If you have a big role to play in an important meeting the next day, or if you are under daily pressure due to stress, it can be difficult to get to sleep. Melissa Chiu, who has contributed numerous articles on how to live a better life, explains on Medium the dreaded insomnia or lack of sleep and the steps you can take to have a pleasant morning.
How to Fall Asleep Quickly and Wake Up Ready to Be Productive
◆The Terror of Insomnia and Sleep Deprivation
One of the most often discussed horrors of insomnia is what is called the insomnia experiment: In 1959, radio personality Peter Tripp conducted a radio broadcast of 200 hours (eight days and eight hours) of insomnia in order to raise money for charitable causes.
The experiment began and the broadcasts continued smoothly, but about three days into the broadcast, Mr. Tripp’s condition suddenly changed. Mr. Tripp suddenly began hitting out at people around him, hallucinating, and saying and doing things that made no sense. With less than 66 hours remaining in the program, Mr. Tripp’s body and mind had reached their limits, but he was able to survive the 200-hour broadcast by administering stimulant medication.
After the radio broadcast, Mr. Tripp slept for 13 hours, and his hallucinations and other problems improved. Therefore, it was believed that prolonged sleeplessness would not affect his physical condition. However, Tripp’s friends revealed that after the broadcast, his personality had changed to such an extent that he felt “mentally and emotionally a completely different person.
Mayken Nedergaard, a professor of neurosurgery at the University of Rochester, has shown in his research that sleep removes toxic waste buildup in the brain. Leaving harmful toxins unprocessed also poses the risk of brain cell loss, as in Alzheimer’s disease, and it is thought that Tripp’s eight days of insomniac radio broadcasts may have damaged his brain cells.
In addition to insomnia, a University of Pennsylvania study has shown that sleep deprivation also affects the brain. In the experiment, subjects were divided into three groups: a four-hour sleep group, a six-hour sleep group, and an eight-hour sleep group. The results showed that the 8-hour sleep group was more likely to perform better than the 8-hour sleep group.
The results showed that the 8-hour sleep group’s performance was unaffected, but the 6- and 4-hour sleep groups’ performance declined, and it was also clear that performance declined significantly with each shorter sleep period. In fact, the subjects in the 4- and 6-hour sleep groups, whose performance was actually declining, uniformly said they had “adjusted to the new sleep duration” and were unaware that their performance was declining.
◆To improve sleep quality
Because insomnia and sleep deprivation can be very damaging to your health, Dr. Chu explains “four ways” to get a good night’s sleep, and says that doing one or more of these things before bed can improve the quality of your sleep.
Relaxation is the act of releasing muscle tension. This act is a simple and effective way to put the body to sleep and also relax the mind.
The specific method of relaxation is to first inhale deeply and tense the legs for a few seconds. Then, as you exhale, relax and release the tension.
Next, move the body one part at a time in the following order. When moving the body, put your strength into the area and slowly return to the original position.
Below the knees
Above the knees
2: Listen to calm music
Research has shown that listening to classical music significantly improves sleep quality compared to not listening to readings or music. For this reason, Dr.Chu recommends listening to classical music.
Dr. Chu also states that “music preference depends on the individual,” and that if a particular genre of music other than classical music helps you fall asleep, you should choose that one.
3: Write it down
Thinking about important upcoming events as you sleep can disturb your sleep. Dr.Chu recommends keeping a pen and paper near your bed and writing down all of your thoughts. Once these thoughts are written down on paper, you will not have to think about them over and over again, and you will be able to concentrate on your sleep.
4: Read a book
The last thing Dr.Chu recommends is reading. According to Dr. Chu, “You don’t have to read for a long time,” and 20 to 30 minutes of reading is sufficient. She used to touch the computer before going to bed, which stimulated her eyes and made her sleep at night.
She prefers to read paper books instead of e-books because of the possibility of eye strain, but either way is fine because of the benefits of reading itself, according to Dr. Chu.