‘Sleep is the best meditation.’ – Dalai Lama
A ‘sound Sleep ‘is routinely considered a symbol of the overall well-being of a person and any shift in sleep pattern a warning of ill health.
Approximately one in three people are likely to experience disturbance in their sleep pattern and about 10% would qualify for the diagnosis of Insomnia (sleeplessness).
Reasons for variations in your sleep routine can range from the dreaded deadlines and shift change at your office, to your home environment (uncomfortable pillow, lighting & ventilation of the room) or an warning sign of serious physical (e.g. obstructive sleep apnoea ), and psychological concerns. In fact stress, worries and anxiety are among the commoner reasons for losing sleep and lying awake at night.
For an adult average of 7 to 9 hours of sleep over 24 hour’s is needed. But it is important to remember that quality of sleep (feeling refreshed on waking up) is equally important.
In an era of global work culture with the new ‘ norms’ of flexible work hours , changing shift routines and work from home options ; more time is probably lost worrying about the reason for losing sleep; then the actual reduction in nap time.
Simple lifestyle changes tried if you are not getting adequate or quality sleep are referred to as Sleep Hygiene. Here are some of them that can be implemented easily with reference to your office:-
1. Make your peace with the ‘Shift’: Worrying about the ‘night shift ‘does not help. Anticipate the change and start modifying your schedule and to-do list accordingly.
2. Switch off the ‘What’s App ‘: Browsing through the net and social media at night is quite possibly the only thing you need to stop in order to regularise your sleep pattern. Remind yourself that the same video can be viewed in the morning too!!!
3. Adhere to a routine: Having a fixed time of falling asleep makes it easier for your body and mind to doze off. That said; please try and avoid counting down the clock.
p.s.: Do not forget your shift schedule!
4. Avoid afternoon siestas: If you are experiencing difficulty falling asleep at night or a decrease in the overall duration; then stop the afternoon naps. It can improve both the quality and quantity of your night sleep.
5. But grab a ‘shut eye’: On the other-hand if you are required to work on a project deadline or find yourself in midst of a 72 hour shift; grab a nap! Even a 5 min. one as soon as you get the opportunity. It not only refreshes you but more importantly there is no telling when you will get the chance for the next one!!!
6. Time the Coffee: Avoiding coffee intake altogether at night is advisable. For those who work night shifts and rely on caffeine to get them through the shift; simply time your cup of Coffee / tea to at least one hour before closing.
7. Bed is for Sleeping: Avoid working in the bed or watching T.V. It is also advisable to hold off serious discussions if possible.
8. Watch the food & drinks: A light meal prior to sleep is advisable. Try and avoid heavy meals or going to bed on an empty stomach. And of-course no Tobacco or Alcohol; they may trick you into feeling drowsy but will actually upset your sleep cycle.
9. Exercise: Develop an exercise routine but don’t try it close to your nap time.
10. Know your limits: Every person has their personal level of endurance; understand yours. Some require their daily quota of sleep whereas others can function on just a few hours. Relax. It’s not a race.
Importantly if there is little or no relief then the situation probably warrants a thorough evaluation and expert management; hence seek help if necessary.
So here’s wishing you a Good Night’s Sleep & Pleasant dreams!!!