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Sleeping Well

Jun 24th 2008

Dr. H. Taba, PhD

Over the years I have picked up and developed various techniques which I would like to call The Art of Sleeping Well, art because we can learn, adapt and adopt. Some of these are obvious and even advised by many parents.

Physical Factors:

  • Stop eating one and half hours before sleep, some suggest three hours. The reason is that a loaded stomach keeps the organs of digestion busy and therefore delays the onset of sleep.
  • A glass of milk is known to help some people.
  • Soaking your feet in a basin of warm water to which a fistful of sea-salt has been added is another traditional recommendation.
  • Walk 'a hundred steps' after meals. This is a sure way of taking care of the stuffiness one often feels with a full stomach.
  • Lying on your back with legs raised up against the wall for a few minutes reverses the blood-flow and induces a restful mood.
  • Don't let the TV decide your last moments of wakefulness. Beside being a strain on the eyes, the mind gets affected by what the eyes see, more so if it is a thriller which creates excitement and makes it that much more difficult for the mind to settle down.
  • The pictures on the wall of your bedroom should be calm, pastel tones of green or blue. The pictures should be preferably devoid of action; natural scenes are recommended.

Psychological Observations:

  • Prayer helps in calming down. Dag Hammarskjöld, one of the earlier Secretary Generals of the UN had this to say:
    Night is drawing nigh
    For all that has been - Thanks!
    For all that shall be - Yes!
  • Just before dropping to sleep repeat "calm down" three times. And "All will be well in the end."
  • As you lie down with your eyes closed, try to pull in your arms (organs of extension) and legs (organs of locomotion), implying "Now we don't need these". This is done psychologically. And in the morning try to let them unfold and extend before you open your eyes.
  • Write a "To Do" List each evening, so that you don't keep on telling yourself "I must remember to do this or that." It takes the load off the mind.
  • And if you are woken up, often in the early hours by Tension Thoughts, tell/remind yourself "Not now, we will see to it in the morning."

These can be tried and new additions could be made. Since one third of our lives goes in sleep, it is an area that needs much deeper attention than we are currently devoting to it.