At 2:00 in the night, my mother was nagging my 15-year old younger sister to go to sleep, but she had no plans to doze off any soon and was busy playing games on her phone. Isn’t this a common scenario in almost every household? As the clock strikes 12:00 in the night, most of us realize we have a book to read, an assignment to finish or a game or a show to watch. With our to-do lists getting longer by the day, we cut back on our sleep time to complete those unfinished never-ending tasks! Think about how easy it is for a baby or a small child to fall asleep.This is because the baby does not have to worry about anything. But over the years it has become necessary to suppress the natural urge to sleep because of the endless chores that we dump on ourselves. We try to work both ends of the clock, staying up late and getting up early. And often when we try to ignore our calls of duty we are left with a guilty conscience which leads to insistent tossing and turning, struggling with the guilt of the unfinished job. Our mind gets crowded with unnecessary thoughts which keep bothering us even when it is time to sleep.
In the middle of all the stress of the modern-day we tend to let go off the core activity of the day that is sleep. People work without a pause or a break, eat their dinner late and sleep on full stomachs, which is absolutely unhealthy. Caffeine, alcohol, aerated drinks, overeating, obesity, excessive amounts of chocolate bars, cakes and cheese are known to cause insomnia. Staying awake till the wee hours will not help you, instead it just harms you further. We often wake up feeling hungry, irritated and with a low morale. The culprit is the reduced sleep time sleep deprivation causes irritability, inability to concentrate and headaches and increases the risks of accidents while driving or walking. Insomnia can also weaken the immune system making one prone to all sorts of illness and diseases. Sleep does good not only for your body but also works wonders for your mind and beauty.
Many a time, the atmosphere at home also causes sleep disorders. There are many factors in the environment that contribute to or affect our quality of sleep-for example ambient light, noise, temperature, air quality, odour, perfume, bed and mattress quality. Sleep is important and so is a calm environment before and during sleep. So once you hit the sack, stop updating on Facebook and Twitter or exploring your iPad. Put you phone on silent mode or better just switch it off.
Here’s a chart to guide you through the number of hours of sleep a person needs:
|Newborn 0-2 months||12-18 hrs|
|Infants 3-11 months||14-15 hrs|
|Toddlers 1-3 years||12-14 hrs|
|Preschoolers 3-5 years||11-13 hrs|
|School age children 5-10 years||10-11 hrs|
|Adolescents 10-17 years||8-9 hrs|
|Adults and elderly||7-9 hrs|
(Source: National Sleep Foundation, USA)
Also here are 10 ways to help you sleep better:
- Take a warm shower- a warm shower relieves you of all physical stress.try an aroma bath before you sleep or simply dip you feet in fragrant water for some time. Avoid shampooing your hair to steer clear of cold or sneezing
- Eat right-make it a point to eat your dinner by 8pm.have a glass of warm milk 15-20 minutes before sleeping. Avoid drinking alcohol or coffee or smoking. Avoid junk and heavy foods. But do not sleep on at empty stomach!
- Go for a night walk-take a stroll outside and breathe in some fresh air. Maintain a gap of 30 minutes or an hour between dining and walking. This exercise will improve your digestive system and help you sleep tight!
- Wear comfortable clothes-wear comfortable cotton clothes while sleeping. Don’t wear anything tight or clothes that have elastic bands on them
- Check your bedding-always sleep on a clean bed. The mattress must be firm and supportive. Never compromise when it comes to bedding
- Concentrate on your breathing-try mediating to improve your quality of life
- Say bye to technology-avoid listening music through an earphone for long hours before sleep. Also keep away from playing games, listening to audio books, texting, etc. TV can be addictive and can keep you up for long hours..A ringing phone can disturb you too. Also don’t keep it under your pillow; that will save you from its radiation.
- Maintain the light-use a dim light in the room. Bright light makes it difficult to doze off. Even the light form your cell phone can disturb your eyes and your sleep. Similarly avoid a pitch dark room.
- Beat the temperature-your room should not be too hot or too cold to sleep in. Open the windows for good air circulation. If it is very hot switching on the air conditioners or air coolers can be helpful. During winter, keep the room warm.
- Read well-avoid work-related issues or heavy reading during bedtime. Flip a light magazine or book. Don’t over-think too.
Our body heals, repairs and revitalizes itself when we sleep. Sleep will help you avoid bloodshot eyes, a pale washed out complexion, under-eye dark circles and puffiness in the eyes. Create a healthy environment around you and have a good night’s sleep so you can wake up energized, ready to fight the world with a smile on your face.