Published on Jun 26, 2019 and last reviewed on Oct 03, 2022 - 5 min read
Proper sleep is crucial for good health, as it affects mood, weight, and hormone levels. Read the article to learn things that can help to get a good night's sleep.
A good night's sleep is very important for the body's normal functioning. When a baby is born, they sleep for 12 to 15 hours, but as humans age, getting and staying asleep for six to seven hours becomes challenging. Recent research suggests that people who do not get seven to nine hours of sleep face many mental and physical problems later in life.
Following are the benefits of proper sleep -
Slows the degenerative process of the musculoskeletal and neurological system.
Helps detox the body.
Improves concentration, memory, and efficacy.
Helps boost the immune system.
Promotes the proper functioning of the circulatory system.
Helps in the healing of minor injuries by inducing endorphins and encephalin, which are natural painkillers.
Facilitates proper calcification of bones.
Decreases the incidence of mental illnesses.
To help you fall asleep as fast as possible, here are some methods that you can try:
1) The Military Method
This method was used to help pilots fall asleep in two minutes or less. It might take some time to master, but it was found to be effective. The steps involved are:
Individuals should relax their face, muscles in the mouth, legs, thighs, and calves, and let their hands drop to the side to release tension from their shoulders.
They should try relaxing their chest by exhaling and clearing their mind by imagining something peaceful for ten seconds.
If they are still not relaxed, repeat the words "do not think" for ten seconds. You should fall asleep.
2) 4-7-8 Breathing Method
This breathing method helps an individual to relax, which can also be used when an individual is anxious or stressed. The steps are:
By placing the tip of the tongue behind the upper front teeth, exhale through your mouth, making a whoosh sound.
Then, while mentally counting to four, close the mouth and inhale through the nose.
Count to seven while holding your breath, and while counting to eight, exhale through your mouth while making a whoosh sound.
Repeat this at least three times.
3) Stick to a Schedule
It is training for the body to get up and sleep at the same time every day. This makes the body's internal clock alert during the day and sleepy at night. Make it a habit to sleep for seven to eight hours every day.
4) Keep the Room Cool
Keeping the windows of the room open or maintaining the temperature of the room around 23 ℃ helps to fall asleep. As a person falls asleep, the core temperature decreases, and the temperature of their hands and feet increases, which might make getting sleep difficult when the room is hot. Taking a hot shower before going to bed also helps.
5) Yoga and Meditation
Studies show that people who perform yoga, meditation, and breathing exercises are better sleepers than people who do not. Yoga and meditation help a person relax and calm their nerves. Meditation also increases levels of melatonin, which is a hormone that regulates the sleep-wake cycle.
6) Avoid Taking Naps During the Day
It is commonly seen that people who suffer from insomnia tend to sleep during the day as they feel tired and sleepy. The longer naps they take during the day, the harder they will find it to fall asleep during the night. So fight the urge to take a nap during the day.
7) Avoid Using All Electronic Devices Before Sleep
Avoid watching television or playing video games, or using tablets, phones, and other gadgets for half an hour before you go to bed. Avoid watching television in bed. Switch off all electronic devices and place them away from the bed, as the light from these devices can interfere with your sleep.
8) Avoid Caffeinated Beverages in the Evening
Avoid drinking coffee and all other beverages that contain caffeine for at least six hours before you go to bed. Instead, try drinking herbal tea like chamomile and hibiscus, which help to relax and promote sleep.
9) Avoid Clock-Watching
If a person keeps getting up in the middle of their sleep or is not able to sleep at all, avoid looking at the watch. Patients suffering from insomnia are known to get anxious and more stressed when they look at the clock and realize how late it is, which makes things worse.
10) Try Not to Eat a Heavy Dinner
Consuming high-carbohydrate and low-fat for dinner might affect the quality of sleep. It has been seen that consuming a high-carbohydrate meal results in disturbed sleep. At the same time, it has been noticed that consuming a high-fat meal promotes deep and restful sleep.
People who exercise daily are known to sleep better. But low-intensity workout in the morning is more effective than high-intensity workouts in the evenings. Exercise reduces the levels of cortisol (stress hormone) and increases the levels of serotonin, which is necessary for good psychological health.
12) Get a Comfortable Mattress and Bedding
The quality and depth of sleep are remarkably improved if a person uses a comfortable mattress and bedding. Get orthopedic pillows that perfectly fit the curve of the neck, and use a medium-firm mattress.
Aromatherapy is the use of essential oils to relax the body. Many studies have shown aromatherapy to improve the quality of sleep. Lavender and damask rose are commonly used to promote sleep.
14) Think About a Calm and Soothing Place
If a person may find that their brain is hyperactive, then try to visualize things and places that calm them down. To relax, they can think about waterfalls, greenery, mountains, etc.
15) Sleep-Enhancing Supplements
Supplements that enhance sleep-promoting hormones are found to be helpful. The supplements include Magnesium, 5-HTP (5-Hydroxytryptophan), Melatonin, Theanine, and Gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA).
16) Turning off the Lights
Turn off all lights and electronic devices at night. The pineal gland in the brain releases melatonin when it is dark, which is a hormone that induces sleep. This hormone sends signals to the brain that it is time to sleep.
17) Listening to Relaxing Music
This might not work for everyone. If you find that listening to relaxing music before going to bed helps, then do it. Some people find listening to music too stimulating, which can result in anxiety and sleeplessness.
18) Emptying Your Bladder Before Bed
Many people find it difficult to fall back asleep after getting up in the middle of the night to pee. So it is a good idea to use the toilet before bed. But if a person gets up multiple times to empty their bladder at night, it might be a sign of urinary tract infection or diabetes.
19) Avoid Alcohol
Drinking large amounts of alcohol at night is not a good idea. It makes people restless and nauseous, which can interfere with sleep.
20) Sleeping Position
A proper and comfortable sleep position is essential for a good night's sleep. Find a comfortable position and sleep, as it will prevent frequently changing positions and disturbing sleep. Sleeping on the side is considered to be the most comfortable position.
Some other things that a person can try are reading a novel and acupressure. Difficulty sleeping might be frustrating and can affect mental and physical health. If a person still finds it difficult to sleep even after trying everything, consult a sleep medicine physician.
Acute encephalitis is caused, most often, due to an infectious cause that spreads to the brain. The infectious causes of encephalitis include HSV (herpes simplex virus), varicella zoster (chicken pox and shingles), measles, mumps, and rubella virus. The infections may be spread by tick-borne encephalitis, Japanese encephalitis, rabies, and Zika virus. Rarely, acute encephalitis may be precipitated by bacteria, fungi, or parasites.
Encephalitis usually causes mild flu-like symptoms like fever and headache. These symptoms may further worsen or even cause severe symptoms like confusion, seizures, or problems with movement or with senses such as sight or hearing.
Encephalitis-associated inflammation may last for about two to three days. Individuals continue to recover, and the best results are seen after two or three months. Mild illnesses usually do not last beyond two to three weeks, while brain inflammation may last over two to three months.
As soon as a diagnosis is established, a treatment protocol needs to be established based on etiology. Antimicrobials can be prescribed against the causative agent, antiepileptics are given to manage seizures, breathing assistance may be needed along with intravenous hydration, immunomodulators to suppress the immune system, tube feeding may be required if the patient is unconscious, and steroids are prescribed to reduce brain swelling and pressure.
Following exposure to etiology, infections may progress to encephalitis within a few days to a couple of weeks. The symptoms of encephalitis may progress or worsen over several weeks to months. While the inflammation may last for up to three months.
Encephalitis affects the brain. This results from a bacteria, viral, protozoa, insect bite, or autoimmune disorder. When the spinal cord gets involved, the condition is termed encephalomyelitis. In the United States, encephalitis is generally caused due to enteroviruses and arboviruses.
Encephalitis affects the temporal lobe, which is responsible for memory and speech. Uncommonly the frontal lobe may also get affected, which is associated with emotions and behaviors. Other parts of the brain may also get affected, resulting in one-sided weakness of the body.
Recovery from encephalitis can be a long, slow, difficult, and winding path. Most individuals may never completely recover due to brain deficits. The patients may require rehabilitation to aid with recovery. Initial recovery may be rapid but insufficient. Further treatments are required to aid in complete recovery.
Encephalitis-associated brain damage may leave a permanent scar on health. Survivors may be left with permanent disabilities like fatigue, irritability, impaired concentration, seizures, hearing loss, memory loss, and blindness, requiring treatment even for years.
Initial recovery from encephalitis may be rapid but incomplete. The patients may require treatment for years to gain some kind of normalcy. Any brain damage causes serious long-term deficits, including blindness, seizures, and hearing loss. Rarely, it may lead to death in about ten percent of patients.
Japanese encephalitis is most prevalent in regions of China, Japan, Korea, and eastern Russia. The disease is also found in Scandinavia, eastern and central Europe, and Soviet Union countries. Rarely, encephalitis may also be found in Taiwan, Singapore, and Hong Kong.
About 10 percent of encephalitis patients may die. Encephalitis-associated death is mostly attributed to severe swelling in the brain, which increases intracranial pressure over the brain stem. The brainstem controls vital functions, including breathing and circulation.
Encephalitis is a serious and potentially fatal condition. Increasing intracranial pressure requires urgent intervention as this can also lead to life-long deficits or even death. Intracranial pressures over the brain stem cripple various vital functions, ultimately leading to demise.
Viral infections may suppress with initial treatment, but the virus may remain dormant within the body. Physical or emotional stress can reactivate the virus, causing infection of the brain. This causes subacute and chronic encephalitis infections in humans. Stress can also cause immune dysregulation, due to which acute infections may spread to the brain.
Intracranial pressure build-up and encephalitis-affected frontal and temporal lobes have the potential to cause serious neurological deficits, including memory loss, personality changes, and speech and language problems. Individuals may find it difficult to process and respond to information.
Last reviewed at:
03 Oct 2022 - 5 min read
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