Sleep is elusive to many Singaporeans today. Many attribute it to the stresses and strains of living and working in a high pressured society like Singapore. The truth is that the human body needs a combination of physical and mental exhaustion to be able to go of to sleep. The current trend of work makes people mentally exhausted but they do not get adequate physical exercise.
The sleep routine once disrupted, develops into a vicious circle since the sufferer who cannot sleep finds his concentration decreasing, his productivity reduced, mood swings, fits of anger and a perennially exhausted state. Therefore, everyone needs to ensure that he manages a few hours of deep sleep to be able to recharge his mind and body and feel refreshed and rejuvenated after a good night’s rest.
The sleep routine needs to be taken seriously and made into a ritual if nothing else works. A few steps taken to change one’s attitude towards sleep would help in getting better sleep. A few of these are listed below and if followed, sleep will no longer remain a rarity.
1.Defining the bedroom as the room for sleep– There was a time when cars and public transport was nonexistent and people had to walk miles, carrying heavy bags and therefore return home exhausted. In that state they could fall asleep anywhere and everywhere. Now with changed lifestyles, sleep has also become serious business and it is important for the mind to register that the bedroom is meant for sleeping and resting in the room is for the purpose of getting into sleep. Working this out in the mind will help the mind overcome sleep barriers.
2.Darkness in the room- Darkness in the bedroom while sleeping is also an essential prerequisite. It helps the mind switch off since nothing is visible that would work as a distraction. Therefore, lights must be switched off and curtains drawn to shut the lights outside also from creeping in.
3.Routine sleep timings- Besides getting used to the bedroom for sleep, some kind of regularity in sleep helps as well. Turning in for the night and trying to fall asleep at approximately the same time everyday helps in getting the body adapted to a sleep regimen.
4.Avoiding substances like caffeine and nicotine- Caffeine helps in keeping the mind alert and therefore is responsible for insomnia to a large extent. The same holds true for nicotine. The body gets accustomed to a certain level of both and as these levels decline in the blood stream the individual wakes up. A nutritious diet, rich in vitamins, minerals and fiber is ideal for a healthy body and good sleep.
5.Avoid lying down till you begin to feel sleepy- Often, lying down when there is no sign of sleepiness, leads to endless tossing and turning. Sleep then remains elusive. However, sitting down with a book till sleep signs begin to appear, may help in going off to sleep as soon as you lie down.
6.Changing mattresses- The mattress is an instrument of sleep, cushioning the body and giving it the comfort it needs to go off to sleep. If for some reason, that level of comfort is not felt, it implies that the mattress no longer agrees with the body, and it needs to be changed.
7.Getting up from bed if it is not possible to sleep- You lie down thinking that you will be able to sleep in no time, but even after tossing in bed for 30 minutes to an hour, you find yourself unable to sleep, it is better to get off the bed, take a walk, read for sometime and then think of lying down again.
8.Switch off from stress at work- People often carry the work related stress home. This keeps them preoccupied and even stays in their minds as they sleep. This will work as a major deterrent to sleep.
9.Eat your meal at least two hours before sleeping- Food works as a stimulant and sleep disappears as the stomach fills up. Therefore it is better to eat early and by the time it is bedtime the food will have been absorbed.
10.Regular exercise but not before sleeping- Regular exercise is important for fitness, but doing exercise just before bedtime is not appropriate as it make all signs of sleepiness disappear.
With these steps followed, sleep will follow and once the cycle of sleepless ness is broken, regular sleep will be easy to get. The most important thing being that sleeplessness must not become a reason for added stress.