Surgeon and medical vlogger Dr. Karan Raj, whose videos on dealing with stress have blown up on TikTok, has just offered up advice which is sure to be equally useful for many people: how to overcome insomnia. In a new video on his Youtube channel, Raj shares his own experience of struggling with insomnia, and breaks down the tactics he used to finally be able to get a good night’s sleep.
Firstly, in order to help combat the stress and tension that he encountered during his first year as a doctor, Raj practiced a series of deep breathing exercises to lower his heart rate and blood pressure before bed: inhaling through the nose for 4 seconds, holding his breath for 7 seconds, and exhaling for 8 seconds.
Then, he had to tackle another obstacle: revenge bedtime procrastination. This is the decision to sacrifice sleep for leisure time because your daily schedule is so packed. “It’s tempting after a long hard day at the office to just put up your feet and scroll through your phone until your eyes get heavy, or watch an episode of Stranger Things,” says Raj, “but often one turns into two turns into 10, and TikTok rabbit holes can go on until the early hours and before you know it it’s 1 a.m. and you have to get up in five hours.”
Scientifically speaking, the light being emitted by your phone or TV screen at night may also be tricking your brain into thinking it’s still daytime, and so Raj started scaling back his use of screens in the hours leading up to bed, exchanging them for “low-stimulation” activities like reading a book. Using the same principle, getting 5 to 10 minutes of direct daylight first thing in the morning can help to boost you and reset that body clock.
In terms of his diet, Raj recommends limiting your coffee intake after 2 p.m. as caffeine is, in his words, “literally an anti-sleep drug.” He also tries to avoid late-night snacking, and advises waiting at least 90 minutes between your last meal of the day and going to bed in order to avoid indigestion or acid reflux, which can disrupt your sleep.
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