We all know the importance of sleep. Increasing amount of research shows how lack of sleep impacts physical & mental health. Sleep deprived persons are more likely to commit mistakes at work, be irritable, prone to accidents. Sleep deprivation can lead to adverse cognitive effects, with poor academic performance, forgetfulness, indecisiveness, and subsequently can lead to chronic problems like Depression, Obesity, Diabetes, Hypertension, Hypercholesterolemia, and so on. Chronic sleep deprivation also leads to decreased immunity resulting in frequent episodes of sickness (e.g., flu, digestive problems)

To make sure you keep this modern day scourge of Insomnia away, practice what is called as "Sleep Hygiene" by practicing the following simple steps.

  1. Your bed should be used only for sleeping, and not for eating, watching television, surfing on the internet, and the likes.
  2. The room should be sufficiently dark to augment the process of natural production of melatonin in your body (which happens at night, and light disrupts it, and hence the circadian rhythm).
  3. Sleep in soft, comfortable clothing.
  4. Avoid daytime napping, if you have problems with sleep at night.
  5. Avoid stimulants such as  caffeine, nicotine after 5pm.
  6. Alcohol, which is a CNS depressant may lead you to mistakenly believe that it aids sleep. The fact is that although alcohol may lead you into a sleepy state, it actually disturbs the sleep architecture, thus resulting in poor quality of sleep.
  7. Exercise promotes sleep. But avoid heavy workouts in late evenings.
  8. Avoid slipping into the bed right after your dinner. Allow yourselves at least a 2 window between dinner and the time you hit the sack.
  9. Your dinner should be something moderately light, with minimum sugars, but not too light to wake you up with hunger at midnight.
  10. Avoid watching/reading anything that is stimulating to the brain, such as, horror shows, melancholic reads, graphic novels.
  11. Light soothing music and books can be helpful.
  12. Sexual activity also aids sleep.
  13. Try and keep your sleeping and waking hours fixed.
  14. If you're not able to sleep, don't keep lying in the bed and try and force yourself to sleep. That never helps. Instead, get up, and read something light, write in your diary, or some such activity, before you back for another attempt at sleep.
  15. If you have problems with sleep, do not go to sleep with thoughts like, 'will i get some sleep tonight', or 'If I don't get enough sleep tonight, my day tomorrow will be ruined'. These thoughts end up negatively reinforcing insomnia.

Lastly do not ever take OTC sleeping pills. Also if you're on any sleep inducing meds, kindly be sure to consult with your prescribing Sleep specialist/Psychiatrist on a regular basis.