Sleep: The Sweet Oblivion and How to Reach It


This is something that we can all claim to be experts of but no one can is 100% right all the time. Here we are capable of dispensing advices as to how to get a good night sleep, but we are all haunted by sleepless nights at one time or the other. There are 1001 cure to counter this, but sometimes non of it works. The knowledge about the actual process of sleeping is still dismal at best, but we are gaining more grounded evidence and treatment strategies regarding sleep and sleep disorders.

What is sleep?

Sleeping is an active process where the body goes through a complex renewal and restoration matrix. It is a kind of cooling off period where the body is a state of active “shut down” where all the unnecessary catabolism and metabolism are slowed down. Thus in this state, the blood pressure is lowered, the pulse rate goes down, the respiration is lowered, and the brain function is coming to a slow rhythmic waltz.

There are two main stages of sleep:

  1.  NREM sleep (Non Rapid Eye Movement Sleep)
  2.  REM sleep (Rapid Eye Movement Sleep)

Each of these stages and the different sleep disorders (Insomnia and parasomnias) will be discussed in a post later. This post is more about going to sleep than sleep disorders.

A person generally requires about 5 -7 hours of sleep at least. But this amount varies from person to person. If that person does not get his/her lion’s share of sleep the next day is going to be a hell to work through.

Sleep Hygiene

Sleep hygiene refers to a set of guidelines that can be taken to get a good night’s sleep.

These include,

  1.  Setting up a regular time to go to sleep
  2.  Arrange a place of calm and quiet with adequate comfort
  3.  Avoid taking stimulants(caffeine, chocolate, alcohol, etc) or excess sugars before hitting the sack
  4.  Avoid places of loud noises or bright lights
  5.  Get regular dose of daily exercise
  6.  Have your meal about 2 hours prior to going to asleep
  7.  Avoid watching TV, using your PC/laptop or phone from your bed at that time
  8.  If you do not go to sleep by 2-3 minutes after you hit the sack, don’t force it do something else to calm your self

So, you are not going to a peaceful sleep. What can you do…

There are several relaxation exercises that you can employ in these kinds of situations.

1. Leading and pacing

Don’t try to force yourself to sleep. Try to awaken your senses. Listen to the sound of the fan turning, the howling of the wind outside. Feel the sheets of the bed moving against your body. Smell the warm night air entering your body through the nostrils. And as you feel the, warm crisp air touching and caressing your body, the sheets lulling you to calmness, and the sounds of the night cradling your head on the softness of the starry night, you are slowly drifting into an oblivion filled with peace, quiet and relaxation. There is nothing to worry about. There’s nothing to trouble you. You are all alone and at peace with yourself and the world around you.



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