Having trouble sleeping at night? Do you get stressed about not being able to get a good night’s sleep? It’s normal to experience disturbed sleep sometimes, but it may leave you frustrated and annoyed if you start experiencing it very often.
Lack of sleep at night will leave you feel all drained and exhausted in the morning. And if you still managed to save some energy somehow, it tends to reduce quickly throughout the day. No matter how exhausted or fatigued you feel that very night, you are still not able to sleep restfully. Deepak Chopra talks about how to promote a sound sleep without medication.
Why Getting a Good Sleep Is So Important?
A good sleep at night boosts your energy levels, lift your mood up, and increases your productivity throughout the day. According, to the American Sleep Association, about 50-70 million adults in the U.S. experience some or the other form of sleep disorders or even sleep loss (insomnia).
Deepak Chopra says that having sleeping issues can greatly compromise with your physical wellness and health, reduce the quality of your life and can lead to disturbed motor skills, cognitive ability, emotional imbalance, and overall wellbeing.
How Sleep Disorder/Sleep Loss Affects You?
A poor sleep cycle will take a toll on your mind, body, and soul. To obtain an optimum health, an individual should have 7-8 hours of restful sleep every night. And when you do not get that, you wake up with a foggy head, low on energy and feeling cranky. Sleep disorders or sleep loss is also associated with a plethora of chronic health problems such as:
- Heart disorders
- Declined immune system functioning
- Mood disorders
- Compromised life expectancy
He also explains how our body works according to the circadian rhythm. Deepak says that our body works according to an “internal clock” which regulates our body’s physiological processes including the metabolic as well as the hormonal cycles. This biological clock or internal clock works automatically by the means of “clock genes” present in every cell of the body. It is sensitive to even the external stimuli like meal timings, emotions, light, etc. Deepak suggests that to attain the maximum wellness, your sleeping and working hours cycle should go parallel to this biological clock. Hence, chronic disturbing allies to this circadian rhythm of our body can act as the precursor to many serious health conditions.
Insomnia is the most commonly reported sleep disorder and is affecting about 10% adults in the U.S. which can be the result of numerous social, biological, and psychological stimulating factors such as chronic stress . Insomnia can go unnoticed and undiagnosed many times, but so far according to the report, about 6% of population is affected by diagnosable insomnia in the U.S.
What Are the Possible Options to Treat Sleep Disorders?
Deepak Chopra now says that “sleep meditation” is the best of all other different methods to treat insomnia and other sleep disorders, especially in today’s clinical culture. He explains it is one of the easiest and very effective treatment options, and very easily available. For short-term easing effects, alcohol and sleep medication can be of some use though, they do not induce sleep naturally. But, using them on long-term basis might induce other health problems.
A study showed that using hypnotic sedatives like benzodiazepines (sleep medications used to treat insomnia can adversely affect your breathing and can worsen sleep apnea symptoms.
To bring in the everlasting changes to improve your sleep quality and hence the wellbeing, Deepak Chopra suggests implementing holistic treatment options in your life.
Adopting holistic treatments will allow your body and mind to calm down and will revive your normal sleep cycle.
Pranayama to Obtain Balance
Pranayam is a yogic practice that includes heavy breathing exercises. This allows your central nervous system to relax by staving off the stress stimulators and responses. Deepak says, it is important to clear your head from all the stress of the day before going to bed. Because, the stress responses in your body will not let your body get the rest, even after the night’s sleep.
Why? Because your body is busy fighting and protecting your body and mind against the actively produced stress responses in your body. However, once you start practicing sleep meditation, you tend to activate the relaxation responses in your body, which helps you in balancing the circadian rhythm and fixes your sleep disorders.
How to Do Pranayama for a Restorative Sleep Cycle?
To get the maximum out of a good restorative sleep, prepare your body by means of yogic breathing exercise. Follow the below mentioned steps to achieve the calm and relaxed state of the sleep, as explained by Deepak Chopra
1. Lie down on your back, keep your eyes closed and focus on your breathing.
2. Slowly breathe in and out via your nose, but keep in mind not to put extra effort in focusing. You will notice your belly will inflate and fall with inhaling and exhaling movements, respectively.
3. As you breathe in the air deeply, try to create positive emotion (such as love, gratitude, and compassion) directing towards your heart.
4. Deepak says, you can simply keep repeating positive sentences like “I am love, I am compassion and I am gratitude” silently in your head.
Deepak Chopra suggests practicing this belly breathing exercise for at least 5-10 minutes every night before going to bed.
Unlike this one, he now suggests another yogic breathing exercise but this time, you need to breathe with nostrils alternatively for about 5-10 minutes. This type of alternative nostril breathing will help in enhancing the quality of sleep by putting away the thoughts which are disturbing your sleep cycle. Deepak suggests that if you have a stuffed nose, then before starting with exercises, try doing a neti pot (nasal saline wash) to flush out your sinuses.
Trick Your Mind to Fall Asleep
With a well relaxed mind, you will be able to make better decisions, think through with an improved creativity and intuition. But when unnecessary stress hits you, it can adversely affect all your activities and natural bodily processes such as sleep cycle.
Deepak says, when we keep holding onto the stressful thoughts of the entire day or the tensions about the things need to be done tomorrow, or the general anxiety, you experience a plethora of thoughts running into your mind endlessly right when you are desperately trying to sleep.
Here he suggests, to turn off all your gadgets, mobile phones, lights, laptops, etc. an hour before to bed. This will help you to disconnect from the worldly things and calm your mind to get a well-rested sleep.
Another tip to trick your mind into sleep, is to journal your entire day, reflect your thoughts every night before going to bed for at least 2-43 minutes. This will help in emptying your head, put down your to-do list to rest and ease your shift into deep and relaxing sleep.
Start writing down your journal by following these simple steps:
- Keep a notebook and a pen by your bed.
- Jot down all the events and activities you have been through the day without going through any judgment, emotion, or analysis.
- You can also record the things you have been repeating over and over to yourself lately (your to-do list or the recurring thoughts).
- To end with, list down 3 things you are grateful for.
Trick Your Body into Falling Asleep
Maintaining a physical balance is as important as getting your mind into balance for enhancing your sleep cycle.
Deepak Chopra suggests following some steps to bring in good physical changes for a better sleep:
- Limit your intake of heavy meals after 7 p.m.
- Avoid consuming caffeine (tea/coffee) after 2 p.m.
- Stay away from alcohol in the evening.
- Sip on some herbal teas, like lavender, chamomile, and valerian before going to bed, to get natural sleep.
- Take a warm water bath before going to bed helps to calm your tensed nerves.
- Do a little session of massage before bed.
Indulge in more plant-based diets, nuts, seeds, healthy proteins, whole grain foods and organic vegetables and fruits. Maintaining a balanced diet improves the sleep quality.
Exercising a little before going to bed can be very effective in inducing good sleep. You can try going for little walks for about 10-15 minutes after your dinner, to maintain a gap of 2 hours before going to bed. You can try doing some easy yoga poses in the second half of the day, such as:
- Knee to chest
- Supine twist
- Child’s pose
- Forward bend
- Belly breathing (Savasana)
Trick Your Soul to Fall Asleep
Taking a good care of your body, mind and soul is very crucial to enhance your sleep patterns. A disturbed soul/ spirit can hamper your natural sleep rhythm. Attaining a purpose and meaning in the life will give you a feeling contentment and relaxation, which will improve the balance of your soul and makes sure you get a restorative sleep.
Deepak suggests that journaling simply 10 things every night you are thankful for will bring in great awareness towards:
- Loving kindness
He then explains, a heightened spiritual level promotes a harmony between your body, mind, and soul. To heighten your spirituality, you need to grow out your individual-self and indulge in activities like connecting to your family or close friends, going close to the nature, attending support group activities and meetings, etc.
To alleviate stress and increase your spiritual connection, you can try the gratitude meditation by following these easy steps:
- Get into a quiet room and sit with your eyes shut.
- Start expressing the feelings of gratitude and thankfulness for yourself like acknowledge the intelligence, health, talents, and other traits in you
- Now, shift your gratitude feelings toward your loved ones and the important things that matter in your life.
- Then, direct your thoughts filled with gratitude toward the other worldly things, that you usually take them for granted. Whatsoever comes into your head at that moment, just be thankful and grateful for it.
- Once you are done with this meditation session, go to bed with this gratitude feeling in your heart.
Herbal Products for That Extra Support
Sleep disorders or sleep loss should never be ignored or overlooked, and this is why getting that extra support to fix your disturbed circadian rhythm or sleep cycle is always be a good option. Herbs or herbal teas particularly help in easing the resetting of your sleep patterns. Deepak Chopra listed down some herbs that are safe to use and are really effective in inducing natural sleep:
- It may take several weeks to show its improving effects but there are no toxicity cases reported.
- It is effective, especially in exhausted and debilitated patients.
- Indicated to treat anxiety, overworked, restlessness and tensed muscles (muscular spasms).
- When mixed with valerian and hops, it improves the sleeping time.
- Enhances sleep quality and sleeping downtime.
- Greatly effects people dealing with sleeping disorders like insomnia and restlessness.
- When going through jet lag or shift-work sleep disorders, melatonin helps quite effectively. It also helps elderly people combating with sleep disorders.