Several years ago, a patient surprised me, and the staff, “Doc, this is the first time I came to your clinic. I wasn’t here last week.” He, in fact, was seen at the clinic the prior week (he had filled out all the necessary paperwork, and had a progress note to prove his visit) and was sent to the sleep center for a sleep study! But, he was so sleep-deprived that he was living in a truncated level of wakefulness that he did not remember to coming to the clinic at all. For people like this, a quote shared by another patient comes true, “It feels like when I went to bed I was 18, and when I woke up I was 81!”
If you take care of your sleep, only then you can reach the highest wakefulness, a state full of lasting energy, enthusiasm, vigor, and vitality. At that highest level of wakefulness, you can squeeze out one magical moment after another from this greatest gift called life. If not, then your whole life will feel like a fleeting moment.
Here is how you can get started.
- Make sure your bedroom is dark, cool, and quiet.
- Reserve your bedroom for sleep and sex only. Keep work-related items out of the bedroom.
- Always maintain a consistent time to rise, even when circumstances prevent you from going to bed at your normal time. And, yes, that includes weekends.
- Avoid consuming alcohol three hours before bedtime.
- Avoid eating a heavy meal before bedtime because the process of digestion will interfere with falling asleep and may reduce the amount of deep sleep.
- Sweat for sound sleep.
- Stay away from caffeine, certainly after one o’clock.
- Do not nap after two o’clock, and do not nap for longer than twenty minutes.
- Develop a relaxing bedtime routine. Listen to the music. Read a nice book. Take a warm shower because the cooling off promotes sleep.
- Pray on the pillow.
If you follow these tips consistently and religiously, only then you can be at the highest level of wakefulness and only then you can proclaim, “I am awake.”
So, Are you awake yet?