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10 Nov, 2017

THE LIFE ALTERING HABIT OF SLEEP

Few things in life are supposed to be this easy. A human need as essential and effortless as breathing. But as fast paced, ambition fuelled, yoga stretching and gluten bashing new age individuals, we’ve managed to make deep sleep an activity of rare luxury burdened with articles about five best ways to rest, ocean waves on loop, aroma candles, bath salts and eye masks.

Reels have been been written about the health benefits of sleep. It helps produce fresh neurotransmitters and release growth hormones which stimulates the healing of muscle and bone. It re-energises the central nervous system and regulates our level of cortisol which causes stress. It cements the learnings of the day into memory through the night. It regulates appetite and prevents untimely snack cravings. It is essential for sharp cognitive abilities like reaction time and hand-eye coordination. It boosts emotional intelligence. And the most popular one, it helps the skin repair itself away from the din and harsh elements of wakefulness. And yet, the more we know, the more sleep alludes us.

Isn’t it ironic that the time we spend asleep decides how we spend our life awake?

There are things we can agree on. Life is more hectic, stress levels are high, love is an illusion and many of our relationships have become a chore. Where I beg to differ is using these an excuse to sleep late and stay in bed till late. I do know what stress and sadness feel like. By the age of 37, my guess is most people do. While Bob Dylan and Leonard Cohen had a big role to play in how I dealt with the roller coaster ride of my emotions, in hindsight I found one more thing that has always helped me move on. My ability to sleep and wake up on time, triggered by darkness and light. No matter what life hit me with, I had the energy to wake up the next day and move on because I had given my body and mind the time to heal.

And it really is simple as that. Put gadgets and any distractions away. Get into bed with a lover or a book. Lay your head on the pillow at least a couple of hours before midnight (half an hour of sleep before midnight is equal to an hour of sleep post). Let natural light wake you up. And if you choose to wake up with an alarm, don’t hit snooze. Wake up, put your feet on the ground, stretch and get on with life. Yes, there will be days or weeks when sleep will not come easy. But don’t give up. Stay in bed with your eyes closed and let your mind wander. Slowly but surely your body will find a rhythm and pattern that matches the earth’s..

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