Health & fitness

Sleep is vital for vitality.

‘Sweet dreams!’ – They say, that you can only have dreams if you are in deep sleep. 

My sleep was always great. No matter what happened. But during last few years, I go to sleep and wake up every couple of hours. So, I wasn’t getting that straight six hours’ sleep.

As a result, I’ve  developed health issues. I’ve somehow managed to avoid the big knee replacement operation, but  when I sleep well the pain fades away.

Realizing how important sleep is for one’s health; after the loss of my father a few months ago, I made great effort to settle my mother’s room. I wanted her to be able to sleep well. I changed the ambiance of her room so she could find peace and rest. You should do the same with your own room. Make it very pleasant, charming and peaceful.

Sleep – solution to health problems:

You can get out of many health issues through good sleep.  So, whatever health problem you have, first check your sleep patterns. Try to get your sleep in control first, and then see if you still have the problem. Sleep itself  is a ‘treatment’.  There are chemicals of all sorts inside our bodies; these get activated  to heal and repair while we are in deep sleep.   So, it can only happen when we sleep six to eight hours straight.

  1. Cancer cure: Remember my blog post on best cancer video here? Sleep is one of the six points. So, a good sleep can save you from cancer.
  2. Normal weight: It helps in keeping weight as normal. When you sleep well, you do not have those wakeful nights with trips to the ‘fridge.
  3. Helps solve problems: ‘A good nights’ sleep’ is the cure for most problems’. This is what my friend Farzana Ikram would say.   Every problem seems more manageable once you’ve ‘ slept on it.’

How do we lose our sleep?

  1. Purely our own fault. It is our attitude to sleep as if it is a waste of time. Sacrificing our sleep hours at the slightest upheaval. late nights work and  late night meetings. We make commitments by putting aside our bedtimes. If we  are conscious, we will plan according to our sleep times. Making sure we have a ‘cut off time’.
  2. Our phone,  laptops and television sets are  the biggest distraction, before sleep.
  3. It is due to these distractions that during the day while working too,  our work doesn’t get completed on time. As a result, our sleep time gets pushed beyond bedtime.
  4. The social occasions also play havoc, specially weddings. In such cases, be firm. Attend one of the many occasions. I’m telling you, your true friends and relatives will understand, the others really don’t matter. When my children were small, I’d attend the event on  Saturday.   I would inform the host,  I shall not be attending the other events. It is okay. They can invite someone else then.

Tips on how to be well slept:

1.      Control the mind and body:

  1. Saying things like, ‘I cannot do it.’ Instead, say, ‘I can sleep on time, if I try.’
  2. Don’t take agitated thoughts with you to bed. (This is why they say make up with your spouse before sleeping.)
  3. Deal with  ‘to do’ lists earlier, before getting into bed.
  4. Do make sure that you walk or exercise for thirty minutes daily. You can do this five times a week. This will ensure excellent sleep at night.

2. Maintain a bedtime routine:

  1. Help your body clock to work, by sleeping at the same time daily.
  2. Early dinner is essential. In Pakistan, 7.00 or 7.30 pm is a good one. (Then you can watch drama hour from 8.00 pm to 9.00 pm!)
  3. Unwind with family/spouse: Share your days’ events with family members and plans for next day with rest of family.
  4. Avoid any heavy talk or thought. (We had the whole day for that, remember?)
  5. Change your clothes, relax, take a glass of milk or a bowl of yogurt. Say Isha A little ‘me time’ would be great too.
  6. Best is to be in bed by 10.30 latest. Ok, I know, it isn’t possible for many of us to do this. So, make it eleven.
  7. Relax with music, dim lights, scented candles, read your favorite book or magazine.
  8. Prayer timings: Try to sleep on time, so you get your eight hours of sleep and be able to say Fajar prayers. Try to get six hours straight sleep and make up for the other two hours in the afternoon nap, (- if you can afford that luxury. So, the biggest incentive for sleeping earlier is to say Fajar prayers. On the other hand, If you regularly sleep late, then say Tahajjad prayers, before sleeping.
  9. Zikr is the best way to put yourself to sleep. Saying different names of Allah are a great way to fall asleep. You can also try to remember all the Surahs you have memorized. It is a sure shot way to go to sleep. 

3.      Break the routine on weekends:

  1. You can break the routine to sleep late on Friday and Saturday nights otherwise, there is no point.
  2. Try to sleep on time on Sunday night, to start your coming week properly. ( It is a good thing to back out of social commitments of Sunday late nights. )
  3. Many wise Instagram bloggers take a break on weekends.
  4. Keep  phone away:

  1. Specially at bedtime leave the phone in another room.
  2. Specially if it is on charger.
  3. Definitely, do not keep the phone under your pillow or next to your body.
  4. Keep a chit pad nearby to write any ideas that pop into your head.

Ensuring a good sleep:

It doesn’t start at bedtime. It is an attitude and a lifestyle. You need to guard your sleep-time. Simply accept that just as you guard your ‘Keto’ diet and all that, in the same way, guard your sleep, which is an all-inclusive element of health.

Watch your cat, and see how relaxed he is most of the time.Watch the power nap.

Only, yesterday I met someone after some years, and she said, ‘you are looking so fresh!’ I told her, ‘I’m taking care of my sleep hours now.’   I’m telling you, being well slept is the key to all-round well-being.  You will notice how the quality of your physical, emotional, social, intellectual and financial life will improve with it.

Yes, you will stay blessed, if you are well slept.

Note: All photographs taken by author, except the one taken by Nadiya Najib in Seattle, of mine with A. 🙂

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