By Dr. Sougata Kumar Hui, General Physician
The key to a moderately healthy life is often vested in the kind of lifestyle you lead. Certain alterations in your daily routine can bring marked changes in your overall health. The amount of sleep a person gets on a daily basis decides his or her temperament, productivity, and most importantly, the person’s health. If you thought sleep was only a means to relax, you were very wrong.
Getting in sync with your body’s natural sleep-wake cycle, or circadian rhythm, is one of the most important strategies for sleeping better. If you keep a regular sleep-wake schedule you’ll feel much more refreshed and energized than if you sleep the same number of hours at different times, even if you only alter your sleep schedule by an hour or two. A few effective ways can be followed to help the case of sleep deprivation.
- Exercising regularly can have far- reaching effects on your sleep patterns - Lack of physical exertion could be the reason behind light or irregular sleep patterns. To remedy the situation, you need to exercise regularly. Heavy cardiovascular exercises are not always necessary; you could do a set of free- hand exercises each day for a stretch of twenty minutes to keep healthy. This helps you to get good sleep at night.
- Eat healthy to sleep well - The kind of diet you follow can also affect your sleep. If your intake of caffeine, nicotine or alcohol is too high, you are sure to face problems in sleeping. It is necessary for you to eat a light dinner; being overly full or being on an empty stomach can ruin your sleep too. Avoid greasy foods, especially at night, as acidity spoils your intentions of getting a peaceful sleep.
- Make sure your night’s sleep is associated with one particular ritual - It is best to accustom your body with a ritual that you particularly carry out before going to bed. For instance, you could take a shower in warm water or massage your head with hot oil before retiring for the day. Such a ritual signals your brain cells that they are required to get some sleep now.
- Keep away from electronic gadgets before going to bed - The bright light of television sets, laptop screens or even cell phones can interfere with your sleep routine. Spending a lot of time on electronic gadgets at night excites your brain neurons, preventing them from any kind of relaxation.
- Cut down on sleep during the day - While twenty to thirty-minute long power naps during daytime can help restore drained out energy, longer naps are actually harmful. If you sleep for long stretches in the day, you will invariably fail to get sufficient sleep at night. Hence, remind yourself to not fall prey to the temptations of a comfortable bed during daytime.