In this highly competitive world, it feels like we have two forces running through our lives: one pushing us into the world to achieve and succeed, and the other pulling us in to rest and replenish. Though they seem at odds, they actually work best together.

World Sleep Day (March 17) is a great reminder to spread awareness about sleep hygiene. This year’s theme: ‘Sleep is essential for health’ throws light on how just like eating well and exercising, sleep too is a lifestyle function that is foundational to one’s physical, mental, and social well-being.

The ‘10,000 hours study’ by K. Anders Ericsson has often been quoted by high achievers, where Ericsson studied the habits and traits of masters and found that to achieve mastery in any topic, you must put in 10,000 hours of practice. But what people have missed in this theory is that Ericsson recorded that the great masters of the world got almost eight hours of sleep per night. Masters just sleep more, he found, as compared to the average person today who is reported to sleep around five to six hours per night. Even if you look at the world today, the most optimised human beings in the world dedicated more time to quality sleep and rest. Jack Ma, billionaire entrepreneur and founder of the Chinese e-commerce site Alibaba, has said that sleep is key to handling stress and problem-solving. “If I don’t sleep well, the problem will still be there. If I sleep, I have a better chance to fight it.”

Science has proved time and again that there is no trade-off between success and sleep. Sleep is a proven unconscious performance-enhancement tool, so to function productively in any capacity of your life, you need to replenish and heal every single night. This happens when you sleep deeply.

According to recent statistics, 86 per cent of people struggle to sleep, and over 10 million prescriptions are written for sleeping pills a year. Disturbed/ incomplete sleep is more than an inconvenience that impacts your state of mind, it negatively affects your memory, concentration, and mood, and it boosts your risk for depression, obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and high blood pressure.

A good first step is to establish and stick to a consistent sleep schedule, ideally going to sleep and waking up at the same time every day (including weekends). Also, keep these tips in mind at night to set you up for a good night's sleep:

• Create your winding down routine closer to bedtime (dinner should be consumed at least three hours before)

•Read a real book (not on an electronic device)

• Warm shower

• Self-massage

• Chamomile tea

• Turn off your mobile (or put it on airplane mode) along with other electronics

• Keep your room dark, quiet, and cool

• Breathing exercises

• Journal

Write down the three things you are most grateful for.

Write down the three things you want to accomplish the next day

Keep a notepad next to your bed to write down anything else on your mind.

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