The gentle journey to a sound sleep

“Sleep is the golden chain that ties health and our bodies together,” said Thomas Dekker the 16th century English Elizabethan dramatist. It has indeed been known across ages to be the most basic secret to a healthy body and mind. This is because good quality sleep brings with it manifold benefits that include proper facilitation of bodily processes, good emotional health, attentiveness and concentration and the ability to cope with a stressful and active schedule.

The rigors of the day can leave you feeling completely exhausted and it is through sleep that the human body and mind rests, recovers, heals and rejuvenates, to face another day. An average adult needs at least 7 to 8 hours of sleep every night to feel well rested. A failure to cover these hours, especially on a regular basis can lead to sleep deprivation, which poses serious short and long-term impacts on your health and general wellbeing.

Therefore, it becomes imperative to ensure a sound sleep every night, despite the busy life you lead. In fact, it is because of the busy life you lead and the fatigue it brings that a good night’s sleep becomes even more consequential.

Thanks to stress, anxiety, technology and other new age factors, you face a perpetual state of insomnia – voluntary or involuntary. There is so much going on in the real and virtual world, that you place less value on going to bed on time, afraid to miss out. Often, even if you manage the feat of hitting the sack on time, sleep is elusive, causing you to toss and turn and lose precious hours of rest. This is a real problem with a simple solution.

How you prep yourself for bed makes a colossal difference to the quality of your sleep. When the system begins to wind down for the day, there are a few things that you can do to make a smooth transition into a long, restful slumber:

  1. Switch off from technology – In the current times, this is one of the biggest distractions that keeps us from our shuteye. So switch off your phone or set it on silent mode and leave it in another room. Save the next episode on Netflix for the next day and gradually wean yourself off the habit of binge watching. Remember, nothing is more important than your rest. Moreover, the vibrations and radiation that emanates from these devices are harmful for you, so you’re better off maintaining some distance.
  2. Follow a personal care regime – Allot a fixed time before bed to pamper yourself, which could range from 15-25 minutes. Be it cleansing and moisturizing your skin, soaking your weary feet in a tub of warm water or applying oil to your hair. Not only would this regular practice benefit your body, it would do wonders to relax your mind.
  3. Claim your ‘me time’ – The end of the day calls for quiet reflection and ‘me time’ – an intimate moment with yourself to process and accept the events and feelings of the day, to send out gratitude and look forward to another full day. The practice of meditation before sleep time could help calm and steady your breathing, to clear and unclutter the mind of thoughts and anxieties that can be a hindrance to peaceful slumber.
  4. Get a massage – Relaxing and loosening taut and tired muscles and nerves can help prep the body for a sound sleep. Pressure areas like the face, head, neck, back, hands and feet can be soothed by a gentle massage, even putting you to sleep.
  5. Keep a journal. Write in it – Sometimes, the events, thoughts and feelings experienced during the day can be overwhelming. This often keeps the wheels of the mind spinning, which could possibly lead to insomnia. So, reach out for that journal and pour everything into it! Writing has the incredible ability to help clear the mind. It’s like talking to an old friend.
  6. Read a book – Go back to the basics. Pick up that book you’ve been meaning to read but never got around to reading. Settle into a cosy armchair or in bed and make it your own comfortable reading corner. You could even schedule to read a set number of chapters every night before lights out. One of the healthiest activities to indulge in before bedtime.
  7. Listen to music – Different mediums work for different people. For the musically inclined, listening to a soft, melodious playlist before settling in for the night can help soothe anxiety, relax the mind and lull you into sleep. Music has been known for its powerful effect on physiological functions like bringing down blood pressure, reducing the production of stress hormones and slowing down the pulse and heart rate. So play away, but keep it down.
  8. Create the right ambience – The ambience in your bedroom influences the feelings and emotions that you take to bed. You spend the whole day exposed to bright light, either indoors or outdoors, so when night falls and it’s time to unwind, turn your lights down low to go easy on your eyes and senses. Light up some relaxing aroma therapy oil in a diffuser and fluff up your bed to make it look more inviting and cosy for yourself. Water the indoor plants, stare at the sky from your window and soak in the gentle ambience of your room. You are so ready for bed!

How you sleep is in your hands. Begin with falling in love with your sleep time and follow these simple measures to ensure a long, restful and delicious slumber from which you are bound to awaken refreshed and alive in the morning.

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