Pilots are not allowed to fly planes after 8 hours of flying .
As residents we often had to do 36 hour stretches twice or thrice a week ,depending on the manpower.This added upto 100 to 120 hours of work per week .
In a highly critical vocation this kind of abuse is common.That’s mainly because otherwise the authorities have to give an explanation for the shortage of human resources.
When you are awake and working for 36 to 48 hours at a stretch, in physically and mentally exhausting profession,that takes its toll.Doctor heal thyself is something I take very seriously.That’s why I always tried to catch up on sleep when I could.
Not sleeping enough affects clinical skills ,judgement ,precision, empathy and most importantly your health.If health is not a priority ,nothing works.
Sleep is your body’s energizer .The only way all your systems can rejuvenate and repair itself while your brain oversees.
How does great sleep help you?
Quality of your life
Sleep is an easy activity with many benefits .
When you cut down on sleep ,the deficit adds up .This acts cumulatively over months and years .Until you stop the damage today,it may be too late.To learn,create,work effectively ,you need to act at your most productive level .
That’s where sleep comes in .Just like your car needs regular servicing your body needs its sleep. When you don’t take care of your body ,everything falls apart.Your physical ,emotional ,social health all suffers.
What happens to your body if you don’t sleep enough?
- Tiredness and lack of motivation
- Decreased ability to concentrate
- Difficulty memorizing
- Moodiness and irritability
- Problem coping with stress
- Creative block
- Reduced problem solving skills
- Difficulty in decision-making
- Impaired immunity to cold
- Increased risk of diabetes ,hypertension weight gain and metabolic syndrome
- Increased risk of accidents
- Do you need an alarm clock to wake up?
- Do you feel sleepy in the afternoon?I do!
- Doze at meetings or lectures?
- Love oversleeping on weekends?
- If you are nodding yes to these ,it’s likely you are carrying a sleep debt.
How to sleep like a baby naturally?
Sleep tip 1
Do you know your body has a natural sleep cycle? Its called circadian rhythm .
Stick to it.
Myth:Changing the sleep cycle doesn’t affect you
Truth :It’s difficult to effectively change sleep cycle. The quality of your sleep suffers when you ignore your biological clock.
Schedule your sleep
Habits are important. Sleep habits help decide quality of sleep.Quantity and quality is both important. The latter more so.
It’s important to have a refreshing sleep.
Newborns can sleep up to 18 hours in a day.
They actually grow while sleeping while adults on an average need 7 to 9 hours of sleep.
Sleep tip 3
Get more light during the day .
Melatonin is released in low light.This hormone makes you fall asleep.Melatonin is a volatile hormone. Thats why you will feel sleepy, while putting your child to bed and yawning is contagious.
Sleep tip 4
Eat and drink smart
Nicotine, caffeine, alcohol should be avoided 3 to 4 hours before bedtime
Don’t have late night heavy meals.
Sleep tip 5
Avoid late night binge T.V watching.
Don’t read on backlit tablets too close to bedtime.Read a book instead.The light at night and blue digital screens emit electromagnetic waves which scramble your brain sleep waves and prevent yo from sleeping.
Sleep tip 6
Dont leave the curtains open.They may let in light beams from outside and disturb sleep.
Definitely have the room properly darkened ,to help you fall asleep.
Sleep tip 7
Check your mattress.
It shouldnt be too soft .The mattress should be supporting your spine.A comfortable bed can give you awesome sleep.
Sleep tip 8
Check your pillows .Are they just right?They should support your neck .Not too high.Try sleeping without pillows .That’s best for your cervical spine as it avoids unnatural straightening.
Sleep tip 9
Avoid long afternoon siestas.
If you feel like napping a 10 to 20 minute power snooze will refresh and make you look prettier, without slowing the metabolism.
Power naps are known to increase productivity by 54%.
Nap in semi reclining position.
Use an eye cover and ear muffs to block out light and sound.’.
Set an alarm which is pleasant
Best time for beauty naps: 1pm to 3 pm
A power nap done right,can help to refresh you and cut down the risk of coronary heart disease.
Geniuses such as Einstein and Edison loved napping.
World leaders like Napoleon,Churchill ,Margaret Thatcher and Bill Clinton have all napped to cope with their work stress,
Sleep tip 10
Don’t stress it .
Just like everything else sleep is more difficult if you worry about it. Relax.
Use these techniques to unwind and beat stress.
Sleep tip 11
Regular exercise helps you sleep better.Even walking 20 minutes a day will help you.But the habit needs to be built up
Timing and amount is important.
Don’t exercise too close to bedtime.That make keep you awake.
Sleep tip 12
Essential oils:Do they help?
Lavender, chamomile, and ylang-ylang, activate the alpha wave activity .This helps in relaxation and makes you sleep more soundly.
Sleep tip 13
Is your bedroom cool
When you slip under the sheets you should be feeling cool .That works best for getting you all sleepy.
Here are some interesting ways to keep cool
Sleep tip 14
Listen to a familiar audiobook.Not a new one.That way you don’t get sucked into an interesting book.
Sleep tip 15
Get a white noise box.It helps to block out the traffic noise,TV next door any other disturbing noise.The Bose ear phone is great to shut off snoring sounds too.
Sleep tip 16
Dont keep phones and other digital device in the bedroom.Or atleast turn off the wi-fi.
Sleep tip 17
Dont talk business or anything that can increase anxiety and cause sleep problems.Discuss it during the day.Its always nice to wind up the day on a relaxed note.
Sleep tip 18
Make sleep a priority.Just like spending x hours a day working is important ,having 7 to 8 hours of sleep is important.Make this non-negotiable.
Sleep tip 19
Dont forget making love or at least cuddle.Human touch helps you feel good .Couples who regularly cuddle before sleeping have much better sleep quality than those who don’t.
Sleep tip 20
Are you perimenopausal?Dont worry this can be the best time of your life.You will never have to worry about contraception.But if hot flushes are making it difficult for sleep to come,try making the room cooler.
Using an air conditioner or an extra bedside fan to lower the temperature.The lower room temperature can help prevent the sudden hot flushes and drenching sweats.If the lifestyle tips don’t work,don’t worry, your doctor can help you out.
Sleep tip 21
You sleep but wake up feeling tired.Your quality of sleep may be poor.Ask your partner whether you are snoring .Snoring is a sign of OSA or obstructive sleep apnea,which can put you at risk for poor cardiovascular health ,weight gain,diabetes and metabolic syndrome.
If you are overweight,decreasing your weight is the best way to prevent snoring and cut down on these risks.
Try to sleep on your sides with a bolster supporting your back.This cuts down snoring and helps you sleep better.
Sleep tip 22
Are you a shift worker?
This is unfortunately a big risk factor for poor sleep quality,physical and mental health issues.Rotating work or night duties can affect your bodies ability to regulate its functions.
Health risks of shift work:
Sleep tip 23
The right vitamins and minerals can help you fall asleep better.
Vitamin B complex, Vitamin D ,Vitamin E
Calcium and magnesium
Sleep tip 24
Dont drink too much water before bedtime.You dont want your sleep disturbed by frequent toilet breaks.
Sleep tip 25
Use the bed for a specific purpose also known as stimulus control
Only go to bed when you feel tired.
Get up if you are having difficulty falling asleep (again).
Use your bed for sleeping (or sex), and not for reading, watching TV or eating.
Try getting up at the same time in the morning.
Sleep tip 26
Practice mindfulness and mindfulness therapy for better sleep quality and improved quality of life.
Sleep tip 27
Have you tried sleep yoga ?These yoga poses helps your body unwind and relax.
Sleep tip 28
Plan your mornings so that you have creative and fun activity lined up.That way you will wake up with a smile looking forward to the day.
Sleep tip 29
Check your sleep direction .According to Vaastu any direction other than north works fine.Keeping your bedroom clutter free and inviting makes sleep easier.The flow of energy should be balanced on all four sides of your bed.
Sleep tip 30
Try sleep journalling.
Maintain a journal of naps and hours of sleep .Also jot down ,eating ,drinking and exercise habits.This will help identify sleep problems and tailor make the solution.
Sleep tip 31:Bonus tip
Have a bedtime routine.
My favourite bedtime routine:
A warm bath or soak your feet in warm water.
Dim the lights.
Read book using the bedside reading lamp.
Still can’t fall asleep?
This is what you can do.
Imagine a black dot in the centre of your forehead .Now try seeing the centre of the dot with your mind’s eye, keeping your eyes closed.
This mindfulness technique helps in quick relaxation and falling asleep.
Do you have any sleep tips.Comment below to let me know.
- Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ). Manifestations and management of chronic insomnia in adults. June 2005 [Accessed on: July 25, 2005] (Evidence Report/Technology Assessment; Band 125).
Association between sleep hygiene and sleep quality in medical students.Brick CA1, Seely DL, Palermo TM.