b e t t e r I s e l f - c a r e
You might have started the day with an
ambitious to-do list, but can you
accomplish it all in the next few hours?
If not, review your tasks and decide
which can wait another day or two.
“Being proactive prevents you from
feeling overwhelmed by jobs undone,
a stress-inducing state that can leave
your thoughts racing at bedtime,” says
Dr Pulkit Sharma, Consultant Clinical
Psychologist, VIMHANS, Delhi. Try
prioritizing time-sensitive tasks for
which others depend on you, such as
submitting a budget report to your
boss. You can generally bump small
personal chores—like picking up the
dry-cleaning—without losing any sleep.
On a long-term basis, “Learn to relax
about things and not get overly tensed.
Sure, it is an art to do so but worth
learning,” adds Dr Sharma.
A hot cup of mocha is a godsend on
sleepy mornings, but you’d be wise
to switch to decaf after lunch. “The
stimulating effects of caffeine can linger
up to eight hours,” says Ann Romaker,
MD, Director of the Sleep Disorders
Center at St. Luke’s Hospital, Missouri,
US. Luckily, you have other options
when an afternoon energy slump strikes:
A SET OF squ ats
This gets blood
pumping and gives the brain a
revitalizing boost of oxygen. To do:
stand with your feet shoulder-width
apart and arms at your sides, then
inhale deeply. Keeping your back
straight, lower yourself to a sitting
position and exhale. Return to the
starting position, inhaling as you rise.
Repeat for a total of 10 squats. If this
is not possible, do some brisk walking
inside the house/office itself.
a good laugh
In a study done in the
US, volunteers who watched a short
funny video performed better on
creative mental challenges than those
who skipped the comedy break.
a d iy f o o t rub
Foot massage in
general has been shown to fight fatigue.
Go one better by pressing firmly in the
central depression of each foot (below
the ball) for 15 minutes, advises Jin H
Ngan, an acupuncturist in Chicago, US.
Н Е ш
в в з а е т
True, workouts at almost any time
can help you sleep better. A study
at Northwestern University, US,
found that people who got at least
30 minutes of aerobic exercise four
times a week improved their sleep
quality significantly. The body needs
high-quality shut-eye for speedy tissue
recovery and rejuvenation, explains
study author Phyllis Zee, MD.
For best results, she recommends
exercising in the late afternoon or early
evening—cooling down after a workout
can help prime the brain for sleep.
Ideal activities include brisk walking,
aerobics, yoga, and tennis.
“A person’s evening meal can definitely
influence how she sleeps,” says Ritika
Samaddar, Regional Head, Dietetics,
Max Healthcare. Serve up these
strategies tonight:
t r y a m ild m e n u
When eaten late in
the day, acidic and heavily spiced dishes
can cause a sleep-disrupting acid reflux.
Save the bold flavours for lunch.
k e e p it lig h t
The work of digesting
an extra-large meal can make sleep less
restorative, says Samaddar. Several
hours before bedtime, enjoy a balanced,
moderate combo that includes one
serving each of carbs, lean protein,
and healthy fat, plus a few servings of
non-starchy vegetables.
In a study led by Chin
Moi Chow, a senior sleep lecturer at the
University of Sydney, Australia, people
whose dinners included quick-digesting
carbohydrates, such as white bread,
fell asleep more quickly than people
in a control group. Such foods can be
devoured occasionally since they raise
blood levels of tryptophan, a precursor
of sleep-promoting melatonin.
l im it w in e t o o n e g l a ss
Despite a
reputation for making people groggy,
alcohol can cause wakefulness as its
sedative effects wear off.
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It’s tempting to crank the heater on
chilly nights, but you’ll be better rested
if you don’t. A French study found that
people sleep most soundly in rooms
Snooze Clues
Some sleep issues require
medical attention. See your
doctor if you experience any of
the following symptoms:
Waking up short of
This may be a
sign of sleep apnoea,
a disorder in which
breathing repeatedly
pauses overnight.
Sleep apnoea raises the
risk of heart disease.
Depending on the cause,
it can be treated with
weight loss, breathing
devices, or surgery.
Perspiring through
your pj’s.
If you
routinely wake up
drenched in sweat and
you aren’t experiencing
menopause, you might
have an underlying
problem such as
hyperthyroidism or an
infection, says Donnica
Moore, MD, Editor of
Women’s Health for Life.
A powerful urge
to kick.
The cause
might be restless legs
syndrome, a condition
marked by intense
discomfort when legs
are motionless, says
Jonathan Chamey,
a neurologist at The
Mount Sinai Medical
Center in New York,
US. Medications and
lifestyle measures (such
as self-massage) usually
can help. Ask your
doctor for advice.
Sleep trouble that
doesn’t stop.
If you’re
regularly taking longer
than 30 minutes to drift
off, or if you frequently
toss and turn overnight,
you might benefit from
a prescription sleep aid
or cognitive behavioural
therapy, neurologist
Adam Fisch says.
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