Many of us have trouble falling asleep. Many of us do not have a refreshing sleep, or one keeps waking up in between. By following basic sleep hygiene practices, these problems can be easily resolved, and you may not have to resort to sleeping pills. A few points to be remembered are as follows:
- A regular sleep-wake schedule should be made. Fix your timing. You may use an alarm clock to wake up at a fixed time every day, including the weekends.
- Avoid caffeine, tobacco, and alcohol in the evenings and at bedtime.
- The bedroom should have a quiet and cool environment. There should be no or low light, preferably.
- There should be no napping during the day.
- Do not watch television while on the bed. Avoid using computers, phones, or other light-emitting devices around bedtime.
- Go to sleep only when you feel sleepy. If you are unable to fall asleep within 20 minutes of lying down on the bed, then get up and preferably go to another room, read something or listen to some relaxing music, and return to bed only when sleepy. This may be repeated as many times as you feel necessary.
- Daily physical exercise for half an hour is recommended. It helps release stress.
- Do not plan for the next day’s activities at bedtime. It just makes your brain work harder, and it cannot relax, which hampers sleep.
- Adequate sleep time varies from person to person. You should sleep for the amount of time your body feels rested. You should wake up fresh. Do not set any fixed targets.
By following the above few suggestions, you can make a lot of changes in the quality of your sleep. It is rightly said that a good laugh and a long sleep are the two best cures for anything.
Invest in your sleep. It will help reset your brain and allow you to be more effective in the daytime. Restful sleep is indeed the foundation of good health.
The writer is Consultant Neurologist and Director, Jain Hospital and Jain Neuro Centre