Just like hunger, sleep is a natural process. You don’t have to do anything to feel hungry. Similarly, you don’t need to do anything to fall asleep.
But if you find yourself struggling with sleep in spite of following the sleep hygiene you might want to try other means as well.
Don’t go to bed if you are not feeling sleepy.
If you are not able to sleep on time keep yourself busy by reading. Then go to bed when you feel sleepy. Make sure to read productive or spiritual books. These calm you, unlike thrillers.
Warm & cold water
Put warm water on your hands and legs before sleeping. If you can alternate between warm and cold water it’s even better. Coldwater frees you from toxins and warm water improves blood circulation.
Visualizing Counts technique
This is a very powerful technique and a lot of research has been done on this.
If, you are lying in bed unable to sleep then practice this technique.
Lie down, close your eyes and visualize a white paper in front of you.
- Draw a circle on the paper
- In that circle mark a cross (X).
- Now visualize removing/erasing this cross.
- Draw a smaller circle in this already drawn circle.
- Write ‘100’ in it.
- Erase this ‘100’ which you just wrote
- Write ‘deep sleep’
- Erase this ‘deep sleep’ you just wrote
- Write ‘99’ in place of it.
- Erase this ‘99’
- Write ‘deep sleep’.
- Erase this ‘deep sleep’
- Write ‘98’.
- Erase this ‘98’
- Write ‘deep sleep’.
You are doing this in your visualization while lying down.
Continue this process. By the time you reach 90 or 80, you will fall asleep.
In case you have reached 1 and have not fallen asleep don’t worry. You have got rest. What is important to understand is that you do not need to sleep. You need to rest.
I always focus on all my seminars that you don’t need sleep you need rest.
There are times when you are can’t sleep in the afternoon. However, you are very tired. Take out 10 minutes and sit in a relaxed position. Maybe a reclining chair if possible.
Repeat the same process listed above but replace ‘deep sleep’ in points 7, 8, 11, 12, 15 with ‘deep relaxation’.
By the time you reach 80, you will find yourself relaxed and fresh.
You can give yourself instructions before starting this technique. Tell yourself: ‘I am going to do this from 20 to 0 and by the time I reach 0 I will be in a deep state of relaxation. I will be fully rejuvenated’. In 4 to 5 minutes you will be fully relaxed.
Once you get enough practice you can relax from the count of 10 to 0 itself. And maybe even 5 to 0. This is because these instructions have conditioned the soul to relax.
Your sleeping posture also should be on one side either left or right whichever is comfortable to you. If on the left then your left leg should be straight, right leg slightly bent and your hands as loose as possible. In fact like a dead body. You should not be holding your body. Don’t move your hands. As if the body were dead.
Supplements help induce sleep
It is found that calcium and magnesium help in inducing sleep. Before sleeping, hot milk helps as it contains calcium. Similarly, take vegetables that have magnesium. Pumpkin, bottle gourd, etc have a lot of magnesium. You can also take these minerals as a supplement in the tablet form.
There are supplements for 5HT as well which help in producing serotonin which is a neurotransmitter that helps in sleep cycles. This can also be very helpful.
Natural herbs help induce sleep
Research shows that Brahmi, Ashwagandha and a few Chinese herbs also in inducing sleep. It’s good as these are natural.
The challenge is you do not know the quantity of the herbs that you might have to use. Even a doctor might not know exactly how much herbs you need.
So, first, try with the calcium and magnesium minerals and then if needed try herbs.
- Natural is the best
- Then comes supplements
- The third is herbs.
Should these be taken? There are a few medicines which you can take at times. They can help you wake up fresh and are not habit-forming. However, a few are habit-forming. So, a good psychiatrist may not give you these medicines or will give you just for a few weeks and then slowly stop.
Many medicines are not meant for pregnant ladies as it can harm the fetus. So, never go for self-medication. Without experts advise you may do harm to yourself.
Professions that require 24 hours availability
For example doctors. In this condition get someone else to answer the phone, have assistants. Make such planning.
Also, the doctor needs to train himself in such a way that wakes up when needed and then detach and go back to bed. This quick detachment is needed. Else health will get impacted.
Manage sleep while working in shifts
It takes a while to set your biological clock. If your shift changes every 15 or 20 days it is not good. It takes about 5 to 7 days to set your biological clock. The best way is, if possible, just stick to one shift even if it’s a night shift.
Choose a shift and stick to it.
Your mood, cognitive ability, decision making, health are all dependent on sleep. So, you must try every means to get a good night sleep. Let’s learn a very important aspect of sleep in the next article. It is detachment.