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with a temperature of 6i°F-66°F (i6°C-
i8°C). Too much heat in the room
can make you breathless and induce
a feeling of suffocation, something
non-conducive to good sleep. Turn
down the heater and layer your bed
with a cosy blanket before you sleep.
PM: SWITCH OFF GADGETS
Your brilliant smartphone Scrabble
move? Save it for tomorrow. “Gazing at
the intense light of electronic screens
stimulates the brain into activity
making sleep difficult,” says Dr Barmi.
And this includes the laptop monitor,
television screens, and phone screens.
Instead indulge in some relaxing
instrumental music or a soothing read.
In addition to unplugging from gadgets
before bedtime, turn off non-essential
lights throughout your home, suggests
Lisa Shives, MD, of Northshore Sleep
Medicine, a sleep centre in Illinois, US.
PM: SET TLE IN FOR A SOAK
The body’s core temperature is
supposed to dip at bedtime to sync
the brain into sleep mode. Give the
process a nudge by showering or
taking a bath with lukewarm water
shortly before you go to bed. Your
internal temperature will drop after
you emerge from the water, says Adam
Fisch, a neurologist and sleep disorder
specialist in Indianapolis, US. Then,
consider smoothing on a lotion scented
with rose, jasmine, or lavender—three
fragrances proven to enhance slumber.
Dabbing a soothing essential oil on your
temples will also help.
PM: BETTER YOUR BEDROOM
You’ve laid the groundwork for a great
night’s sleep. Seal the deal by rooting
out these last-minute snags:
a l u m p y p il l o w /m a t t r e s s
sap slumber by causing you to change
positions frequently. Fluff the pillow
for a minute to even the stuffing. If
the pillow remains lumpy, replace it
ASAP. Same for the mattress. If it is
uncomfortable, invest in a new one.
l e a k y lig h t
People tend to sleep best
in total darkness. Draw the bedroom
curtains and shut the door. If you see
any bright cracks, cover them with a
towel or wear an eye mask.
s t r a y n o ise s
Isolated sounds such
dripping water or a ticking clock can
wake you up and make you restless.
Block out any such noises from your
m iss in g n e c e s s it ie s
Getting out of
bed and rummaging for tissues or lip
balm lowers the odds you’ll fall back
to sleep quickly. Avoid this by stocking
your night stand with frequently
needed supplies including water. ■
Anxiety and racing thoughts are top insomnia triggers.
Not to worry: experts say it’s possible to break the cycle.
Set aside 15 minutes to write down whatever is bothering
you, advises sleep specialist Ann Romaker, MD. Better yet, note solutions when
possible. For example, if you’re concerned about your finances, jot down a
reminder to ask your friend for the name of her accountant. This acknowledges
the stressor while placing the fix within reach.
3 If you’re still feeling tense, try this meditation exercise developed
by Harvard Medical School neuroscientist Sat Bir Khalsa, PhD: breathing
through your nose, inhale slowly and deeply, allowing your belly to expand.
Focus on a word that calms you, such as ‘Om’. Slowly exhale, focussing on
another calming word. Continue for 15 minutes or until you feel drowsy.
One of the most stressful aspects of waking in the
middle of the night is knowing exactly how many hours you have left to sleep,
says Andrew Mouton, Ph.D., a behavioural sleep specialist in Chicago, US. His
suggestion: turn your clock from view so you can’t count your snooze time.