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Secrets of a Good Night’s Sleep

Is good sleep a distant dream for you? Something you are madly craving for but seem to be so elusive? Do you spend most of the snoozing hours tossing and turning in bed? Read on…

Dos

1. Wake up and go to sleep at the same time every day-even on weekends. When your sleep cycle has a regular rhythm, you will feel better.
2. Develop a pre-bedtime routine, like reading or taking a shower before retiring to bed, and follow it religiously every night. A sleeper needs to wind down for the night and establishing a soothing ritual will give your body the clues it needs to get ready to fall asleep. You could even have a light bedtime snack, like a glass of warm milk or a banana, to help you prepare for sleep.
3. Follow a regular daily schedule. Eat meals at the same time, exercise regularly, do your daily chores as usual. The more you can accustom your body to a set routine during the day the more likely your body will be prepared to fall asleep on schedule every night.
4. If you are on any kind of medication, stick to the meal and medication timings. Any irregularity in either of these can lead to sleep disorders since it involves chemicals and hormones. Maintaining a regular diet while on medication is also as important for health.
5. Every day prepare a list of things you are supposed to do the next day. This way you will have planned the day and will not lie awake in bed worrying over the next day’s tasks. Ideally, you should plan at least two hours before your sleep time. This will give you enough buffer time to reschedule things, if required.
6. Is your bedroom sleep friendly and comfortable? If it is too bright, hot, loud or uncomfortable, it will make it hard for you to fall and stay asleep. Make sure your bed and bedroom are quiet and comfortable. A hot room can be uncomfortable. A cooler room along with enough blankets to stay warm is recommended. If noise bothers you, wear earplugs. Even a little bit of light in the room can affect your sleep, since light leads to the secretion pf hormones that regulate your sleep cycle. If you can’t install heavy blinds on your windows or get your bed partner to read in another room at night, wearing a sleep mask might help.
7. Do make sure you have a comfortable mattress and pillows. If you suffer from back problems or stiffness, there are many bed products available to support your body and help make you feel more comfortable. If you sleep on your side, a wedge between your knees can make a world of difference. If you sleep on your back, a wedge under your knees can relieve lower back tension.

 

Don’ts

1. Don’t go to bed if you are not drowsy. This reduces the time you spend in bed.
2. Don’t stay in bed if you have not fallen asleep within 20 minutes and don’t feel tired. Go to another room and engage in a quiet relaxing activity. Just don’t fall asleep there. Once you have started feeling drowsy return to your bed. If you still don’t fall asleep, repeat the process.
3. Don’t use your bed for anything other than sleeping (of course, there are exceptions to this rule, like sex and recovering from illness). If you read, eat, work and do everything else sitting in your bed, your brain might confuse your sleep time.
4. Don’t nap during the day. If you must nap, do it at the same time every day and don’t let it last for more than an hour and make sure you are up and awake by 3 pm. Otherwise, the nap may affect your ability to fall asleep that night.
5. Don’t have big meals right before bed time. They can affect your digestive system and make you feel sick.
6. Don’t do intensive exercise any later than early afternoon or mild exercise any later than late afternoon. Yes, even though many of us hit the gym only after work, those with sleep disorders need to strictly adhere to this rule. Doing stretches before bed time, however, may aid sleep.
7. Don’t have caffeine, nicotine and alcohol in the evening. That means steer clear of coffee, tea, soft drinks and chocolate. Nicotine is a stimulant, so it pushes your body to stay awake. If you are used to smoking every few hours or more during the day, your body may experience withdrawal symptoms in the middle of the night, which can interfere with good sleep.
8. Don’t consume too much liquid before bed time-chances are that you will be woken up by nature’s call.
9. Don’t use alcohol to help you fall asleep. It can disturb your sleep after just a few hours. Even if it doesn’t prompt you to wake up in the middle of the night, you are more likely to awaken the next morning not feeling refreshed, because alcohol also keeps you from getting quality sleep. Also, avoid alcohol when on medication.
10. Don’t let a pet interfere with your sleep. It can be delightful sleeping with a pet, unless your animal companion is keeping you awake.
11. Don’t let a partner interfere with your sleep. If your bedmate tosses and turns while sleeping or gets up at night, you might consider twin beds, so that you are less likely to feel the disturbance.

 

Happy sleeping!!!

Vaishali Parekh

www.indian-cooking.info

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