Many programmers and techies are night creatures but we don't necessarily have to be. Sometimes, evening is the time when we habitually start entering the programming zone or muse and at other times, we are just stuck inside an infinite loop of thinking which doesn't allow us to listen to what the body is signaling, so we keep on going with it until its too late and exhaustion consumes us (usually at 2 or 3 in the midnight).
But staying awake so late is not a very healthy habit, the energy levels and a general lack of enthusiasm next day speak for themselves. Besides, the long-term harmful effects of this bad pattern on our health isn't something we even pause to consider.
Maybe you already know this but breaking this pattern isn't easy once it becomes a habit. Habits are powerful structures of our mind and breaking them seems like a monumental task sometimes. The mind doesn't care whether its good habit or not, its like a computer who just knows efficient input, processing and output (of a sleeping habit in this case). Its the heart's job to decide what's right and what's not.
Just as only one powerful structure can beat another, only another strong habit pattern can beat this toxic habit pattern. If your heart has decided and you're serious about breaking this then below are four practical tips to help you create that alternative "good" pattern:
- Head Oil Massage: You may not immediately fall asleep early even if you decide one fine day, so you need something which can help relax your body and mind. Just pour some drops of hair oil on your head before going to sleep and massage vigorously. Coconut oil is recommended in tropical climates like India whereas Mustard oil is preferable in colder climates.
- Nutmeg Diet: Nutmeg (also called jay-phal in hindi/marathi and jaji-kaya in kannada) is a wonderful natural and culinary spice that not only tastes great but helps form an early sleeping habit. If you eat daal or curry or any other cooked veggies, you can use Nutmeg powder in the mix which is available in most shops. Otherwise, you can buy Nutmeg essential oil and mix with the Coconut/Mustard oil in the above step.
- Read a book while falling asleep: Reading a book just before sleep is a great way to fall asleep quickly! You get a quick break out of the infinite loop of whatever your mind is thinking and you get absorbed into something else, this gives your mind the chance to shutdown the running computer and issue a quick sleep command!
- Morning Sunlight: Getting in tune with your natural and biological circadian rhythm is essential to continue with this newly formed habit and that is just one of the benefits that the early morning Ra or Surya Deva grants you. Just sitting in the balcony where light comes naturally is a great way of doing this. It has several other benefits, it makes you energized instantly, for example, and also nourishes your body, mind and soul. So, don't stop this habit even after you improve your sleeping pattern.