Pillow talk

Updated: Mar 13, 2020, 10:31 IST | Sukanya Datta | Mumbai

On World Sleep Day, we check in on busy Mumbaikars to see if they clock in adequate hours. Plus, effective tips to sleep like a log

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We've come a long way from the saying "early to bed, early to rise makes a person healthy, wealthy and wise." Thanks to changing lifestyle and work patterns across the globe, professionals are constantly trying to make the most of the 24 hours in a day, to squeeze in one more hour of an assignment, a few more minutes on our phones, all the while cutting back on the one thing that gets us going: sleep. The result? Sleepiness, fatigue, hypertension, inability to maintain a healthy immune system, mental disorders, among other effects, as per data released by the World Health Organization (WHO).

According to doctors, we need to clock in an average of eight to nine hours of sleep to perform our best.

Dr Prashant ChhajedDr Prashant Chhajed

But here we are, compromising on our sleep hygiene by making do with fewer hours, watching or reading from our smartphones before we dose off, or simply being unable to maintain regularity in our sleeping pattern.

This is what prompted a group of dedicated healthcare providers to kick off World Sleep Day in 2008, in order to create more awareness about sleeping as one of the most significant aspects of a healthy lifestyle.

In a city that never sleeps, we caught up with three busy Mumbaikars to speak to them about sleep and the lack of it, and with Dr Prashant Chhajed, a chest physician specialising in interventional pulmonology and sleep disordered breathing, on a few tips to clock in that extra hour of sleep.

Take out seven hours

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Sona Mohapatra, singer and music composer

The musician of Bolo Na and Rangabati fame says sleep eludes her. Having covered seven countries since 2020 kicked off, she says gigs, rehearsals, and constant travelling as well as being an entrepreneur allows her to sleep for four to five hours daily. "Last fortnight I almost entirely skipped sleep for three to four nights on a tour, leading to acid reflux this week," she says, adding you may just find her napping at parties.

Doctor's tip: You need to find a seven-hour slot to sleep to avoid fatigue. If you have unavoidable work keeping you up, don't take it to the bedroom. Finish it outside and ensure no laptop, TV or phone is on in the bedroom. Keep bright lights out and minimise sounds.

Time zone matters

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Trisha Mendes, flight attendant with an international carrier

The 25-year-old cabin crew, who mostly travels on long-haul flights, tries to get five to six hours of sleep between two trips. "However, because we keep flitting between different time zones, it's difficult for the body to just fall asleep. Often, I remain awake for hours in bed," she reveals.

Doctor's tip: Time your sleep according to the plan you have in the place you're landing. If you know that you'll have time to sleep when you land, don't sleep in the plane as it disrupts chances of proper sleep later. Also, practice some form of meditation or shavasan to tune out other thoughts when in bed; it helps to dose off.

Watch your diet

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Vaniitha Jaiin, wine and spirits specialist

Apart from being an entrepreneur, Jaiin is also the mother of a 10-year-old boy. In between having to balance his school and cricket schedules, she has to curate and attend events that go on till 11.30 pm or later. "I usually try to get six hours of sleep on an average, but on three out of seven days, it often becomes five. I travel abroad often, and thanks to jetlag and less sleep, I lose out on one or two days of productivity," she says.

Doctor's tip: If you're going to bed really late, avoid any form of nicotine, caffeine or chocolates. You should ideally also avoid big meals or food that is too spicy before sleeping. Also keep away from gadgets or books; don't depend on them to fall asleep.

Plug in, plug out

Nature Sounds Relax and Sleep: De-stress and listen to the sounds of nature, which you can even set up as your alarm tone
Log on to Play Store

Stop, Breathe & Think: Meditation & Mindfulness: Receive meditation and mindfulness recommendations every day at a click
Log on to Play Store

Good Night Sleep Site: Helmed by sleep consultant, this page provides tips, advice and resources to sleeping better
Log on to instagram.com/gnsleepsite

Olivia Arezzolo: The Australian sleep expert's page focuses on a holistic approach to maintaining a good sleep pattern
Log on to instagram.com/oliviaarezzolo

Dalreen Ramos

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