Anxiety, depression, stress, peace, mental health, or a good night’s sleep – are the most commonly heard words or conditions in humans over the past few years. While many external factors can be responsible for the same, we might need to overcome the same with the best available options within our scope.
If we observe the people and the situations around them, disturbances in mental health are inevitable. From the results of environmental changes or pandemics to the actions of certain people around us, there is hardly any logic, sense or direction. We may even encounter certain situations where individuals who know nothing about us, in reality, will spread rumours – may be about our capabilities, retirement or even our existence – for interests best known to them. Some may even steal our creative works in this digital world, and anything can happen. So, we also need to deal with this external mess apart from handling our personal lives or professional goals. Despite external elements, in the end, if we know what we are ‘up to’ and abide by our principles, it is enough for our satisfaction and inner peace.
It’s all about survival, fine. After we finished working on our last opinion on ‘instagram influencers‘ a few months back, we switched to ‘digital detox‘ mode. That was too much for us to deal with to stabilize our thoughts, emotions or maybe, in short, we can say – mental health.
In pursuit of a Good Night’s Sleep:
So, what have we done? We slept peacefully for longer times every day for months. Fortunately, thanks to the Human Body, we couldn’t do it in one go or analyse what’s happening with and within us just like an app service with few clicks. It took months of efforts to start the observations by keeping the body clean with daily yoga practice, clean food habits, fewer distractions, thoughts, emotions, control on news consumption and following a healthy routine. This is to make sure our observations are not contaminated.
Also Read: How to consume news
Now that the context is set, let’s dive into the story:
All these attempts are only to understand how to achieve a good night’s sleep for our personal purpose. Mental Health is a broad subject, and no one solution fits all because everyone’s situation is different, and so is the antidote. What worked for us may not work for someone else. Hence, self-introspection is required. We need to check ourselves, discuss with peers or seek professional help.
If we observe, our mind’s serenity depends on factors within factors. Some are solely dependent on us, some on a second person, relationship, physical activity, children, materialistic desires, pleasures, professional goals, health quality, experiences society give us and many more. Hence, it is complex and needs a case-by-case evaluation.
Best is to Help Ourselves First:
So, after achieving a significant balance in ourselves, we tried different combinations of what is helping us to have a calm, composed and relaxed continuous sleep. We shared our experiences so that they may help someone understand or align their condition to some extent and hence not professional advice.
As external factors may not be in our control (because we cannot change the mindset, personality or destiny of that so-called ‘n’ person), below are some aspects that we can review and try ourselves in combinations that suit to have a good night’s sleep.
1. Where we sleep:
While some can sleep anywhere without issues, some get habituated to some spaces. If they change the zone of sleep, unless acquainted, they may not get a peaceful sleep immediately. People may get adjusted over time or need a change. Some like to sleep in open space, naturally, just by gazing at the stars and sky.
Also, what kind of surface we sleep on matters, and so is the reason for different mattresses in the market. For some, sleeping on the floor with just a mat gives immense comfort. So, check what suits you.
2. Bedroom Environment:
Ambience can affect your sleep quality too. Make sure your bedroom is as comfortable as possible. Some can sleep with lights or sounds around, but some cannot. Even a gentle sound or ray of light can disturb their sleep.
So, if you share a bedroom with someone, especially in hostels, guest rooms etc., it would be ideal to arrive in the best interests or use eye masks or earplugs.
If you have the luxury, design your bedroom in a way that best suits you as it is your permanent to sleep space. The market for ceiling lights, designs, patterns, dream catchers, aquariums, radium blankets, sky set-up etc. is all for the same reason. Some also get habituated to that ‘my pillow’, ‘my blanket’ feeling too.
Ideally, you want a quiet, dark, cool environment. All of these things promote sleep onset. Make sure your bedroom is helping you sleep well.
3. How we sleep:
It’s all a personal choice again. Relax, and sleep with hands and legs in any comfortable position. They say sleep like a baby, yeah. Don’t worry about the posture of your sleep in your private space. You can choose a posture that makes you feel comfortable. Also, sleeping left side is preferable after food intake, as it has less impact on digestion. You don’t have to stick with one side the entire night. Feel free to start on your left side and see how your body feels.
Avoid sleeping in spaces that remind you of work or something pending. Just feel relaxed, stretch your legs and sleep or simply follow the Savasana posture of Yoga.
4. With whom do we sleep:
This is a specific category and depends on age, gender, time of sleep etc.
Our feelings and emotions towards the people we share the bed sometimes matter. The feeling of fear, trust, love, affection, care, concern, lust, loneliness, togetherness etc., all matter a good night’s sleep. These feelings differ with age, gender, relationship status, time of sleep etc. We can’t sleep peacefully next to someone we don’t like or trust as these pose random thoughts and trigger brain activity.
Mother’s contact for a baby, kids sleeping with parents, toys (stuffed animals), couple cuddles, siblings’ affection etc. are some examples of the same. They say ‘the touch matters‘ may be for the same reason. Some sleep alone, and that’s a different story.
5. The Smell:
Maybe the night queen, jasmine, rose, and lavender are all famous for the same reason. The scent around gives a pleasant feeling that induces us into a relaxed mental state and helps us with a night of good sleep. Strong fragrances are not advisable as some individuals are sensitive to strong perfumes, get irritated, and some are actually allergic to them. Also, the body odour has something to do here, and that’s a personal choice.
Maybe, Honeymoon suites filled with sweet-smelling flowers, room fresheners, garlands decorated on idols in homes, and the traditional practice of women wearing flower garlands in their hair are someway related to the same. If you like fragrance, we advise you to stick with natural sources.
6. Night Wear: What to wear while sleeping
It is recommended to wear loose clothes while sleeping. Avoid any tight clothing made of synthetic fabrics when you go to sleep. They restrict blood flow and raise your temperature.
Info: Wearing binding clothing at night can also hinder melatonin production, which is responsible for regulating your sleep cycles, and then this could affect your sleep quality. Melatonin is a hormone that your brain produces in response to darkness.
So, don’t jump into bed with your tight jeans and doze off. Also, sleeping without clothes allows the body to breathe at night. Try if this is something that works for you, for a change.
Wear something loose and comfortable that suits you as per climatic conditions. In the end, comfort is the key to a good night’s sleep.
7. Food before sleep: Diet Habits
What we consume and how bloated our stomach is before sleeping also matters for a good night’s sleep. Some consume alcoholic beverages for reasons of stress to fall asleep. As always, too much of anything is not good. Try eating in small portions before sleeping and avoid starving. Starving is not suggested as it makes you stay awake longer. Whatever you eat before sleeping, be sure you don’t feel it after you wake up the next day.
8. Daytime Activity:
The things you do when you’re awake can have an impact on your sleep.
The kind of daytime activity we experience may also impact sleep. Like moderate physical activity or regular exercise may help healthy adults sleep better, extend sleep duration, and improve sleep quality or the time it takes to fall asleep. We experienced this better whenever we completed 108 Suryanamaskaras in approximately 30 minutes.
So, daytime experiences, exposure to sunlight, thoughts, physical activity, habits and daytime sleep practices may also influence night’s sleep onset and quality.
9. Control of thoughts and emotions:
A night’s foes are daytime events or worries. Daytime worries can splash to the surface at night as we lie down. Stress is a stimulus, and it activates thoughts or hormones that work against sleep. Give yourself time to wind down before bed. Learning some form of relaxation response can promote good sleep and can also reduce daytime anxiety. In the next section, sleep rituals can be of some help for this.
10. Start a Sleep Ritual:
When you were a child, and your mother read you a bedtime story or sang you a lullaby and put you to bed every night, this soothing ritual helped you fall asleep more easily. Right?
Even for adults, some bedtime rituals can have the same effect. Rituals help signal the body and mind that it’s time to go to sleep. Drink a glass of warm milk, take a bath, read a book, keep a journal or listen to calming music to unwind before bed.
For some, sexual activity before sleep can help reduce stress and induce sleep, thanks to the hormones released after an orgasm. While some get hyperactive and find it difficult to sleep after the activity, the case depends on age, health or relationship status.
If music is something that helps you, this is where Apple Music comes into the picture and is discussed below. Those wind chimes hanging may also serve a similar purpose and give a soothing effect.
Try combinations and see what works best for you.
11. Sleep Schedule:
Not always we can follow the schedule, thanks to the hectic lives and the surprises packed in. It is always better to follow a routine and let our body get habituated to enjoy the nights. Decide on a time, leave those gadgets alone, let the silence profile kick in and only allow calls from a predefined list. Keep a consistent sleep schedule so that you get at least 7 hours of sleep. We have enabled our bedtime reminder at 10 pm, and when is yours?
12. Health Condition:
If you are taking regular medication, check with your doctor about its effects. Depression and anxiety disorders are common in people who have insomnia. These can lead to racing thoughts at night or the inability to relax and sleep well. Avoid nicotine and caffeine, as both are a stimulus to keep you up.
Apple Music: Sleep Music Collection
Although it’s a personal preference, Apple Music is our go-to choice as we believe more in quality, experience, brand trust and privacy. Apple offers a curated collection of playlists from different music genres, and ‘Sleep‘ is one among them. We experiment with a range of music genres – from sad to trance – to understand, and don’t want those so-called music apps to tag them falsely as our ‘mood swings’ or do whatever with the same.
The healing power of music can be a case-by-case scenario, but as someone with great love for music, we understand the power of music and the state into which different music genres can drive us in different situations.
It’s not just about playlists, but the experience is when we enjoy the depth of music, when we hear those tiny loops, patterns and melodic parts with the highest quality. That sets music apart, and so as the experience perceived by us.
If you sleep alone, try avoiding EarPods with Lightning Connector (those are anyways the worst designed ones in our experience). The output quality from the phone’s speakers should be fine enough to help with the depth or softness of the sleep music or vocals to soothe.
Adjust the volume, your distance from the phone, and tracks played as per your convenience and mood. Yes, they matter too. If something helps you to sleep well, try adding and creating your sleep playlist. Else you have those expert-curated ‘Sleep‘ playlists already handy in Apple Music.
Avoid songs with lyrics, as they trigger thoughts and brain activity. Happy or sad, chances are we unknowingly search for meanings and map our situations with those lyrics. So, stick to only soothing music.
Sleep quality is largely self-evaluated, and there is no one size fits all solution. If we carefully observe the experiences, we are someway closely connected to the nature and all its natural experiences. Now, with our tips, plan a good night’s sleep!
We hope you enjoyed our experiences. Have something to share or discuss? Let’s talk in the community?