If you want to sync your body to the rhythm of nature, try and sleep between 10 pm and 6 am. If you're game for an early start, set your clock for an hour and a half before sunrise to make the most of "brahma muhurtha." This is considered the optimal time to wake up in ayurveda. But what’s even more important is sticking to a sleep schedule, keeping a regular bedtime, and getting your recommended 8 to 9 hours of sleep every day.
You spend a third of your day sleeping, so if you’re struggling with back pain, finding a good sleeping position can ease your pain. Lie on your side or back if you have upper or middle back pain. Stick to the side sleeping position if you have lower back pain to minimize strain and pain. Stomach sleeping is best avoided because it has the potential to strain your spine, nerves, and muscles and worsen the pain. Use cervical or ergonomic pillows or normal pillows carefully positioned to keep your spine neutral.
To ease night-time battles with your toddler set a relaxing night time routine with a strict bedtime. Let the baby make choices such as which pajamas to wear and allow a favorite toy or blanket in bed. Avoid scary stories and movies and imagine happier endings for nightmares to dilute frightening dreams. Also, make sure they nap in the day but limit sleeping after mid-afternoon.
If sleep is on your mind, know that temperature too can play a big part in how easily you fall asleep and how well you sleep through the night. If you’re too cold, you may wind up waking up often to visit the bathroom. Too hot and you’re likely to sweat and sleep fitfully. Researchers have zeroed in on an ideal range of between 60 and 67 degrees Fahrenheit for adults and 65 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit for toddlers and babies. So use bed linen, duvets, the right nightwear, and your thermostat to hit that sweet spot all year round!
We often wear comfortable clothes at home. But, research indicates that spending more time naked comes with a host of benefits. It improves one's body image and self esteem. It also boosts metabolism and burns fat. Sleeping naked improves one's quality of sleep, prevents vaginitis, and boosts sperm count. Going bra-less strengthens pectoral muscles, prevents infections due to breast feeding, and improves the mothers' bonding with their newborns. Lastly, going nude promotes intimacy in relationships.
Your diet not only plays a crucial role in how alert you are during the day but also affects how relaxed and slumber-ready you are at bedtime. Foods like sugary cereals, cake, caffeine-rich drinks, or even chocolate or tea can wreck the best-laid snooze plans. Alcohol may help you doze off quickly but you may be up in a few hours, with disturbed sleep. Even seemingly harmless things like fiber-rich nuts or a spicy meal may cause constant wakings at night – so watch what you eat!
If you’ve been struggling with sleepless nights, it's time to enlist some food power for help! Having foods with components like tryptophan, serotonin, and melatonin can help you sleep better. Tank up on tart cherries, pumpkin seeds, bananas, cow’s milk, and walnuts for a good night’s sleep. Lettuce, salmon, almonds, and kiwi fruit may also do the trick. And if you want something exotic to help you wind down, try jasmine rice or some brown seaweed!
Sleep posture can be just as important as your daytime posture if you’re trying to avoid back pain. It's ideal to sleep on your back or on your side so your spine is aligned with the neck and head. But if you can’t manage that, use a pillow to ease pressure and stress on your back. Pick the right mattress to ward off back trouble. And remember, be careful about how you get out of bed – that can cause back pain too!
Although genetics does play a role in your ability to rise early (yes!), it is not impossible to alter habits. Take small steps and establish a consistent waking routine. Ensure quality sleep by going to sleep early and at the same time every day. Go outside during the day to sync your body clock with that of the day. Stay away from stimulants, gadgets, and stressful activities before bedtime. Make your bedroom atmosphere conducive to sleep. And if all this is not quite doing it, get yourself an alarm clock that works.
Popping a sleeping pill seems easy enough if you're having trouble sleeping. Unfortunately, sleeping pills have many side effects that make them risky to take. You could end up experiencing daytime drowsiness, nightmares, hallucinations, or even headaches and aches and pains. There's also the risk of becoming dependent or developing an addiction to certain sleeping pills. Misuse could even end in coma or death, so there’s merit to knowing just what you’re getting into.
Sleepwalking or somnambulism is still something of a medical mystery. While all its causes have not yet been pinpointed, there is reason to believe heredity, stress, and sleep deprivation play a role. Fatigue, sleeping on a full bladder, and external factors like a new or uncomfortable sleeping environment may also trigger sleepwalking. So can alcohol and certain medications.
If you find yourself constantly roused at odd times of night, it's possible you are feeling too hot or too cold. Adjust the room temperature. Avoid alcohol and caffeine close to bedtime, and quit smoking. Other underlying health issues like sleep apnea, nocturia, restless legs syndrome, GERD, or depression or anxiety are possible causes of frequent nighttime waking.
Lavender, jasmine, rosemary, snake plant, spider plant, Gardenia, and English Ivy are a few bedroom plants that help you sleep better. Research suggests that these plants can lower your blood pressure and heart rate and soothe your senses, lulling you into a peaceful slumber. While rosemary, jasmine, and lavender promote sleep by reducing stress and lifting mood, even in babies, snake and spider plants purify the air.
Sleeping on your side, losing excess weight, and avoiding alcohol and smoking can help if you are snoring regularly. Anti-snoring devices like nasal strips, chin strips, and mandibular advancement devices can also reduce snoring by allowing you to breathe properly through your nose. Natural remedies such as yogurt, turmeric, and pineapple, as well as saline nasal washes and peppermint steam inhalations, can come in handy if a stuffy nose is making you snore.
Whenever you lie down for those "forty winks," "cat nap," or a "good night's rest," there's plenty happening in your body as it dials down. From the dreams of the REM (rapid eye movement) sleep stage to the deep restorative and most restful sleep of stage 3 and 4 NREM (non-rapid eye movement) sleep, the body changes the frequency and amplitude of its brain waves in each sleep stage. As a result, your eye movement, heart rate, and even blood pressure change too!
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