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Dealing With Insomnia

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Here are some steps to bring back your natural sleep. You may succeed in doing some, and not succeed in others. But do try each one of them (and for many days at a stretch):

     1.  Establish a desired bedtime and wake time (even if sleep does not come).

    2. Every day do some physical activity involving whole body, till you feel the physical tiredness and increase in heart-rate.

    3.  Have your last meal at least two hours before bedtime, and avoid rich or heavy food. If you feel hungry later, have a very light snack (or liquid) before going to bed.

    4. Give a 15 minute gap after dinner and go for a leisurely stroll in a quiet area (if not possible, then on the terrace or backyard).

    5. Plan a sedentary evening routine one hour before the desired bedtime. Avoid tea, coffee colas and any other addictive substance or activity. Have a relaxed chat with someone you like. Do not watch highly stimulating or violent TV programs.

6. Do not use the bed or bedroom for any activity other than sleep – except for sex. A light massage can be very useful to relax muscles if someone can do it for you.

7. Ensure that your bed is soft but firm, pillow is at right height, bedsheet or blanket appropriate to weather, and freedom from the “mmmm…….” of mosquitoes. It is also said that light blue or violet colours of night-clothes, bedsheets and walls are conducive to sleep.

8. Use regular pre-sleep routines to associate with bedtime: brush teeth, set the alarm, etc. Do pre-sleep routines the same way every night. Avoid group discussions, animated conversations at night, and definitely avoid arguments.

9. Go to bed at the fixed time, and see that there are no bright lights or loud sounds around. Turn out the bedroom lights as soon as you get into bed. Assume your preferred sleep position, and start relaxing each part of your body.

10. If sleep does not come within 10-20 minutes, get up and go into a separate room, or another part of the same room. Occupy yourself with some non-stimulating activity and relaxation exercises until you feel drowsy. Then return to bed quickly. Try out creative visualization (traditionally known as “counting the sheep”)

11. If still not asleep after a brief time, try out one or more of the following: Light and positive books (even story books or comics), soft music (which can switch off by itself after some time), or slowly chanting your favourite mantra. Never take any sleeping tablet unless prescribed by your doctor.

12. Do not take a nap during the day, except for a short period if you are very tired (by setting an alarm to get up within 15-20 min). Do not sleep late in the morning to compensate lack of sleep. At a fixed time get up, open the curtains, go out in morning sunlight. Plan your sleep schedule in multiples of 1-1/2 hours (e.g. 6, 7-1/2, 9 hours).

13. Remind yourself that it is not necessary that you have to sleep for many hours each night. As long as your mind and body are getting relaxation, it is okay.

14. Despite trying out all the above, when it is bed-time and you are getting afraid you may not get sleep, one day try out the technique of telling yourself that you need to keep awake, and that you will NOT allow sleep to overcome you. Actually make efforts to keep awake, and see how your body reacts. Go to bed only when you are actually feeling very drowsy.

Check out if there are any specific causes for your insomnia:therapy_corner1

  1. Medical factors like breathing blocks, weakness of bladder, persisting pain.

  2. Very sedentary life style with no exercise.

  3. Psychological factors like anxiety, depression, phobia.

  4. Stress could be a reason for your insomnia. Check out your stress levels, and get down to some stress reduction techniques.

  5. Physical discomfort, unusual setting, noise or light disturbances.

A good book to read:

How to have Sound Sleep – the natural way” by Dr. A. K. Sethi, Pustak Mahal, Rs. 68/-

 

  1. Every day do some physical activity involving whole body, till you feel the physical tiredness and increase in heart-rate.

  2. Have your last meal at least two hours before bedtime, and avoid rich or heavy food. If you feel hungry later, have a very light snack (or liquid) before going to bed.

  3. Give a 15 minute gap after dinner and go for a leisurely stroll in a quiet area (if not possible, then on the terrace or backyard).

  4. Plan a sedentary evening routine one hour before the desired bedtime. Avoid tea, coffee colas and any other addictive substance or activity. Have a relaxed chat with someone you like. Do not watch highly stimulating or violent TV programs.

  5. Do not use the bed or bedroom for any activity other than sleep – except for sex. A light massage can be very useful to relax muscles if someone can do it for you.

  6. Ensure that your bed is soft but firm, pillow is at right height, bedsheet or blanket appropriate to weather, and freedom from the “mmmm…….” of mosquitoes. It is also said that light blue or violet colours of night-clothes, bedsheets and walls are conducive to sleep.

  7. Use regular pre-sleep routines to associate with bedtime: brush teeth, set the alarm, etc. Do pre-sleep routines the same way every night. Avoid group discussions, animated conversations at night, and definitely avoid arguments.

  8. Go to bed at the fixed time, and see that there are no bright lights or loud sounds around. Turn out the bedroom lights as soon as you get into bed. Assume your preferred sleep position, and start relaxing each part of your body.

  9. If sleep does not come within 10-20 minutes, get up and go into a separate room, or another part of the same room. Occupy yourself with some non-stimulating activity and relaxation exercises until you feel drowsy. Then return to bed quickly. Try out creative visualization (traditionally known as “counting the sheep”)

  10. If still not asleep after a brief time, try out one or more of the following: Light and positive books (even story books or comics), soft music (which can switch off by itself after some time), or slowly chanting your favourite mantra. Never take any sleeping tablet unless prescribed by your doctor.

  11. Do not take a nap during the day, except for a short period if you are very tired (by setting an alarm to get up within 15-20 min). Do not sleep late in the morning to compensate lack of sleep. At a fixed time get up, open the curtains, go out in morning sunlight. Plan your sleep schedule in multiples of 1-1/2 hours (e.g. 6, 7-1/2, 9 hours).

  12. Remind yourself that it is not necessary that you have to sleep for many hours each night. As long as your mind and body are getting relaxation, it is okay.

  13. Despite trying out all the above, when it is bed-time and you are getting afraid you may not get sleep, one day try out the technique of telling yourself that you need to keep awake, and that you will NOT allow sleep to overcome you. Actually make efforts to keep awake, and see how your body reacts. Go to bed only when you are actually feeling very drowsy.

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