One big way to strengthen immunity is to sleep well. Sounds unimportant? “Sleep strengthens your body’s capacity to fight pathogens of all kinds,” says spiritual healer Dr Priya Kaul. “With adequate rest, your body is able to reset and recharge.” Good sleeping habits ensure a sound sleep, says Dr Vivek Nangia, pulmonologist and chest and sleep medicine specialist with Fortis Healthcare. “This is called sleep hygiene,” he says.
*Skip vigorous workouts before hitting the bed.
* Chuck long naps during the day, especially after 3pm.
* Keep your bedtime and wake time fixed on all days, including weekends.
* Get your seven hours of sleep.
* Keep all heavy physical and mental work for daytime (including arguments with family members!).
Plus, the clothes you sleep in also help or hinder sound sleep, says Dr Nangia. “Wear loose fitting clothes with few buttons and zips for good air circulation. Good fabrics are cotton for summer, flannel for the colder months, and silk, which works in all seasons,” he says.
“If your hair is long, tie it back at the nape, but loosely so it doesn’t restrict blood flow to the scalp”, adds Dr Rachna Jagia, head of dermatology and aesthetics, Venkateshwar Hospital, Delhi.
Here’s how to sleep well.
Is satin a good material to sleep in?
Sapna Khanna, 49, Fitness coach
Top, Chelsea28; silky pyjamas from a shop in Vietnam; slippers, Melissa
What she wears: Cotton spaghetti top with silk pyjamas
“I like a lot of soft pillows and cushions around me, a soothing night light, and some good reading material. An hour before bedtime, I cream my face, light an aromatic candle and read as I sip green tea with honey and lemon. I usually fall asleep between 11 and 11.30 pm. I always sleep better when I sleep on my left in the foetal position. Science shows it aids digestion and prevents acid reflux. Also, I place a pillow between the lower legs to align the hips properly and prevent lower back pain. A good pillow supports my neck too.”
Expert speak: “Smooth satin or silk pyjamas may not suit all skin types,” feels Dr Rachna Jagia, head of dermatology and aesthetics, Venkateshwar Hospital, Delhi.
Good sleep advice: “Contoured body pillows, such as pregnancy support pillows or knee pillows, promote better alignment,” advises Spiritual healer Dr Priya Kaul.
Is cotton really the best fabric?
Himani Sharma, 38, Yoga instructor
Shirt and shorts, Forever 21; Lingerie, Amante
What she wears: A silk camisole and shorts set with a robe
“I am a very disciplined sleeper. I am in bed by 10.30 pm, two or three hours after dinner, having drunk a glass of warm water or warm milk and read a book (fiction) before sleeping. Then I wake up at 4 am for a morning run or yoga classes. I’m not particular about which side I sleep on, but when I get up, it’s on my left and I sit for two-three minutes before getting out of bed. After dinner, I walk my dogs for at least 30 minutes. For better sleep, I dip my feet in warm water for 10-15 minutes, do some yoga and Bhramari Pranayama, or drink valerian root tea.”
Expert speak: “Cotton shorts are definitely the best option, but make sure they don’t have elastic in it as it avoids pressure on the stomach and abdominal muscles, says a leading dermatologist”, Dr Deepali Bhardwaj
Good sleep advice: Don’t leap out of bed in the mornings. First sit up for two-three minutes and then put your feet on the floor. This helps with blood circulation and is especially important for elderly people.
Pyjama sets look good: do they better sleep quality?
Nidhi Sharma, 26, Model
Camisole and pyjamas, Mango; slippers, Forever 21
What she wears: Cotton shorts or pyjama set with loose shirts
“I read, meditate and write a journal and drink jasmine tea before sleeping, that helps me to digest my food too. I also go for dance classes in the evening that not only relaxes me and drains all the toxins from the body, but also ensures a good night’s sleep.”
Expert speak: “Cotton or khadi pyjamas are comfortable and soothing for the skin. To make them more comfortable, avoid zips and buttons,” suggests Dr Vivek Nangia.
Good sleep advice: Chamomile or jasmine tea is calming. To fully relax, keep the room dark.
Surely track pants and singlets are good for zzzzz’s?
Bhupinder Brar, 49, Army officer-turned entrepreneur
Vest, A collection; drawstring pyjamas,Zara; slippers, Puma
What he wears: Sleeveless T-shirt with tracks “Typically I bathe at the end of day for better hygiene; my dinner is usually light and I wear loose clothes for sleep. I try and sleep for about 7.5 hours a night; to ensure I do, I have a screen curfew 45 minutes before bedtime, a comfortable bed and a peaceful environment. I usually read a book at the end of the day, accompanied by a cup of warm milk. Lastly, I ponder over the day and thank the Almighty for everything. A positive mind, a contented heart and comfortable surroundings are the key to good sleep.”
Expert speak: “Track pants need to be in pure cotton so the skin can breathe. Avoid those with elastic at the waist and ankles. Tops need to be loose,” says Dr Manu Bora, sports injury specialist
Good sleep advice: “Cell phones, tablets, and laptops emit blue light. This, plus the mental overstimulation of social media, can throw off your circadian rhythm. Minimise their use at night,” says Dr Kaul.
What are the rules to pick the best camisole?
Natasha Nair, 22, Make-up artist
Negligee and silk robe, Amante; slippers, Melissa
What she wears: A camisole with shorts and robe
“My sleep schedule is NOT great. Sometimes we have early morning clients and late night shoots. On other nights, I catch up with Netflix. But I try to get 6-8 hours of sleep. Since I love skincare, I apply a face mask and do the whole cleansing, toning, moisturising routine, or apply aloe vera gel and leave it on overnight. Recently I’ve been drinking warm turmeric milk just before bedtime which helps me sleep better. Bedtime after a warm bath is a great idea. I listen to audio affirmations while falling asleep; they make me energised, positive and filled with tons of ideas the next morning.”
Expert speak: “Satin and silk shorts or pyjamas may not suit people with dry skin, eczema, psoriasis, atopic dermatitis, asthma and diabetes,” warns Dr Deepali Bharadwaj, leading dermatologist.
Good sleep advice: “Always remove make-up and use moisturiser,” says Dr Bhardwaj. “Listen to something positive or meditate before sleeping to heal your mind,” adds Dr Priya Kaul.
Let’s talk about the dynamics of elastics and sound sleep
Shivani Chopra, 32, Strategy consultant
T-shirt and shorts,Forever 21; slippers, Janpath
What she wears: A sleeveless T-shirt with shorts
“I’m a relatively sound sleeper and try to get eight-nine hours in every day. It sounds like a lot, but my body needs it! Prior to sinking into bed, I sit on my couch and enjoy a cup of calming green tea to unwind from my hectic day. I watch my favourite TV shows, scroll through social media, and make a mental checklist of the next day’s to-do list. In bed, I listen to a funny or light podcast or soothing music while I cuddle with my dog, Kulfi, and drift into slumber.”
Expert speak: “Shorts could be a comfortable option depending on the season and temperature. Avoid shorts
in synthetic materials as they are not skin friendly”, says Dr Deepali Bhardwaj, a leading dermatologist.
Good sleep advice: Listen to music or something funny to relax and build a good mood. Cuddling a pet is a great stress buster!
Jammies should always be cotton? Yes!
Akhil Mehra, 26, Athlete
Vest, UCB; pyjamas, BTB (Below the Belt); slippers, UCB
What he wears: Vest with cotton jammies or T-shirt with cotton shorts
“I go to bed at the same time every day; it helps my body recover from the stresses of the day, and I try and sleep for at least seven-eight hours. This is a human superpower that we don’t use enough. To avoid stiffness when I wake up, I stretch before I lie down and then sleep on my back. I also meditate for 15 minutes so I don’t take baggage from today into tomorrow and avoid electronic screens (phone, TV, tablet) before I sleep.”
Expert speak: “Cotton pyjamas and a loose T-shirt helps the skin to breathe better which keeps you cool and helps you sleep better,” feels Dr Nangia.
Good sleep advice: Meditate, chant, listen to the sound of Om to cleanse your mind. “Or practice feng shui that helps you view your room as a peaceful sanctuary,” adds Dr Kaul.
Shirtless or in shorts: What’s better?
Vishesh Wadhwa, 26, Entrepreneur
Track pants,Zara; slippers, Puma; T-shirt, Aeropostle; shorts and slippers, Puma; wrist band, Fitbit
What he wears: Only track pants, no top or T-shirt with boxer shorts.
“I’m a deep sleeper and generally sleep on my side and without a pillow. A sleep schedule is important to me, as is daily exercise to help me sleep better and improve my immunity. I usually exercise before dinner and go to bed two hours after eating.”
Expert speak: “Track pants and T-shirts must also be cotton, and loose. Sleeping without a T-shirt or vest may leas to loss of immunity as the body temperature may drop suddenly,” feels Dr Deepali Bhardwaj.
Good sleep advice: Exercise can help you sleep better, but avoid vigorous activity for at least one hour before bedtime.
Should nightsuits be body hugging?
Atisha Pratap Singh, 19, Student
Shirt and pyjamas, Mango; furry sliders, H&M
What she wears: Nightsuit in a soft fabric
“After a good workout, I sleep like a baby. I’m blessed with the ability to sleep anywhere: in the car, with loud music, anything. I drink green tea and listen to music before sleeping. At times, I watch a good show.”
Expert speak: “Loose and full sleeved cotton nightsuits keep you cosy and keep mosquitoes away,” says Dr Rachna Jagia.
Good sleep advice: Keep your room tidy. It’s easier to settle into sleep when you’re not focused on piles of laundry or dusty furniture.
The uses of dressing warm …
Blossom Kochhar, in her 70s, Beauty expert
Printed t-shirt and pyjamas, M&S; furry sliders, H&M
What she wears: Comfortable pyjama set
“I go to bed at around 11 pm and wake at 6 am. I sleep either on my left or on my back. Before bedtime, I drink a glass of water and scroll through the phone for relaxation. Deep breathing is important before I lie down and I use a lot of relaxing lavender: it helps induce good sleep.”
Expert speak: “Pyjamas in cotton suit all skin types. Avoid sweat-absorbing materials as the skin needs to breathe at night,” says Dr Rachna Jagia.
Good sleep advice: Aromatherapy helps calm the mind. Use lavender oil or keep lavender near your bed.
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From HT Brunch, March 29, 2020
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