Do you want to look and feel relaxed? Really relaxed? There is nothing more nourishing and revitalizing than sleep. The problem is that we sometimes lose the knack of getting to sleep. This week you are going to sleep yourself back to vitality, by brushing up on your slumber ‘hygiene’, which means ensuring your bedtime habits and your bedroom itself encourage sleep.
Your Amrutam guide to restful sleep
Create the perfect bedroom
Your bedroom should be comfortable (neither too hot nor too cold), dark, quiet and free from reminders of work. Try not to watch television or eat in bed. Reserve your bed for sleep.
Reset your sleep/wake cycle
Get up at the same time every day until your body’s circadian (natural) rhythm has been restored. Even if you have been sleeping badly, try to sacrifice a lie-in this weekend. Don’t expect to feel rested if you force yourself to sleep until lunchtime on Saturday or Sunday because daylight tells your brain that it is time to wake up. This is because the sleep/wake cycle is governed by the hormone melatonin, which is sensitive to light and dark.
Don’t sleep too long
You can actually sleep too much; sleep consists of 90-minute cycles of both light and deep sleep. After a normal night’s sleep, your body wakes up naturally, usually coinciding with the end of a 90-minute sleep cycle. If you extend your sleeping hours, you risk waking up during the next cycle’s deep phase from which it is often harder to surface. This can make you feel groggy and disorientated.
Avoid rich food at night
Don’t go to bed after a heavy meal (wait about two hours) or on an empty stomach (have a snack such as cereal or a milky drink).
Adopt a new sleep position
The Chinese believe you should sleep on your right side, almost in a frontal position with your legs slightly bent and your right arm resting in front of the pillow to allow your blood to circulate freely.
The natural sleep-inducing properties of lettuces are believed to be the reason why pet tortoises, whose diet is largely made up of lettuce, sleep so much! Lettuce contains tryptophan, which triggers the production of the calming brain chemical serotonin.