DOCTOR’S ADVISE ON ENHANCING THE QUALITY OF SLEEP

Dr. Rajkumari P. Reddy, Clinical Psychology Department, NIMHANS  advices to people for a  peaceful sleep every night.

  1. Lie down to go to sleep ONLY when you feel sleepy
  2. Use a comfortable bed and pillow, with low lighting, comfortable air circulation and temperature. Do not use your bed for other ‘waking’ activities like eating, watching TV or working.
  3. Establish some ‘sleep routines’ – e.g., a bath, music, mug of warm milk, change into night clothes, read a book.
  4. Get up at about the same time every morning (7 days a week), regardless of when you went to bed, and how long you slept. This helps set circadian rhythms.
  5. Do some form of relaxation each day, but work out your best time for it (just before bedtime can make you alert & less sleepy!) – Meditation, relaxation tape, yoga, breathing exercises
  6. Exercise and physical activity, particularly early in the day, helps to reset the body clock, and enhance deep sleep.
  7. If you are having trouble getting to sleep at night, try not to nap in the day. Especially avoid napping later in the afternoon. If you do strongly feel the need for a nap, restrict it to no more than 30 minutes.
  8. Before your usual bedtime –
    • a. Try to avoid foods or drinks with caffeine (tea, coffee, chocolate, cola or energy drinks) at least for four hours prior.
    • b.    Best not to drink alcohol for at least 2 hours prior. The sedative effects of alcohol are short-lasting, and disrupt deep sleep stages.
    •  c. Where possible, avoid checking emails, bills and work-related activities at least an hour prior.
    • d. Keep TV and reading content to something pleasant and relaxing – avoid games & thrillers because the content can stimulate rather than relax the brain.
    • e. Reduce gadget use – particularly videos, games and other stimulating content. Keep gadgets out of the bedroom if necessary.
  9.  If you are not asleep 30 minutes after turning the light out, get up, go to another room and do something low key (read a book/magazine, watch TV). If you return to bed and still cannot sleep, or if you go to sleep and then wake up in the night, go back to a low-key activity until you feel drowsy again.
  10.  Learn to reduce thinking and worrying in bed.If you catch yourself worrying, try to replace the worrying thoughts with something more helpful and soothing:

“Whatever it is, I’m not interested now. I’ll think about it tomorrow. I’m just going to sleep now”

“There is nothing more I can do today. There’s nothing I can do until tomorrow.”

“If I don’t sleep tonight I’ll be tired tomorrow. That will be unpleasant, but nothing bad will actually happen”

“This is normal. A lot of people wake up during the night. I’ll just go back to sleep now”.

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