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Our survival depends on sleep as much as on food and water. Whereas, sleep often ends up taking a back seat for most people due to the distractions of our digital devices such as phones, laptops and tablets.
A night can seem like an eternity when you are tossing and turning because you are unable to sleep. We often hear phrases such as “I was so wired last night and could not sleep.” There may be times when getting through the day becomes challenging because you have problems sleeping at night. As a consequence, you may find it difficult to stay awake during the day. You may find yourself getting too much or little sleep for many reasons like environmental, physiological, or psychological, and other underlying health conditions such as sleep apnea, narcolepsy and more.
50-70 million adult Americans live with a sleep disorder.
Let’s face it; we are all gadget addicts.
Hi, my name is John. I am 24 years old from Brooklyn, New York. I grew up in a pretty normal household. My dad works, and my mother is a homemaker. I have two older siblings.
Sharing my story
My trouble with sleep began five months back while I was in the final year of my Masters program. I began to wake up at 4 am every morning, regardless of what time I went to bed. For almost 3 years prior to my joining the Master’s program, I had trouble falling asleep way past midnight on most nights. No matter how tired I was, even when my body was screaming for rest, my mind was restless. I gave in to my restless mind by scrolling through social media sites like Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube on my digital devices.
As a result, I was most often tired, irritable, and moody in the mornings. Like many others, I said to myself that I am not a morning person. Progressively, I became less effective in my retention ability, was drowsy during class, and somehow scraped through my day. However, at night, I continued to be restless, wired, and scrolling through social media sites reinforced my need for unnecessary digital stimulation. My grades continued to fall and at one point, I had to be hospitalized due to extreme fatigue and confusion. I began to lose confidence and became more and more stressed and anxious.
The hospitalization was a wake-up call for me to address my sleep issue. I sought the help of a professional counselor, who helped me immensely. She advised me to write a journal and keep track of my daily activities. I added more physical activity during the day and started exercising. Incorporated relaxation techniques such as mindfulness, progressive muscle relaxation, and deep breathing that help people become aware of their bodies and reduce anxiety about going to sleep. Limited caffeine consumption, especially in the late afternoon and evening. While sleeping, minimized noise, light, and excessive temperature. She was diligent in my follow-up and ensured I was compliant with my care plan and made measurable progress. Overtime, I was able to overcome my poor sleep habits, develop healthy routines and improve my grades.
The Doctorite app has been most crucial in my recovery journey. This app made realize that getting better sleep is as easy as making simple changes in my routine life, such as switching off my gadgets at least an hour before bedtime, creating good sleep hygiene that can include lying on the bed 30 minutes before the actual bedtime, listening to soothing music or sounds or white noise and turning off lights as some of the techniques that works well. Often times, instead of reading books on e-devices, reading an actual paper book can be beneficial to sleep well.
Tips behind facts:
A screen-time cut-off can help:
The blue light emitted by your smartphone and other devices suppresses your melatonin production and tells your body that you need to stay awake longer than necessary. Ideally, an hour before bedtime you should put away the phone and talk to your close family face to face or just lay in bed to prepare to sleep.
Get into bed 30 minutes earlier:
We delay getting into bed because we do not want to fall asleep right away. We can cultivate sleep hygiene by making our bedroom a tranquil haven filled with therapeutic and relaxing tools such as nature sounds and reducing any distractions we may encounter.
Make your bedroom a tech-free zone:
Instead, fill your bedside table with other calming alternatives like a Rubik’s cube, a crossword puzzle, a book, and essential oils. Learn how these successful bedtime rituals help you become more productive the next day.
Switch to paper:
Write down what happened during the day or engage in light reading. Write in your gratitude journal or make a to-do list for the following day to ease your mind. Make plans, give thanks, reflect, and relax.
Jacobsen’s technique or the Mindfulness body scan are effective ways to relax your body and mind and increase your sleep quality.
If you see a prolonged pattern of taking longer than 30 minutes to fall asleep, then you may want to proactively reach out to a sleep counselor to ensure you do not suffer from sleep disorders. Download the Doctorite app and share your personal journey with our On Demand Empanion in a safe, non-judgmental space. Use our journal module to keep track of your daily events and monitor your sleep health. Additionally, the app features meditation, mindfulness, stretching routines, music, soundscapes, and breathing exercises. Talk to a professional counsellor if you need to.
You can learn a lot about sleep disorders, treatment and health advice from the doctorate app.