Sleep is fundamental to health. It allows the body to not only rest, but to also clean and purify itself. Just think, we spend nearly one-third of our life sleeping (or trying to) so is it any wonder that with so many people not getting enough sleep, how many things in our inner and outer world would be out of balance? Thought should be given to the possibility that sleep deprivation is becoming a world-wide issue of crisis proportion.
Sleep deprivation is, in part, due to the unrealistic expectations our lifestyles force upon us that trick us into drastically underestimating how much sleep we truly need. The physical body needs eight to nine hours of high-quality restorative sleep per night. Hands down, total truth. Where do you think your current amount of sleep comes in at? How much is quality sleep? In many cases, sleep problems are stress and life-style related. Too much coffee, feeling constantly wound up and nervous, lack of good quality food, lack of outdoor fresh air, lack of community, oh gosh, the list could go on and on. Bottom line is the body can become so out of balance that real physiological problems can develop that physically destroy our sleep quality.
During good quality sleep, the stresses, strains, tension, and unrealized needs accumulated during the day are released and resolved during our dreams and other creative level processes the psyche takes us as we sleep. In deep-sleep, our brain slows way down to allow all the “mental programs” we run during conscious awake times to stop running and allow us to rest in a state of pure being. When our circuits are jammed with stress, we will continually tumble into bed so exhausted we need to wake ourselves up with alarms, just to begin another day feeling completely exhausted from the moment we wake up.
- Sleep in a quiet, dark room with fresh air moving though it if possible. You understand this right? How many times have you noticed when you’re outdoors in the fresh air for an entire day you feel tired and sleepy at the end of the day – and end up sleeping great. There is your proof that the “sleeping pill of fresh air” is true.
- Your biological clock is calibrated by exposure to light. Avoid blasting yourself with bright lights, cell phones, computers, or television for at least thirty minutes prior to going to bed. Gentle quiet music can be restful.
- When you get comfortable in bed, tense your body completely and hold it for 3 minutes. Then, slowly, muscle-by-muscle, completely relax. Repeat the tensing sequence again for half the amount of time. Do it a third and final time and relax. Take a very deep cleansing breath and as you breathe out, chant to yourself, “time to sleep”.
- Another option that works quite well is to imagine your body is an ice field and your breath and mind are like warm sunshine. Using your breath and mind, intently focus on slowly “moving” each breath over your body of ice, softening and warming it until it gently relaxes all areas of tightness and tension. Continue to repeatedly sweep the warmness through your body until you feel deeply relaxed and start to sense the need to drift off to sleep. If your body quivers, it is a sign of tension being released. A very good thing.
- Electric blankets, cells phones under your pillow or near you, all create considerable imbalance in your body’s own bio-electric field. DON’T HAVE THEM NEAR YOU.
- Sleeping with your head to the north optimizes the quality of your rest. The body is actually charged like a big bio-electric magnet; your head has a polarity similar to the north pole, while your feet have a polarity like the south pole. Imagine the body floating in a pool of water like the needle of a compass. Your body would naturally come to rest in alignment with the geo-magnetic environment when your head is toward the north and feet toward the south. If it is difficult to orient your bed to the north, the second best option is head toward the east.
The information offerings above are just a few of the many ways we can choose to no longer be a victim of sleep disturbances. Short of having a physiologically medical issue that disturbs sleep, we consciously make choices on how we sleep. We’ve trained ourselves to not sleep – much of it probably from a nasty habit we have developed; a fixation on worrying that we may miss something on Facebook, Twitter, or the new episode of some series on TV. We have, in fact, become “Stimulation Junkies” which can be deadly.
A very wise person once shared something very powerful with me. I was having enormous trouble with my “chattering mind” when I tried to sleep. She recommended I create an imaginary box of sorts that was a beautifully detailed reflection of me. It could be a box that actually existed or I could create a new one in my mind. I had a box that was sacred to me. I was to place the box on a dresser across the room – far from my “reach”. When I laid down and the incessant chatter started, I was to place my thoughts, needs, and other automatic fears of not sleeping into that box. I then blessed them in fashion, by telling them they were important thoughts – all very valuable to me, and then I gently closed the lid and bid each of them goodnight while letting them know I’d be visiting them again in the morning.
Works like a dream . . . .