Self-care without proper sleep?

  • 12th Nov 2021

Dear Diary,

Our sleep is said to be the most important aspect of our health. It is a well-known fact that our sleep affects our productivity, concentration, reduces risk of diseases and improves our immune system.

But the reality is quite different!

There are several ways one can take care of themselves. It can range from the 10-step skincare routine to doing yoga to keep our bodies healthy. But in all these cases what one forgets is that our binging habits are causing the reversal of all our efforts put together.

Enjoying time to relax and give ourselves periodical breaks is not a terrible thing. Our brain just like our body needs breaks. But to give ourselves breaks we push our brain to go through those Netflix series everybody is talking about on social media. We have pulled towards binge-watching those shows since we need to socially upgrade ourselves to those discussions on Reddit platforms.

In our fast-paced lives, managing everything at once is quite difficult. To manage all at once has cost us our sleep the most. Insomnia is a best friend to our youth. It is a condition where initiating and maintaining a healthy sleep is difficult. Besides, disrupted sleep or bad sleeping habits are triggering our overall health.

What are the types of Insomnia?

There are four types of Insomnia that the National Sleep Foundation, United States has categorized:

  • Acute Insomnia: Short-term insomnia that lasts a few days to a few weeks. It is the most known insomnia in the population. It can also be referred to as adjustment insomnia since it occurs mainly when a person is experiencing stressful events such as the death of a loved one.
  • Chronic Insomnia: characterized by a continuing difficulty in sleeping. It is called chronic when people have difficulty in sleeping or staying asleep for a minimum of three nights per week or more.
  • Maintenance Insomnia: In certain cases, people are unable to stay asleep through the night. This means people wake up at least once during the night and struggle to go back to sleep for at least 20-30 minutes.
  • Onset Insomnia: This acute onset can be traced to various triggers in our lives such as lifestyle changes, short-term stressors, or poor sleep hygiene. Things like drinking too much caffeine or a large meal shortly before sleep or lack of exercise can result in onset insomnia.

    According to WHO reports, 30 percent of India’s population consumes alcohol regularly. In 2012, an article spoke about how India’s coffee consumption had doubled over the last decade. Our consumption of the internet and mobile phones addiction is leading us to unhealthy lifestyles and taking over our sleep.

    Health experts have noted that the loss of memory and forgetfulness has a direct relation to our lack of sleep. Sleep plays a critical role in our thinking and learning processes.

    Lack of sleep hurts our cognitive processes and impairs our attention, hinders attention, and slows our problem-solving capacity. It is becoming important to address insomnia because it is leading to an increased risk of depression chronic medical conditions such as heart disease, stroke, and obesity.

What can one do to tackle insomnia?

National Sleep Foundation has given the following tips that can help us tackle insomnia:

  • Before bedtime: carve out at least 30 minutes before your bedtime where you do something as relaxing as reading a book. Alter your surroundings to make your sleeping area and time perfect for sleep. Dim your lights, crawl in bed, make yourself comfortable to allow your body to drift to sleep gradually.
  • Fix a time for electronics: The blue light that our electronic items emit tends to make us awake for longer hours. Disconnect all your electronics before your bedtime and keep them at a distance from your bed so that you are not tempted to use them while in bed.
  • Exercises for relaxation: Our lives are accompanied by various triggers and stressors which make it difficult for us to get a good night’s sleep. If you have anxiety or are unable to get your difficult day out of your head, try relaxing breathing exercises to get you into a calmer mind.
  • Keep your sleeping area separate: A lot of us are working from home due to the pandemic. There is hardly any difference between our office and home. Many a time we have completed that presentation from the comforts of our bed. Experts believe that this is a wrong practice. Such habits send a signal to our brain that the bed is for working. One needs to have a clear distinction between the two. Use your bed only for sleeping. If due to some reason, you are unable to sleep within 20 minutes of lying in bed, get up and do something that can relax you like listening to music or taking a walk in your living room. Maintaining proper sleep hygiene is important to have a healthy sound sleep.
  • Fix a time for sleep: One of the most important ways to maintain sleep hygiene is to go to sleep and wake up at the same time every day. Our body needs time to adjust and prepare us accordingly. So even if you are unable to sleep early or wake up tired, try to maintain your sleep schedule. This will help you get in the practice of sleeping and getting up at the same time, thus increasing your quality of sleep as well.

What is the conclusion?

Though there are many more suggestions and tips across the internet to help us understand sleep better or help us fall asleep. Our first step towards aiming for a healthy lifestyle is acknowledging that we have trouble falling asleep. If you suffer from insomnia or know someone who suffers from it, helps them address the problem, gives them the love and support to resolve the problem. Nothing can beat love and support from your loved ones in tackling a problem. If you have tried these and are unable to sleep, seek professional help. Nothing is more important than a good night’s sleep.

That’s all I have for now!

I will write to you soon,

Take care.