Sleep is one of the basic necessities of life. Yet, like our health, we more than often just take it for granted.
We don’t give sleep much thought because most of us manage to fall asleep easily. However, this is not the case for many people. Insomnia is common in our society today. People lie awake at night fretting about terrorism, reliving domestic or work fights, managing finances and generally stressing out all night long.
According to a study reported in the Journal of the Pakistan Medical Association, Pakistan is a nation of very troubled sleepers. One out of every three adults reported were suffering from insomnia and one-third of those were taking a sleeping pill.
Sleep is a distinct state of mind and body in which the body is deeply at rest, the metabolism is lowered and the mind is unconscious to the outside world. Good quality sleep tends to happen itself. You don’t have to fight for it against restlessness and anxiety and you certainly shouldn’t have to take any kind of drugs to experience it. When one wakes up in the morning after a good sleep, one does not feel sluggish, groggy or anxious. Good sleep provides one with a sense of vitality that often lasts throughout the day.
I used to think that I had no sleep issues because I fell asleep within minutes of lying down and managed to get seven to eight hours of it. The problem was that I would wake up numerous times at night and then, when I finally got up in the morning, I felt like I had run a marathon.
I started asking around in case other people faced a similar situation. It turns out the percentage of people with this issue is fairly high. Many of my friends were taking self-prescribed medication to sleep through the night!
Getting a certain quantity of sleep versus the quality of one’s sleep is an important point to consider here. Just because you sleep even up to 12 hours at night does not mean you are experiencing deep sleep, also known as delta sleep, during which most of the rest and restoration takes place.
Most people usually get stuck with light sleep where the slightest noise or disturbance wakes you right up. No wonder the deprivation of a good night’s sleep leads to a diminished sense of well-being the next day. The deep rest provided during delta sleep allows our body to recover from fatigue and stress and helps the body to balance its biological functions.
In terms of solutions, meditation and exercise usually helps with sleep issues. I started yoga and the breathing exercises really helped. We must also fix our waking and sleeping times. If you are used to sleeping late, you can gradually move your bedtime earlier and wake up early.
If you feel restless after getting into bed, try to stay in bed and do breathing exercises. Ideally, though, just close your eyes and stay motionless. This act, even if you are feeling anxious and restless, provides the body with significant benefits. If, for no other reason than out of sheer boredom, nature will take its course and you shall fall asleep eventually. We must be patient with ourselves.