Sound Sleep is Sound Advice
by MedPlus Team, September 12, 2016
Sleep is necessary as well as a great gift to man. It gives his body the rest that is needed to recuperate, clear the body of built-up byproducts of metabolism, and rejuvenates and makes him ready to take on the challenges of the ensuing day. Without sufficient and good quality sleep we would not be what we would like to be.
It is not how long one sleeps, but how well one sleeps that determines the benefits. Some time tested techniques for improving the quality of your sleep are listed below:
Stick to a sleep schedule:
Go to bed and wake up at the same time every day including weekends and holidays if you can. This sheer consistency reinforces the body’s sleep-wake cycle and helps promote better sleep at night. But if you are unable to fall asleep even after 15 minutes of getting in bed, it is advised to indulge in some relaxing activity.
According to the National Sleep Foundation exercise in the afternoon or early evening can improve sleep. However, exercising before going to bed is not advisable. Regular physical activity can enhance your sleep quality, helping you to fall asleep faster and to enjoy deeper sleep.
Create a bedtime ritual:
Carry out the same kind of activities each night before bedtime to signal to your body that its time for rest. This can include taking a warm bath or shower, reading a book, or listening to relaxing music. Relaxing activities can improve the quality of sleep as they help the transition between wakefulness and drowsiness. However, avoid more active forms of entertainment like watching TV or playing games. Some research concludes that screen time or other media use before bedtime interferes with sleep.
Be judicious in what you eat and drink:
Do not embark on your sleep either hungry or stuffed. This can result in keeping you up. Avoid drinking too much fluid in the evening and before bedtime, to avoid middle-of-the-night trips to the toilet. Stimulating substances like nicotine from smoking, caffeine from coffee or tea and alcohol contribute to wakefulness and are best avoided. The effects of nicotine and caffeine takes long hours to taper and can completely spoil your sleep. Alcohol, though it might induce sleep to begin with, can disrupt sleep later in the night.
Try meditation or similar relaxation techniques:
In yoga, which is increasingly being practiced all over the world, there is a relaxation technique called Yoga Nidra which significantly enhances the quality of sleep. Yoga Nidra involves relaxing each and every part of the body progressively starting from the toe to the head till the entire body relaxes. This takes you into a deeply relaxed state which automatically induces sleep.
Better Sleep is More Important than More Sleep:
Numerous studies have concluded that quality of sleep is more important than quantity of sleep when it comes to feeling rested and rejuvenated. Deeper states of sleep can be achieved by paying regular attention to sleep hygiene and employing relaxation techniques when necessary.