Are you one of those who struggle to get sound sleep?
You will be surprised to know that you are not alone! Insufficient sleep is one of the most common maladies of modern-day living!
There are several reasons for it. And, the pandemic has only added to the long list of reasons. Data reveals that ever since the start of the pandemic, insomnia is a problem that has become rampant!
What is insomnia?
Lack of adequate sleep.
The number of hours of sleep an individual requires depends to a large extent on his/her age. Babies need more sleep than fully grown adults while senior citizens(people over 60years) may require more sleep.
Sleep is essential to re-charge the mind and body. And, more than the quantity, it is the quality of sleep that matters. If you wake up feeling refreshed after a night’s sleep, then the number of hours you have slept is not a major cause of concern.
The problem is when you spend hours on the bed tossing and turning and find it difficult to fall asleep. Or when you might have slept for the entire night and you do not feel like waking up or feel lethargic when you do wake up! This is because your mind and body have not recharged to the extent they should have during your sleep.
The reason why we struggle to get quality sleep is that our minds are preoccupied and pacing fast even when we are supposed to be sleeping. What happens is that we might be physically sleeping but mentally our minds are working. When the mind is not relaxed it affects the quality of sleep. This is precisely the reason why the number of people suffering from insomnia has increased during the pandemic.
Most people are experiencing extreme anxiety due to the pandemic. Their minds are preoccupied and hence they find it difficult to unwind and relax, Unfortunately, the constant worrying does not solve anything. On the contrary, it worsens the situation. This is because when we do not sleep sufficiently our bodies suffer on a physical level with the result that we experience aches and pains, our immunity reduces, we find it difficult to heal from any physical condition we may experience.
Why does it happen?
Insomnia or lack of sleep seems to have become a part of our modern lifestyles because:
We are not at Ease
Most of us lead lives where we seem to be in a mad rush almost all the time. We are all the time striving for more. We may be striving for perfection or acquiring more, or any such reason. So, most of the time we lead our lives in a state of anxiety constantly worrying and planning. Many people have begun to treat their lives like a never-ending examination where they are all the time trying to get everything right. This not only makes life difficult for them but also for their near and dear ones. It also impacts whatever they do negatively. We need to relax mentally, just be kind to ourselves and take it easy. This will put our minds at ease.
Let me take the example of striving for perfection. If it is perfection that you are striving for, you need to understand that it is a futile exercise because nothing or no one is perfect. All that you need to do is give your 100% to whatever you do because only that is in your hands.
It is important to take regular breaks from your fast-paced lives to assess what exactly is the thing causing stress and anxiety in your life and address it. This is because you might excel in your tasks, you may get several things right but if you lack inner peace, it is not worthwhile!
If you can resolve your stresses and calm yourself, sleep will automatically fall in line!
Many people focus more on what is happening in the lives of their peers instead of their own. Such people are in a state of competition, worried that others do not get ahead of them in the race of life. Living in a constant state of competition can ruin lives. This is because if you are competing, your mind is restless. Also, such people involve their entire family to compete with others. Some common examples of competition are, wanting more material possessions to establish one’s self-worth in the eyes of others. Or it could be pushing their kids to get certain grades so that they remain ahead of their peers, etc.
There is no remedy for this feeling of competition. You just need to be strict with yourself and give it up completely. You need to understand that each one of us is on his or her own journey and we have our inborn skills and abilities. We need to find out what we are good at and focus on those aspects instead of trying what someone else might have been successful at. This will not only eliminate a lot of our burden but enhance the quality of our lives. And, when our mind is rid of this baggage we can sleep better.
We have grown to be people who are fearful of every little thing. We are not too keen to attempt anything different because of the feeling, “What if I fail?” This hinders us from doing what our hearts desire and disturbs us internally.
You need to replace the thought, “What if I fail?” with “What if I don’t?”
Whether you fail or not it is all about your attitude towards your endeavor. If you develop a mindset that it is not “failure” but a “lesson” that life has taught you, your entire approach to life will change. You will not only learn from your mistakes and grow as an individual but also find yourself open to exploring new vistas.
Growth is possible only when you are ready to “fail” and learn and move ahead!
Besides this, other fears disturb us, like anxiety about the unknown future, fear of death, illness, etc. Fear of any kind is a negative feeling and it can disturb sleep.
Exposure to Blue Screen
Sleep disturbances also occur due to excessive exposure to blue screens before going to bed. Blue screen refers to screens of TVs, laptops, mobiles, etc. The blue screen gives the brain an indication of daylight and stops us from falling asleep. Hence, make sure to keep all gadgets and devices OFF before you retire for the night.
Social Media Interactions: Social media interactions are big enemies of sleep. This is because social media interactions activate the mind. When the mind is in an energized state, it is difficult to get some shut-eye. Make sure to minimize social media activities before going to bed. And, social media activities include chats on WhatsApp too!
Besides these factors such as your diet, physical activity, etc. also determine the quality of your sleep.
Quality sleep is vital to our growth and well-being and we need to take adequate steps to address this issue at both, physical and mental levels.