A good or normal sleep consists of five stages. From first to fourth stages the sleep gets progressively deeper. In the fifth stage which is called REM (rapid eye movement) body eases into the deepest slumber. These stages come and go in the cycles through out the sleep. But it is in deepest stage that our brain is most out of touch with conscious reality.
Whilst occasional tossing and turning may not be harmful, habitual poor sleepers may have to face serious consequences. Difficulty in concentrating, irritability and feeling lack of energy during the day may be the result of poor night’s sleep. Fatigue makes one more prone to car accidents and to miss work at school or office. It will also affect our personality and mood. What you think and do have a great impact on your sleep. Here are some unexpected factors that can spoil your night’s rest.
1. Establish a sleep schedule.
Our body’s internal time keeper depends very much on predictability. Getting up at same time everyday, without cheating on weekends is probably the most important step towards establishing a good sleep schedule. Regular exposure to light in the morning sets the brain’s alarm clock. This exposure can be enhanced by taking a walk in the garden as soon as you wake up or having your breakfast in a well lit room. The exposure does not only tell you the time to wake up but also tells you the time to get drowsy again.
2. Limit bedroom activities.
Reading, watching TV, planning tomorrow’s work schedule, problem solving with your spouse may encourage wakefulness for some people, especially for those who the leisure is a rare luxury. But for some people this sort of activities may help to wind down. However if your rest is poor you are advised to use your bedroom only for sleep.
3. Separate sleep from wakefulness.
When you persistently find yourself awake for a long time you are soon in for a troubled sleep. If you worry too much and if the bed time is when your mind wanders, carve 30 minutes of worry time out of your day.
Write down your worries and a plan of action. When you find yourself worrying over and over again during your problems at your bed time, convince yourself that you’ve already worked out that one. If you find yourself in a fuzzy headed daze between sleep and wakefulness for more than 15 minutes get up but avoid doing any thing interesting or stimulating.
4. Watch a quiet nature programme or read some thing dull.
Go back to sleep only when you feel actually sleepy. Also do not go to bed simply because you do not get much sleep because of insomnia. This will only results in longer period of lousy sleep.
5. Retire only when you feel sleepy, and rise earlier.
You may not be getting as much rest as your body needs. But you know you will sleep soundly. And lose your apprehension about it.
6. Regulate your body heat.
Even a small variation in body temperature affects our biological rhythm greatly. Sleep generally takes place in the cooling phase of the body temperature normally peaks in temperatures parallel exposures to light and darkness. But if your body ‘s thermostat is following it’s own independent schedule chances are your sleep is disturbed.
Exercise is a good way to control body temperature. An aerobic exercise lasting 20 minutes or more about five hours before bed time may be helpful . However vigorous exercise two to three hours before bed time can keep you awake. Try a hot water bath well before bed time.
7. Skip caffeine-in and after mid afternoon.
The caffeine consumed from three cups of coffee can have stimulating effect upto eight hours later. Some don’t realise how much they are affected by caffeine.
Those who boast they can drink coffee just before the bed time and sleep well do not actually sleep as good as they think, when they are tested in the lab. Researches say other caffinated drinks such as tea, cola etc, can bring down the quality of your rest.