Did you know that one-third of our time is spent sleeping? A night of quality sleep is as essential as
any other basic need such as food and water. Without sleep, we cannot function physically and mentally properly. Sleep difficulty is a result of trouble falling or maintaining sleep. For some people, it may be difficult to sleep continuously and end up waking up several times at night. Some people may find themselves sleeping more than required. Few signs of sleep difficulty are lack of focus, frequent headaches, irritability, daytime fatigue, waking up in the middle of the night or too early abruptly and taking a lot of time to fall asleep. Sleep difficulty may arise due to stress, worry, depression, poor sleep hygiene or changes in work
schedules such as night shifts. Other causes may involve sleep disorders such as insomnia and sleep apnea.
Depending on the cause of sleep difficulty, treatment will vary. However, you can try simple techniques to improve your quality of sleep.

Sleep Hygiene:

Sleep hygiene is the habits, rituals, behaviors one follows in order to regulate sleep. If you are experiencing difficulties in sleeping, you can make slight changes in your lifestyle such as following your sleep cycle i.e. sleeping at a fixed time and waking up at a fixed time until the body gets used to the schedule. Avoid consumption of alcohol, cigarettes, and drugs and
curb caffeine intake. Relax your body and mind by doing some basic stretching exercise or meditation before going to bed. Do not engage in mental activities such as working on pending assignments or browse social media on the phone right before going to bed. Keep a gap of minimum 10 to 15 minutes between gadget use and going to sleep. Other than this check your bed whether it is comfortable to sleep and dim lights before going to bed. You may also apply lavender oil on the head since research says that lavender helps in relaxing the
body and induce sleep.

4-7-8 breathing:

4-7-8 breathing is a type of deep breathing exercise. It helps in relaxing tensed muscles, calming worried thoughts and slowing down heart rate which helps one fall asleep. Here, you need to sit in a comfortable position with eyes closed. Once you are ready, start to slowly
inhale through your nose for 4 seconds, hold the breath for 7 seconds and later exhale through your mouth slowly for 8 seconds. Do this in slow motion and feel how your body relaxes. After you have exhaled, take a moment and then open your eyes. This is one count.
You can repeat this technique 4 times before going to bed.

Guided imagery and visualization:
Guided imagery and visualization are a method of relaxation. Here, one uses imagination to think of positive images thus, reducing the stress, relaxing and thus leading to a night of better sleep.

In order to practice, visual imagery you should find a comfortable place and sit with closed eyes. Make sure that you are not disturbed. Once you are ready, imagine being at a relaxing place such as a beach and continue to imagine all the aspects of a beach like the gritty sand, salty smell, soothing air, blueness of the sea, etc. You can stay with the imagined scene for 5 to 10 minutes or until you feel relaxed. Once you are calm, take a moment and then slowly open your eyes.


Mindfulness is a meditation technique which is known to help people feel relaxed.
Mindfulness is believed to improve sleep by increasing mental focus, awareness of thoughts and reducing stress. Here, a focal point is needed, for instance: Breath. After sitting comfortably, and focus on inhaling and exhaling. Later, you can focus on different sensations
of the body as you inhale and exhale such as the air going through your throat, pumping of the chest or movement of the abdomen.
The above-mentioned techniques may help you to improve your sleep. In case you wish to know further and consult professional help, you can by booking a session through the PinkyMind app.

About the author - Disha Manchekar, Psychotherapist at Pinkymind
Pinkymind, an online counseling platform, prepares a foundation to address emotional issues and fight back against mental illnesses and burnout. Experts on
Pinkymind platform deal with issues faced by stressed-out teenagers, disgruntled spouses and aid people who wish to take a step towards improving their mental health. This easy-to-use platform helps user discuss their problems without revealing their identity. The process is quite simple and secure.

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Author's Bio: 

Certified Psychotherapist & a blogger

Disha is a former HR turned into Psychotherapist. Having worked as an HR professional in an MNC, she is familiar with dealing with issues pertaining to corporate life. She has also interned in psychiatric hospitals and worked in NGOs. She has experience of counseling people from different age groups and problems. She believes in using therapies which will benefit the client. Through her skills and experience, she wishes to bring positive changes in the lives of people.