Breathe well, sleep well

Special Arrangement Partha Pratim bose

Total wellness is not possible without good sleep. Sleep is a de-learning process. It relaxes and rejuvenates the body and makes our body ready for a new day. We spend one third of our life in sleep and this one third decides the two third of our life. For every two hours of alertness we need one of sleep. Ever since society has become 24×7, our sleep quality has become poor. A healthy body needs a regular refreshing seven to eight hours of sleep.

Sleep debt creates a mortgaged mind. If we are sleeping one hour less per day then we have to pay back in the day. Sleeplessness is equivalent to drunken driving. Anger, agitation, personality disorders, road rage, substance abuse are indirectly related to poor sleep. Sleep disorders are rising in society and more over sedentary behaviour, obesity is responsible for the rising number of sleep apnoea and related sleep disorders.

There are two types of sleep disorders one primarily because of defects in sleep regulatory mechanisms and others are secondary due to lifestyle causing insomnia and sleep disordered breathing like sleep apnoea. A tired and spent person gets relief and is able to retrieve his liveliness and energy only after taking sound sleep. Sleep is a law of nature which is applicable not only to human beings but also to the botanical world.

A good night sleep is a good regular sleep practice. Always be happy while sleeping. Concentrate on your breathing and feel you are totally relaxed. Keep in mind that the pranayama practice is very important. Pranayama and yoga are the key to good activation of our biological clock.

Our hypothalamic area in the brain is our internal clock. If we do not nurture our biological clock we will face sleep delay and fragmented sleep.

A good sleep involves right pre-sleep practices. It’s like a right alap before a classical music performance. Yoga and Pranayama are an important measure to improve sleep and reduce work place negativity, tension, anxiety and so many other problems. Following yoga and pranayama – Bhastrika pranayam, Kapalbhati pranayam and Anulom Vilom pranayam – have been found to be beneficial.

Besides this, Shavasan and Yognidra are very much useful for sound sleep. Listening to light music like mantras before sleep is beneficial. Yoga increases blood circulation and stimulates the nervous system. Following few practices improves oxygenation to the brain and improves sleep quality and cures insomnia. Halasana and Sarvangasana are the asana to cure insomnia naturally by yoga.

Good pre-sleep habits are called sleep hygiene. A good sleep hygiene improves sleep quality by reducing the onset of sleep and maintenance of rhythm of sleep. We all enter sleep through NREM sleep it’s like slow uncoiling of a curtain wire. We enter sleep with high alfa waves and slowly go to delta or slow wave sleep.

Initial sleep is all NREM sleep and subsequently we enter REM sleep or rapid eye movement sleep. REM sleep constitutes one third of total sleep and in this time of sleep muscles reach to zero tone and it’s a dream sleep.

This is about a 50-year-old man, a heavy smoker with sedentary corporate life with disturbed sleep, snoring, day time sluggishness, irritability and poor corporate performance.

He was subjected to a quit tobacco programme, weight loss and good nutrition and lifestyle modification programme with following sleep rules.

He improved on all fronts and started enjoying wellness in his life.

Stick to your sleep time and get up exactly 7 to 8 hours after sleep. You will feel oven fresh.

Follow this sleep rules one hour before going to your sleep clock.

  1. A relaxing warm shower an hour before sleep.
  2. Anulom vilom for five minutes
  3. Kapalbhati for five minutes, avoid doing if you had dinner an hour before.
  4. Bhastrika for five minutes.
  5. Eye exercises for five minutes in all quadrants
  6. Cervical flexion, extension and rotation exercises for two minutes.
  7. Sharvanasana or corpse pose for 5 minutes and focus on your breath.
  8. Now listen to some slow music. Music induces Alfa activity and helps in sleep initiation for 10 minutes.
  9. Do visual imagery. Make memorable twenty images on your iPad or phone or album and slowly brush though.

This helps in release of endorphins and gives feel good feeling for 5 minutes.

  1. Take a hot cup of milk. Milk has serotonin and serotonin induces sleep. These steps will de-stress you and help you to get a sound sleep.

Avoid thinking too much while sleeping. Just relax while sleeping.

Always be happy while sleeping. Concentrate on your breathing and feel totally relaxed.

Keep in mind pranayama practice is very important, as important as pre-sleep habit.