Most of us follow a routine when it is time to sleep. The routine may involve changing into nightwear or comfy clothes, brushing your teeth, washing your face and clearing up the bed. Puff up the pillows, turn off the lights and you are all set to snooze. But some of us take one extra step after all this, we open up our favourite electronic gadgets for a bit of screen time before going to bed.
The kind of screen we use may vary - some of us just want to use the TV in our rooms to catch up on some late night news. There are a few who simply look up memes or funny videos before nodding off. Some of us may play a game on our phones or listen to some music. Others may use take the time to send a goodnight message to our friends and family.
But could this screen time be affecting the quality of our sleep? Research has shown that the blue light from the screens can reduce your chances of a proper undisturbed sleep. The light enters our eyes and passes on through the retina to the hypothalamus, which is the part of the brain that controls sleep. This can delay the release of melatonin - the sleep-inducing chemical.
Do you see the irony? Sending that goodnight message after staying up has caused you to miss out on a good night’s sleep that you deserve. Not getting enough sleep can cause a number of problems - obesity, strokes, not being able to perform tasks, diabetes, heart attacks and heart failure. Also, sleep is known to flush out toxins from your brain so if you aren’t getting enough sleep, you will not be able to think clearly or fast enough.
One thing you may notice from using the gadgets right before bedtime is that you will wake up still feeling tired or drowsy rather than refreshed and ready for the new day. This is why you should try to incorporate a healthy habit of unwinding from these harmful gadgets before going to bed. Here are a couple of habits you can develop:
After you turn off the lights, sit cross-legged at the centre of your bed with your eyes closed. Focus only on your breathing and feel the stress leaving your body right from your head, down to your neck, chest, stomach, hands, legs and finally reach the tips of your toes. You can then slowly extend your legs and continue to focus on your breathing and how you can feel the oxygen flowing through your entire body. You will eventually fall asleep with this form of meditation.
If your body feels tired, it is more likely that you will fall asleep easily. Make it a habit to get up and exercise every day. It doesn’t matter what kind of exercise you do. As long as you are moving for 30 minutes every day, you are doing enough. Try to get active for say 15 minutes in the morning and then 15 minutes in the night. This is all you need for a healthy body and a good night’s sleep.
A nice warm shower with a sweet smelling bath gel is sure to get you relaxed and ready for bed. You can even scrub your body nicely to get rid of germs and body odour. Once out, slather on a sweet smelling body lotion, preferably of the same fragrance. Slip into some comfortable night clothes, turn off the lights and you are all set for some much-needed sleep.
4. Soft music
Some people may prefer to sleep in an environment with just a little bit of soothing sounds. If you find that you are unable to sleep despite trying all of the above, try playing some soft music in your bedroom to help drift you off to sleep. There are plenty of free songs on YouTube that is meant to help you fall asleep. If you don’t want the music to be playing through the entire night, you can choose a song that only lasts for an hour or so - until you have attained deep sleep that is.
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