Making the best of your resting state

June 2000

Most people voluntarily cheat themselves out of requisite sleep, skimming an hour, so they can do more — more work, more television, more everything. The golden age of television has evolved into the golden age of sleep deprivation

FOR THOSE WHO FALL ASLEEP THE MINUTE their heads touch the pillow, sleep deprivation can never seem as nerve racking a problem as it is for insomniacs who toss and turn all night.  According to studies by sleep researchers, lack of sleep can lead to health loss, decreased productivity and impaired judgement. Not to mention general crankiness and irritability.  Insomnia also increases susceptibility to common ailments like colds and headaches. The western response has been to turn this problem into a profit and to set up sleep disorder clinics. But there are ways to naturally correct some of these problems at home.

The consensus of expert opinion is that sleep deficit is largely a function of lifestyle.  Most people voluntarily cheat themselves out of requisite sleep, skimming an hour or two so they can do more — more work, more reading, more television, more everything. The golden age of television has evolved into the golden age of sleep deprivation. Recent studies indicate that as little as an hour of less sleep per night can noticeably affect creative abilities and decision-making skills.  

The need for sleep is instinctive. Those who get enough of it spend a third of their lives engaged in this activity.  By the time most people reach age 60, they have slept for 20 years. Sleep needs vary from person to person but they usually fall somewhere between five and nine hours.  Ironically, ‘activity’ is the word that correctly describes the resting state.  The whole neurological system is quietly active, like a parked car with the motor running. But REM sleep (the deep level of sleep characterised by rapid eye movement) is like having the motor racing in a parked car.

YOU ARE GETTING ENOUGH SLEEP IF YOU regularly wake up unaided by an alarm clock feeling refreshed and vigorous.  Unless you are bothered by an ailment, not waking thus may put you in the “waking wounded” category. But remember that occasionally everyone experiences disturbed sleep. So just because you are reading this don’t think you have a problem unless it is established as chronic.

Once corrected, people with sleep problems suddenly begin to feel better, look younger and enjoy the simple pleasures of life lost earlier.  And perhaps most important, they begin to be much more pleasant people to have around.  So let’s look at some of the do’s and do not’s to help you if you are one who suffers sleep disorders.

Set a regular sleep time — even on weekends. Sleeping is a routine activity.  Sleeping late on the weekend can disrupt the internal sleep cycle, creating a home version of jet lag.  So if you’ve planned to use the weekend to catch up on lost sleep, go to bed earlier rather than wake later.  

Exercise regularly.  A healthy system makes the resting state easier to achieve. The body needs mental and physical exercise to be able to rest well.

Cut down on stimulants such as coffee, tea, colas and chocolate.  If you must, have the last of them by mid afternoon, so your night is not disturbed by them.

Make sure your mattress is a good hard cotton version as are the mattress cover, bed sheets and your night clothes.  And there are cottons and cottons.  Make certain they are truly 100 percent cotton.

Quit smoking. Nicotine is an even stronger stimulant than caffeine. According to several studies, heavy smokers take longer to fall asleep and spend less time in vital REM sleep.

Drink only in moderation.  Alcohol may be a common sleep aid, but studies have shown that even moderate drinking can interfere with REM sleep, resulting in fragmented, less than restful sleep.

Don’t take your anxieties to bed. Set aside worry for earlier in the evening or deal with it in the morning. Don’t make your bed the place to think about your problems.  Or else you will be tossing and turning in it. Leave your worries to Divine Will!.

If you can’t sleep in ten minutes, get up and read or do something until you feel sleepy. I find saying a prayer always helps. 

Develop a sleep routine. It can be as simple as taking a shower (washing your feet always helps), quiet music, any good book not related to your work.  I find television is not a good sleep inducer because of the strong electro-magnetic rays it emanates. One solution is to place an amethyst cluster crystal in your room.  Every week wash it under running water. A great way to avoid those rays. 

Your head rest should be against a wall and not a window; and your head should not point north.

Don’t go to bed stuffed or starved.  Either state will keep you up as your digestive system responds. Eating a light meal at night is in any case the best for health.  Avoid extra sugar late at night.

Try and keep to the day’s timing rather than waking late and sleeping late.  The sun helps to set your internal clock.  So early to rise and early to bed does keep one healthy and wise. Going outdoors is also as important for the very same reason.  

By following these simple rules you can make sleep the restful rejuvenating pleasure it is meant to be.      

Kavita Mukhi

Kavita Mukhi

She is the mentor of The Farmers’ Store and the founder of The Bandra Farmers Market. She is a pioneer, evangelist and an over all inspiration and motivating force of our business. She is actively involved in steering the company up the organic path and also is the qualitative think tank and procurement authority behind all the products sold at The Farmers’ Store. Learn more about her on the About Us Page!

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