A good night’s sleep

Published On: July 12, 2019 08:11 AM NPT By: The Week Bureau

A good night’s rest is essential for healthy functioning of our bodies. But a lot of times, we don’t get proper sleep due to various reasons. Turns out, more than half the world’s population doesn’t get the required hours of sleep their body needs. If you are also having trouble sleeping, here are some things you should take note of to get quality sleep every night.

Light and sound are two of the most important external factors that affect sleep. Because the lights used after sundown mimic natural light, your body can’t figure out the fact that it’s nighttime and the production of melanin – the sleep-inducing hormone – isn’t activated. This affects your sleep and alters your sleeping pattern. So, turn off all the bright lights in your household and instead switch on dimmer lights that have more of a warm yellow tone to it – at least an hour before bedtime.

Karuna Kunwar, senior psychologist at the Center for Mental Health and Counseling Nepal, states that exposure to blue light that gadgets emit disrupts human sleep far more severely than overhead lightning. She suggests that you stay away from digital devices, including mobile phones, computers and even television an hour or two before you go to sleep. “When you can’t fall asleep or you wake up in the middle of the night, a lot of people have the tendency to reach for their phones and scroll through social media apps. This engages and stresses your mind so you’ll drift further away from sleep,” she explains.

Both the room you sleep in and the ambience of your house – especially your bedroom – influence the quality of your sleep. Kunwar mentions that you sleep better in an organized, spacious and clutter free room than a congested and messy one. She explains that the air pressure and the flow of fresh air is better in an open and clutter free room and claims that keeping a window or a ventilation open at night also helps this case. Besides that, a research conducted by St. Lawrence University also mentions that sleeping in a cluttered bedroom subconsciously stresses you out, which in turn hampers your sleep pattern.

Even the slightest discomfort when you are trying to sleep can keep you from falling asleep. This might come in the form of a hard mattress, uncomfortable fit of the nightdress you’re wearing or an unpleasant smell among other things. Kunwar states that these are things one has to take notice of and sort out on their own since a standard solution doesn’t work for everyone.

Meditation and journaling
“Stress is the main factor that causes a majority of people to lose sleep,” says Kunwar. Meditating for about 10 to 15 minutes right before bed can clear your mind so that you don’t stay awake overthinking things throughout the night. Similarly, journaling before bed can also help you relieve stress and calm your thoughts.

Keeping your body clean and healthy
Even though a lot of people wash their faces and brush their teeth before they go to sleep, most of them skip washing their feet. “Our bodies’ nerve endings are located on the feet. Wetting them at night soothes the sore muscles located there, aids blood circulation and calms your mind as well,” explains Kunwar. Washing your feet is especially important during summer because it helps your body cool down and lowers body temperature.

Kunwar also mentions that engaging your body in some light physical activity will also activate your blood circulation and tire your body out so that sleep comes to you naturally at night. She states that early morning is the best time to do some physical exercise and emphasizes the fact that doing even some light exercises for a couple of minutes can help you get proper sleep.

Drinking lots of water throughout the day is also essential to get quality sleep at night. Kunwar reveals that a lot of the times when people toss and turn while sleeping, or wake up in the middle of the night their body is asking them for more water. She explains that since the cells in the body regenerate during sleep, this process requires a lot of water. “So make sure you are hydrated throughout the day to ensure a good night’s sleep,” she says.

Eating right
According to Kunwar, having a heavy dinner isn’t ideal for good sleep. It puts a lot of pressure on your digestive system and this can affect your nightly slumber. Stay away from meat products and opt to fill your dinner plate with a lot of green vegetables and light food items that are easy to digest. For some people, things like drinking a warm cup of milk right before bed also helps them fall asleep faster.

Having a set routine
If you have a set bedtime routine, it will be easier for you to fall asleep in the long run. Kunwar claims that since our bodies try to mimic our biological clock, sleeping when the sun sets and waking up as the sun rises is the natural rhythm that should be followed. She also mentions that going to bed late and waking up late, and sleeping longer than necessary can also make your body sluggish when you wake up in the morning.

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