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10 tips for a restful night

education Updated: Jan 04, 2012 10:50 IST
Samir Parikh
Samir Parikh
Hindustan Times
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Sleep and related disturbances can become a significant source of distress for anyone. A normal sleep cycle is very important to ensure one’s effectiveness at work and other spheres of life. Here are some tips on how to get some good shuteye

1 Regular sleep-waking pattern: An important cause of sleep disturbances is an irregular sleep-awake pattern. This does not allow the sleep cycle to set and thus interferes with the person’s functioning. A relatively stable sleep-waking pattern goes a long way in making one feel relaxed.

2 No oversleeping at weekends: It is important to make sure that one does not oversleep at weekends. Otherwise, one wouldn’t be able to get adequate and good-quality sleep on weekdays.

3 A good physical outdoors routine: A lifestyle that includes good physical activity is essential so that the body gets fatigued enough to sleep well. Thus, it is always advisable to be physically active.

4 Ward off addictions: Say no to substance abuse, smoking, alcohol and avoid stimulants like caffeine. Avoid substances in any form. Alcohol and any kind of stimulants disrupt the sleep pattern and cause difficulties for the individual.

5 Use the bed only to sleep: A common mistake most people make is to use the bed for activities other than sleeping. This means eating or studying in the sack, which does not allow the mind to get habituated to the idea of that piece of furniture being only for sleeping.

6 A gap between the last stimulating activity and sleep: One should always keep a gap between one’s last activity such as watching TV and going to bed. This gives the mind the time to disengage and relax.

7 Read with some light music: A scientific way of ensuring that one is able to sleep soon is to read while attempting to. Also, put on soothing, instrumental music.

8 No day-time naps: The body has a specific sleep requirement and if one sleeps in the day, a part of it gets taken care of. These naps make it difficult to fall asleep at night.

9 Eat well: A healthy diet is crucial for a healthy life.

10 Do not take worries to bed: One should avoid actively thinking about the day that went by or ponder over the problems in one’s life.

The author is a psychiatrist, and chief, Department of Mental Health and Behavioural Sciences, Max Healthcare