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It is usual for our body to feel sleepy after 9 p.m. These days as most of us choose to ignore those studieswhich claim that we should sleep by 10 a.m. But it is important for us to sleep at least by 2 a.m. Our body requires 6-8 hours of sleep, no more or less than that. This is true for adults and it’s different for babies and adolescents. The sleep cycle varies for every person depending on their body type and routine. A teenager may require 8-10 hours of sleep and if they sleep for only half an hour less than required it may hinder their performance during work every day.

Try to set alarms as minimal possible and set alarm for the last bit when you will actually wake up. Banging yourself with unnecessary alarms for the time when you know you won’t wake up, will result in yawning in front of your boss or professor. You might feel to have a sleep during the day and when you do, you won’t be able to sleep at the right time during night. My mother used to say, “This is a vicious cycle you have fallen into and you have to break it.” To break this cycle, you will have to skip your daydreaming and sleep early in the night to get up early the next day.

You have broken the cycle and created a better one. You must have seen your parents or elders wake up even before their alarm and on holidays too they follow the same routine. This is because of the body’s built in alarm. They have followed this every day for many years that their body has been equipped to this routine. Our body’s alarm can work well for us too if we follow a routine. I prefer the body alarm over the usual phone alarm. This allows my mind to sleep for the adequate amount of time as per its own requirement.

The waking up early theory is acknowledged by many wise people. Even the quote “Early to bed and early to rise” is by Benjamin Franklin, a famous scientist who invented the lightning rod, to prove that waking up early leads to wisdom and hence, better life. Don’t think that waking up early will lead to instant success. You will have to work smartly in all the extra time.

If you have trouble sleeping at night, try doing things that soothe you. Reading a book works best for me. If this doesn’t work for you, gentle but deep breathing exercise or yoga may work. One in three people suffer from insomnia and one in ten people suffer from anxiety. We may not even know that we are suffering from mental fatigue and blame ourselves for all the worries and hence, frustration. It is important to consult a therapist for the treatment.

The problem starts when we don’t go to a doctor even after identifying it. Rather the problem starts when we fail to identify brain as part of the body. Why is it that we go to the doctor for problems as little as cold or fever and not when we have trouble sleeping? Why take chance with your sleep? We forget that our mind is an important part of the body and it’s all connected: the mental and physical side of our human body. When we are sick, our mind may not function well and we may have headaches. When we have anxiety, we may fall sick. That’s why it is necessary to treat it as soon as possible otherwise it may get worse.

By the way, here is a small tip for the coffee lovers. Drinking coffee once or twice during the day is fine. But having it during night may cause insomnia and/or dizziness. It may further result in anxiety, irritability and hence the caffeine crash.

Here’s another example of a night guard, because they work only during the night and sleep during the day. And I’m not saying that it is okay for them to do this. Because even they are not happy with their lifestyle and family life but they’re helpless because of the nature of their work. I know because I had friendship with the night guard at my hostel. I talked to him when I had trouble sleeping myself. I felt helpless for the guy who had to feed his family and pay for their education and marriage. He tried to keep happy. But if you ever talk to him, you could tell that a pillow is that all he needs. I don’t want to sound mean but I would talk to him just to fall asleep. Because I believe that yawing is contagious and it would spread faster than corona virus. It is communicable to every mind and body type. (Pun intended!) Obviously, he slept for most of the time and then he went home and slept again during the day. He never got enough sleep because he was always disturbed by unwanted guests. By unwanted guests, I mean me and my friends who came late at night from a friend’s place and he had to open the door for us.

Ironically the time is 11 p.m. while I am writing this article and if it is the same in your watch while you’re reading this. STOP ALL THE WORK AND GO TO SLEEP! Don’t worry, we are all in the same boat and I will follow it too. If it was really that important, you could have completed it during the day. We keep delaying the work and when we realize we have to submit it the next morning, it’s already midnight. Then we complete the work in half conscious mind and mess up either while presenting it or the work is not up to the mark. With this, you will also learn Time Management. When you wake up, read our other articles on mental wellbeing.

Nuthan Manohar is the founder of Me Met Me. She is a sleep whisperer and a therapeutic perfumer. She is an adjunct faculty with the Indian Institute of Management Kozhikode for wellbeing, a TEDx Speaker, an MBA and MSc Yoga with extensive global experience in behaviour-based wellbeing.