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Rest assured: Set yourself a goal, & you’ll sleep well

THE ASIAN AGE. | KANIZA GARARI
Published : Jul 20, 2017, 6:34 am IST
Updated : Jul 20, 2017, 6:34 am IST

Research suggests that there are drug-free ways to a good sleep, and one such is to identify a purpose in life.

Those who suffer from sleep apnea, or other sleep disorders, often pop sleeping pills to ensure a good night's rest.
 Those who suffer from sleep apnea, or other sleep disorders, often pop sleeping pills to ensure a good night's rest.

Having a purpose in life and being motivated helps people sleep better at night, claims a new study by researchers at Northwestern University in the US. The study found that there are drug-free alternatives for people suffering from sleep disorders.

Those who suffer from sleep apnea, or other sleep disorders, often pop sleeping pills to ensure a good night's rest. But the study conducted on 800 people found that helping people to cultivate a purpose in life is an effective drug-free strategy to improve the quality of sleep.

Dr Ramana Prasad.V Velamuru, a pulmonologist and respiratory intensivist in Hyderabad, says: “Insomnia is  common among depressed patients, who may suffer from a range of insomnia symptoms, including difficulty falling asleep (sleep onset insomnia), difficulty staying asleep (sleep maintenance insomnia), unrefreshing sleep, and daytime sleepiness. Research suggests  the risk of developing depression is highest among people with both sleep onset and sleep maintenance insomnia.”

Meditation, listening to soft music, or reading a book before bedtime can help one to relax while focusing one's thoughts on neutral or pleasant topics. Sleep disturbances are found to increase as one gets older so it is important to cultivate a hobby that ensures that enough energy is used during the day to make sleep easier at night.

Dr Srinivas Kishore, a sleep specialist, says it's a misconception that as you age your sleep decreases. “It is not so. Research has shown that sleep is constant during all stages in life. Lack of sleep is due to physical and psychiatric illness. Apart from medication, various therapies are used to improve sleep patterns.”

The amount of sleep required by adults is seven to eight hours, and this  is constant throughout the adult years. In senior citizens, sleep is less deep and choppier than in younger people. This could be due to illnesses such as Alzheimer's disease, heart problems, arthritis or lifestyle conditions. People may also have difficulty sleeping if they are depressed, anxious, and suffer from extreme irritation, which leads them to be always angry and upset with everyone. 

For this reason, it is important that older adults are occupied and have something to look forward to. When there is a purpose, the pattern of sleep stabilises as the mind is focused and working towards a goal.

Tags: sleep, drug-free alternatives