight and improve sleep quality. Never exercise before going to bed. If you are working out at the evening, try to finish it 4 hours before going to bed.
5. Make Up A Sleeping Routine
A bedtime relaxing routine helps your body to separate sleep time from daily activities. Try to read a book or listen to music that induces sleep in you. Don’t do stimulating activities like working, reading adventurous or mystery books, listening to rock or rap music and others that disturb your sleep. Taking hot shower also helps to get proper sleep.
How To Improve Sleep
Apart from the tips we have also come up with some home remedies you can try to get proper sleep. These methods help your body relax and improve sleep quality.
1. Oil Massage
Massaging helps the nerves to relax and improve blood circulation which induce sleep.
- Take a small amount of warm coconut oil or mustard oil.
- Rub it on your neck, shoulders, feet and back.
- Continue massaging for 5 to 10 minutes.
- Massage regularly before going to bed.
2. Spa for Deep Sleep
- The magnesium sulfate present in Epsom salt soothes the sore muscles and nerves which in turn encourage sound sleep. Add 1 1/2 cup of Epsom salt to warm bath water. Soak yourself for 20 minutes.
- Or you can add few drops of lavender oil in warm water and soak yourself for 20 minutes.
- Or mix few drops of lavender oil in 1 tablespoon olive oil and rub it on the bottom of each foot before going to bed.
- Repeat any of the spa remedies 3 times a week an hour before going to bed.
3. Tea’s to Improve Sleep Quality
- Mix 2 tablespoons of dried chamomile tea in a cup of hot water. Let it steep for 5 minutes and strain it. Add 1 tablespoon honey and a pinch of cinnamon to the tea. Have the tea warm.
- Let valerian root steep in hot water and few minutes. Strain it, add honey and consume it.
- Mix 1 teaspoon dried lemon balm in 1 cup of hot water. After 10 minutes strain it to drink.
- Add 2 teaspoons of dried catnip to hot water. After 10 minutes, strain it, add honey and consume warm.
- Consume any tea 1 hour before going to bed.
- Drink regularly to improve the sleep quality.
4. Improving Smell to Induce Sleep
- Jasmine flowers reduce stress, strain and improve quality of sleep. Place few jasmine flowers near your bed or pillow to induce sleep.
- Sprinkle camphor powder inside your bedroom. This helps to bring deep and undisturbed sleep.
- Lavender oil not only increases the quality of sleep but also helps people feel refreshed in the morning. Put 1 or 2 drops of essential oil in a cloth or handkerchief and place it near your pillow.
5. Drinks that Induce Sleep
- Drink 1 glass of warm milk 1 hour before going to bed.
- For better results, mix 1 ¼ teaspoon cinnamon powder and 1/2 teaspoon honey to a warm glass of milk. Drink it daily 1 hour before going to bed.
- Consume 1 cup of tart cherry juice daily 2 times. If you don’t like the taste of the juice, then eat a handful of cherries 2 hours before going to bed.
- Eat banana 1 hour before going to bed. Or consume a banana milk shake an hour before going to bed.
Choose any of the home remedies and avail its maximum benefits by following regularly. As we have already mentioned to exercise regularly, here we are presenting few yoga postures that improve sleep quality. Include them in your regular workout routine.
Yoga Postures to Improve Sleep Quality
- Hastapadasana or Forward Bend – This asana or yoga posture helps to stretch the back muscles, revitalizes nervous system and increases blood circulation.
- Marjariasana or Cat Stretch – This yoga posture increases spine flexibility, massages digestive organs, improves digestion and relaxes mind.
- Shishuasana or Child Pose – This yoga posture helps to deeply stretch the back which helps to relax the nervous system so that you can sleep in peace.
- Baddha Konasana or Butterfly Pose – This yoga posture removes the fatigue caused due to standing or walking for long hours.
- Viparita Karani or Legs-up-the-wall Pose – This is an excellent yoga posture to relieve the stress, tired legs, mild headache and increase blood supply.
How much sleep is required?
It actually depends on the sleep debt and age of the person. But generally, for adults it is 7 – 9 hours, for teenagers it is 8 – 10 hours, school kids it is 10 – 11 hours and babies it more these. Sleeping for more or less hours both can damage your health. If you are sleeping less or more than what is required then concentrate on what needs to be done to adjust.
Record your daily sleep timings, issues that disturbing your sleep and others in a dairy to observe your sleeping pattern. This helps to evaluate the problem and find out the perfect solution for it. Despite of following the above tips and methods, if you are still facing trouble to sleep then you have to visit a doctor for proper treatment.