The sleep schedule is pretty often messed-up. Work or studies has kept us awake way past midnight and made falling asleep harder. But the pandemic has made the whole concept of time vague. Having to spend your days and nights all at home has removed the demarcation between AM & PM. It has become convenient for us to do what we want at any time of the day.
Due to the lockdown, we saved ourselves the times we would otherwise have spent traveling to school or work or going out to fetch necessities, all of which are being done from the convenience of our homes.
So what do we do with the extra time on hand? We indulged in doing things that we otherwise did not have the time to do. Watching those Netflix shows, reading those piles of books, or even catching up with long-lost friends and relatives all have been done in this new normal. One of the most critical aspects which people wanted to rectify in this free time was fixing their sleep schedules.
Sleeping early comes with a lot benefit. Some of them are:
- Firstly, it is a known fact that sleep is essential to have our body repair itself. Just like a machine that needs to stop working for a while to allow itself not to get wear and tear, our body needs to rest similarly after a long day.
- Getting a night of good sleep helps in reducing the risk of heart diseases. When you sleep, your body rests and allows the heart not to be hyperactive. Our body releases a hormone called cortisol, a stress hormone when we lack proper sleep. This hormone triggers your heart to be more active, which leads to many complications like high blood pressure, or in the worst-case scenario, heart attack.
- Immunity is also strengthened when we get a good night’s sleep. The immune cells get the rest they need to fight diseases they otherwise cannot do during the hyperactive day.
- You feel more focused and productive when you have had a good solid sleep because your body has all the rest needed to rejuvenate itself.
Further, I will take you through the steps to fall asleep faster and let your mind and body rest.
Breathing Exercises To Fall Asleep
The first thing to do when trying to sleep is easing your body and mind by doing some light breathing exercises. It allows the body to slow down and be more mindful and aware of itself. Not only does it allow the body to slow down, but it also clears the mind of its many ongoing thoughts running through it. Have an assignment to complete? Have an important presentation the next day? Or have a truckload of house chores to do over the weekend? A simple light breathing exercise can help ease your mind and make you fall asleep faster.
For starters, follow the simple 4-7-8 breathing technique. Breathe in for 4 seconds, hold in for 7 seconds, and exhale for 8 secs. Repeat.
You can also download apps from the Play Store or App Store to help with calming down.
Use Essential Oils/Aromatherapy
Aromatherapy has been proven to help with easing and calming down your mind. Essentials oils are now found diffused in candles or found alone in bottles to be used in diffusers. Try lighting up some scented candles or use diffusers and infuse the oil with some water to help clear your mind.
Some of the essential oils used before sleeping are Lavender essential oil, Chamomile essential oil, Ylang Ylang essential oil, Sandalwood essential oil, etc. These oils are known to have soothing effects and induce sleep and help us fall asleep faster. However, people having low blood pressure and pregnant women should use these after consulting with their doctors.
Lighting plays an essential role in inducing sleep. White lights are brighter than warm golden lights, which tricks our brains to think that it is still day-time. Toning down the warmth of the light helps us relax and calm down and ease our way to falling asleep faster.
Cutting Down On Caffeine
Most of us consume caffeine throughout the day in the form of tea and coffee. In almost every Indian household, the day starts with a cup of tea. We offer tea when there are guests in our home or when we meet up with relatives. We have coffee in the evenings, or when we meet up with our friends at a café. We have all had those cups of coffee when trying to stay up late to finish a task or had a cup of ginger-tea when fighting those headaches. This later affects us when we try to sleep.
So, eliminating caffeine is essential when trying to fall asleep easier. However, when it becomes necessary to consume a cup of tea or coffee, try to have it at least 4-5 hours before bedtime.
Doing Some Exercise
When our body is tired, we sleep better. So, getting some exercise a few hours before sleep makes us fall asleep faster. Also, during exercise, many muscles of our bodies get involved, which would otherwise not be used by us during the day. Hence, our bodies then crave sleep since it needs to repair any wear and tears and tiredness from exercising.
A light exercise is also recommended for those who have to sit throughout the day due to work or studies.
Listening To Music
Music, the ones without lyrics, can help you relax after a long hard working day. Listening to instrumentals or even piano tunes will help set lighten the mood and help you loosen up before you sleep.
Melatonin is a hormone that is produced in our body, mainly during the night. It helps to align the body’s sleep cycle and induce sleep. With the advancement of technology and the further invention of electricity, the usage of artificial lighting after sunset makes our brain think that it is still daytime and not the time to sleep. Melatonin supplements are used to help our body produce melatonin to rearrange the natural sleep schedule. It is also helpful in treating certain sleep disorders.
Melatonin supplements are non-addictive, unlike the other sleeping pills, and can be used for short-term but with proper doctor consultation.
Changing Your Dinner Time
Having dinner right before going to bed or even 1 hour before can affect your ability to fall asleep faster. As soon as you finish your dinner, your body has to work itself to digest the food, making the body active and cannot prepare it to rest. So, having your dinner at least 2-3 hours max before your sleeping schedule makes it easier to fall asleep.
Getting A Comfortable Bedding
Your bed plays a huge part in how comfortably you can snug in under your blanket and feel rested and ready to sleep. Having a soft mattress allows your body to maintain its natural structure compared to a hard mattress where your body cannot stay properly aligned. Sleeping on a hard mattress causes complications in pain, and you might wake with a body-ache the next day.
Thus, sleeping on a soft mattress is essential for overall health and also to fall asleep faster. Nowadays, many mattress companies make their product targeted to provide comfortable sleep. Getting one such mattress would also be a great idea if you feel your current one is not comfortable enough.
Sleeping early also allows you to wake up earlier and get your tasks done as early as possible. It makes you more productive, and you get more time on your hands to complete your goals. I hope that by using these methods, you will be able to sleep faster and easier and have a nice trip to dreamland since traveling in the real world is still far from being safe. Your room is all you got, for now, so happy sleeping and happy dreaming!