Golden Self-help tips to overcome poor sleep – Part I
Poor sleep is a common condition affecting around one-third of the entire population at some point in their lives. It can become so troublesome that you can wake up very tired or heavy headed for the entire day . Tiredness can add to the toll in the day. Some people have irritability and are unable to concentrate because of insomnia. Some might switch to long term drugs or alcohol use which further aggravate such symptoms over time. Insomnia , on a long run, increases your chances of developing chronic health problems like diabetes, obesity , heart attacks and stroke. In addition, memory loss, depression,rapid decline in intellectual abilities can pose significant problems , when insomnia has set in for a long time. Overall, quality of physical, mental and social well-being can become crippled with insomnia.
In the initial stages, #insomnia is very easy to control. It requires a doctor to evaluate your symptoms and ascribe a cause to your insomnia and treat the cause. Besides addressing the cause, #poor sleep also needs separate attention . This is because once a person is in habit of getting poor sleep, even if you remove the cause, its effect i.e. poor sleep may persist.. In fact, the current view of most expert doctors managing poor sleep is that non-drug measures or sleep self-help tips should come as first prescriptions. Here, I present to you an overview of some important ideas and skills that can help you make your sleep better. Many of them will require the help of a psychologist .
- #Sleep Hygiene: It includes keeping a regular schedule of waking up and sleep time, even on holidays, having a healthy diet and regular daytime exercise, having a quiet sleep environment, and avoiding napping, caffeine, other stimulants, nicotine, alcohol, excessive fluids, or stimulating activities before bedtime. A usually neglected part of sleep hygiene these days is the tendency of watching movies, using internet , chatting ,etc before bedtime. This causes your brain to be active due to massive dose of visual stimulus to increase your wakefulness . People with poor sleep should carefully allot at least an hour before bedtime to relax under not-so-bright light with either a soft music or a simple book with not-very exciting but pleasant reading material like an auto-biography , etc.
- #Stimulus control therapy: It is an extension of the sleep hygiene principle where thoughts and external cues(sounds/sights, etc) that disturb sleep are kept at bay by limiting the type of activities allowed in the bedroom. An example of stimulus control is going to bed only when you are sleepy, and getting out of bed if you’ve been awake for 20 minutes or more. . A person can then engage in relaxing activity (reading, soft music) outside bed until drowsy then return to bed—But one should not make conscious attempts to go to sleep nor do exciting activities then. A lot of people worry of their plans for the day after or analyse their day at bedtime, leading to poor sleep. These people can benefit from setting aside half an hour in evening to write down things/plans for tomorrow , set alarm also or do all the necessary analysis of the previous day then, and then bury the topics long before bedtime. This is a method to have a relaxed mind in the bed. One should tell himself/ herself that things have been taken care of and need not be worried at bed. With this measure, one can condition the bed to sleep . When regularly followed , this habit can later help one fall asleep soon at the sight of bed .
Next week we shall talk of few other self-help tips to help you overcome poor sleep. Till then, have a great time !