बेहतर नींद के लिए Sleep Better


Author : Dr. P. D.GUPTA

Former Director Grade Scientist, Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology, Hyderabad, India


Sleep occupies 4th rank in essentialities for life. Sleep is crucial for everyone to live their best life, and yet many of us aren't doing it well A good night's sleep sometimes seems difficult for many of us. Sleep seems to be something we struggle to do well. However, if we do not have good sleep our ability to recharge becomes more and more difficult. Stress, technology, environment, and other factors can ruin a night of sleep, leaving you feeling exhausted when you wake up, even if you lay down 8 hours without sleep.

Try the following measures to have good sleep

Avoid artificial light before bed: Many of us watch TV before sleep until our eyes shut from exhaustion, but this isn't helping our rest at all. Blue Light from screens messes with our circadian rhythm by suppressing our melatonin secretion. In short, this means we don't fall asleep when we should and we don't get enough rest.

Set a limit that you won't look at any screens one hour before bedtime -- instead, wind down by reading a book or taking a hot bath.  

Set the correct temperature in your bedroom: If you've ever gotten in a fight with a partner about what temperature to set the bedroom at, you now have a scientific study to back you up --  researchers say that the best sleep happens in a room that's between 17-19 degrees C. You can also get some lighter blankets or use a ceiling fan.

Relax before bed: It's not a good idea to go straight from your work day into your bed -- a calming bedtime routine is necessary for a lot of people to ensure a good night's rest. A stress-relieving evening routine will help you fall asleep faster and get more deep sleep.

Some key points to incorporate into your nighttime routine are to make a to-do list for the next day right when you get home, stop drinking caffeine four hours before bedtime, and eat your final meal two hours before bedtime

Find a comfortable sleeping position: It may seem like a trivial thing, but the right sleeping position can make or break your night. If you snore, you'll want to sleep on your side. Normally left side sleeping position is recommended for good digestion. Sleep on your back if you have acid reflux, but be sure to avoid the belly-up position if you have sleep apnea or lower back pain.

Figure out any food intolerances: Your diet plays a surprisingly big role in your sleep quality. If you eat too many carbs and simple sugars, your blood sugar will vary widely throughout the day. It may spike and fall at night, leading to restless sleep. You shouldn't eat many processed foods. You also may be intolerant to foods that sound healthy, like fruit or corn, avoid them

Work with your circadian rhythm: Your circadian rhythm is an internal clock that helps your body function, adapt, and know when to sleep. To some extent, it's out of your control (for example, I'll never be a night owl) but you can use environment and light to regulate your biological clock. When your circadian rhythm is out of whack, you'll have trouble falling asleep and feel tired at strange times of the day.

If you think your circadian rhythm is off, there are several things you can do -- keep a consistent sleep and wake-up time, get light in the morning, and avoid blue light at night.

Don't overdo either tea coffee or caffeine-containing foods and drinks: You don't have to forgo caffeine completely, but it's not a good idea to drink coffee or caffeinated tea close to bed. A good rule of thumb is to avoid caffeine after 3 p.m., though this guideline is different for everyone.  When craving a cup of coffee or black tea but it's already dinnertime, make a hot cup of herbal tea or a turmeric latte. You'll thank yourself in the morning.

Cut back on the nightcaps: It sometimes feels like alcohol helps you sleep well at night, but that's not the case. A glass or two of wine may assist you in falling asleep, but it makes you wake up more often throughout the night or disrupts sleep patterns.

If you're serious about sleeping better, don't take alcohol as a daily habit -- the sleep deprivation will catch up to you in the long run.

Work out earlier in the day: Current research suggests that nighttime exercise may not hurt sleep quality (provided it's not too vigorous) and can even help some people fall asleep faster. If you usually do a hard workout at night and are having trouble sleeping, try shifting it earlier in the day to see if that helps. If you workout at night and sleep great, then keep on keeping on.

Eat dinner a few hours before bedtime: Conventional wisdom says to eat your last meal or snack two to three hours before bedtime. This will allow food to move from your stomach to your small intestine, preventing indigestion or heartburn.

Front-load your water intake: You should never intentionally drink less water -- but feeling dehydrated at the end of the day and chugging a bunch of liquids can disrupt your sleep, leading to several nighttime bathroom visits. Alcohol and caffeine may be causing your nighttime -- both are diuretics, meaning they make your body lose more water. This sleep disturbance could also be stemming from diuretic medication you're taking, like the ones used to treat blood pressure. 

Finally, nighttime urination can also be a symptom of a UTI or diabetes

Manage your mental health: Mental health and sleep have a cyclical relationship --anxiety and depression can worsen sleep quality, and sleep deprivation worsens mental health.

For people who suffer from both anxiety and sleep disturbances, cognitive behavioral therapy has been shown to be effective at treating both. Nutritional and herbal supplements are also suggested to help treat anxiety disorders. You can also try other methods of relaxation, like meditation, exercise, and finding time for meaningful hobbies.

Take short naps in the afternoon: If you nap correctly, it doesn't have to throw off your sleep later that night. Naps done right can be a great supplement to a night of lost sleep. To make sure you're not lying wide awake the night after an afternoon nap, You should nap in the early afternoon, optimize your napping environment and keep naps between 10 to 20 minutes.

Dim the lights in the evening: This tip is easy to implement -- all you have to do is turn down the lights in the evening. Light affects your circadian rhythm, and when you're exposed to too much bright light at night time it signals to your body that it's not time to go to sleep yet. Lowering the lights can make a big difference in helping you fall and stay asleep.

Use a weighted blanket: Weighted blankets are known for helping calm children on the autism spectrum, but they can also help adults manage anxiety, stress, and restless leg syndrome -- three things that can keep you up at night. Weighted blankets also promote the production of serotonin, which combats insomnia. (The author has his own study and views)