Do you live a fast-paced lifestyle? A full-time job, family and a busy schedule can at times affect your physical and mental well-being more than you imagine. These are often reflected in early onset lifestyle diseases like high cholesterol, high or low blood pressure, diabetes and so on.
But a major lifestyle problem that goes unnoticed is disturbance in sleep patterns and at times even serious sleep problems like insomnia or sleep apnea.
Sports Neurologist Dr. Vernon Williams emphasizes the need for good sleep:
“Your brain uses sleep as fuel, like food and water for your mind. The more quality sleep you get, the better your brain functions.”
Sleep is one of our body’s major processes that is surprisingly complex.
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Physical repair, mental healing and physiological balancing are some of the important functions that take place when you sleep.
The American inventor, Joseph Cossman once said, “The best bridge between despair and hope is a good night’s sleep”.
A good night’s sleep can regulate our mood, relieve stress, increase our daily productivity and balance our physical and mental health.
Problems with sleeping pattern can occur due to many reasons.
Though it can be difficult to find out the underlying cause immediately, years of research and experiments devoted to the study of sleep has enabled us to figure out problematic pattern and find the perfect solutions.
Sleep problems range from sleeping too little, too much, feeling tired after your sleep, taking too much time to fall asleep, inability to get deep sleep and so on.
Our body’s circadian rhythm is closely linked to our sleep patterns. In simple words, the circadian rhythm is our sleep-and-wake cycle. It is heavily influenced by external factors like changes in light, sound input and temperature.
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So, the reason that the human body tends to stay awake during the day and sleep at night is due to its natural inclination to have a healthy circadian rhythm that responds to day and night changes around us.
Our body produces the sleep hormone, melatonin naturally by the end of the day when our surroundings get darker and the hustle-bustle of the day decreases.
Melatonin production can sometimes be affected due to the following reasons:
Increased Screen Time
Our lifestyle has made it impossible to avoid screen usage. Whether it’s scrolling through your social media feed or staring at a computer screen during work, the blue light of your devices can cause more than physical damage of your retina and vision.
Increased screen time particularly during night is linked to sleep problems. The blue light can disrupt the natural circadian rhythm of your body, confusing its need to wind down at the end of the day.
Changes in Work Shifts
Working a night shift can confuse our body’s natural biological clock since it is being forced to stay awake and alert during the night while it is dark outside. Simultaneously, we are expected to rest during the day when it has a natural inclination to be active with light in the surroundings.
Our circadian rhythm does not change easily according to our travel patterns across different time zones. As a result, you may feel sleepy when your new time zone demands you to stay awake while you remain alert and jumpy during the night. Our brain can naturally adjust to time zones shifts at its own pace and the rate at which we all do this differs.
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However, consistent travel over varying time zones at a regular rate can confuse your brain and make it difficult to fall back into a normal sleep cycle.
Irregular Sleep Cycle
“Early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise” – Benjamin Franklin said this for a good reason.
Sleeping too late can make you end up feeling lethargic even after an 8 hours long sleep. This is because our body’s circadian rhythm expects us to rest up in the hours of the “big dip” from 3 AM to 7 AM. Sleeping late can cause you to sleep lightly during this period where your body requires heavy sleep.
You Can Fall Asleep Faster
The good news is that your sleep trouble may not be a permanent problem. With careful self-monitoring and conscious efforts, you can find the perfect solution to your sleeping trouble. While every method does not fit all, finding a daily routine that works best for you to fall asleep faster is not an impossible process.
Psychologists and therapists recommend a number of methods to acquire good quality sleep in the limited time that our hectic schedules provide us:
Progressive Muscle Relaxation
You can practice this after lying down for you sleep. Close your eyes and slowly inhale and exhale. Tense your muscles (lips, eyes, jaw) for 10 seconds, then relax and breathe deeply in and out for several seconds, beginning with your face.
For another 10 seconds, tense your shoulders, then relax and breathe. Keep on tightening and relaxing body parts progressively in the following order, skipping any muscle that hurts while tensing: Shoulders, Upper arms, Lower arms, Hands, Back, Stomach, Buttocks, Hamstrings, Calves, Feet.
Research has found that PMR is great for easing symptoms of insomnia.
Reducing Screen Time
The hours leading up to your nightly sleep are very crucial. Exposing yourself to the blue light from your devices during these hours can affect the quality of your sleep. Reducing your device usage little by little towards your sleep time can increase the production of the sleep hormone, melatonin in your body.
Physician and sleep specialist Dr. Shanon Makekau advices the same, “Set a timer an hour before bedtime to step away from the screen and put down the phone.”
“Practicing a regular, mindful breathing exercise can be calming and energizing and can even help with stress-related health problems ranging from panic attacks to digestive disorders.” – Andrew Weil, M.D.
Meditation is great if your mind goes on hyperdrive the moment you lie down to sleep. Mindfulness is the key to meditation. Concentrating on the present and focusing on steady, measured breathing is the highlight of mindful meditation. Calming audio and simulated nature sounds can help you settle down for the best meditative experiences.
If you cannot concentrate for more than 5 minutes at a stretch, that’s okay!
You can gradually increase your duration in due time because this is your path to better sleep.
Like Dalai Lama said “Sleep is the best meditation.”
Controlling Light in Your Bedroom
Light changes within your own house can go a long way in helping you regulate your sleep cycle. Dim down the lights in your rooms as the evening progresses. Leave fewer lights on during the night so that your body responds to the shift in lights in your surroundings.
Consequently, your body starts producing melatonin which can help you fall asleep faster and for a longer period during the night.
Regular Sleep Time
Journal your sleeping habits if you have trouble planning your sleep hours. Fix a regular time to go to sleep every night and make sure you sleep at least 8 hours before your wake-up time. By doing so, your body learn to fall asleep faster and deeper at a healthy rate.
The 9 to 5 Crunch – Can You Sleep Enough?
The traditional work lifestyle and its highly demanding nature often makes us wonder if it is possible to excel at work and get your 8 hours sleep at the same time. Even celebrities and successful businessmen find it difficult to manage their busy schedules and the proper amount of sleep.
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The actor Shahrukh Khan only sleeps for 4 hours a day while Salman Khan sleeps only 2-3 hours, choosing to paint or watch television instead. Elon Musk’s busy schedule keeps him away from a luxurious sleep, but he manages to get his 8 hours at the cost of sleeping in a sleeping bag at his workplace. Actor Tom Cruise sleeps in a sound-proof room because of his loud snoring problem.
It’s not surprising that so many of us experience problems with sleep.
It is also important to surpass the stigma attached to it.
Admitting that you have trouble sleeping well is the first step to getting the right kind of help, either by yourself or with the help of a professional.
Medication as Sleep Solution
The close relation between our sleep and the circadian rhythm of our bodies is proof to the fact that disrupted sleep cycles come with dire consequences. Since the circadian rhythm regulates important processes like hormone release, body temperature, digestion and eating habits, lack of good quality sleep can cost your health dearly.
We can often trace the root of certain lifestyle diseases like obesity, high blood pressure to disrupted sleep patterns. Even mental health can be direly affected by lack of proper sleep. People tend to develop issues like crippling anxiety, depression and heart palpitations because of bad sleep over an extended period of time.
Let’s face it – being unable to sleep well can make us irritable and prone to mood swings. We like to stay productive and it can be disappointing when our efficiency at work or home gets affected simply because we cannot sleep well.
One can always shift to medication in such a situation. These are aimed at regulating the production of melatonin in your body. Proper medication along with careful food intake and exercise can help you combat your troubles with sleep.
But these drugs can have certain adverse effects on our system, leading to dependency, and can also be habit forming. This is why herbal alternatives are the way to go if you battle with sleep issues.
The ayurveda solution for regulating sleep cycles are aimed at relieving stress, enhancing concentration and alleviating the symptoms of anxiety and depression.
Ayurvedic solutions for sleep come with the benefit of helping you bring you correct your sleep rhythm without relapsing to the old condition on stopping. There is no risk of dependency and works gentler on your system.
It also helps you stay active and at the top of your game during the day, which is the whole point of aiming for good quality sleep.
GudSlep(TM) is a sleep solution that combines these features of ayurvedic formula without the risk of dependency.
Its superior formulation of ingredients including Tagara, Ashwagandha, Shankhapushpi, Brahmi, Jatamansi and Jatiphala provides a combined effect of calming and relaxing medication which can help with sleep problems.
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These help combat symptoms of insomnia, relieves anxiety and also improves the quality of sleep. Over a duration of 28 days, GudSlep helps your body regain its lost rhythms of sleep without affecting the regular functioning of your nerves.
This way you stay active during the day and sleep well at night.