One third of our lives are dedicated to sleep. It is not merely a luxury, but a necessity and a tool of remedy.
In today’s busy world, chronic sleep deprivation is a major cause of morbidity and more.
Often times we simply do not receive enough time for sleep based on the choices and circumstances we partake in. Other times we do not achieve good sleep even though we give the conventional “try”.
For those who do not make enough time for sleep, I offer that you consider it as more than simply period between businesses. It is in fact the key to productivity and health.
For those who struggle to find Morpheus, I offer you some tips to consider.
One: Create and stick to a good sleep hygiene.
The key in making any great change is simple. It is finding and adapting what works, and then simply sticking with it. Keep this statement in mind as you read these following tips:
- Sleep before 11 PM on most nights and wake before 9 AM on most days.
- ZERO electronics in the hour before bedtime.
- NO florescent/ blue lights in the room while sleeping. Buy and set up opaque curtains as appropriate. You should see no bright lights even after your eyes have adjusted to the darkness. That is how dark your room should be.
- Be physically active during the day, even if not actively exercising. Walk and stretch regularly, and adopt an exercise/dance/sport/ACTIVE routine to do during free time. When thinking about the ideal routine, remember to keep them fun. Breath, move, sweat.
- Use bed for intercourse and sleep only.
- This may be counter-intuitive, but being absorbed in work not only gives you an outlet for your energy but also provides focus and rhythm throughout the day. Find a job that you love and love the job you have. There is a correlation between chronic back pain and job dissatisfaction, so save yourself the pain and find (or create) the job you want.
- Create a quiet sleeping environment. Turn off the TV. Use white noises if you wish, but do not let it be your crutch. Use earplugs when necessary.
Two: Create a pre-sleep routine.
One of the most important things to do before bedtime when able is to wind down the day with ease.
A great pre sleep routine can range from static stretching to massages. Ideally, they can be done in your pajamas.
I offer that you start with a simple set of stretches including the following:
- Standing hamstring stretch
- Standing hip adductor stretch
- Standing quad stretch
- Kneeing hip flexor stretch
- Sitting hip flexor stretch
- Calf stretch
There is an ancient yoga belief that the hip is the gate to emotion, and that opening up the hip releases emotional tension.
Afterwards you may move on to the upper body, focusing on the major muscles of the back and neck. There is a belief that the neck is the gateway to the mind, and that to release the tension in the neck releases anxieties and worries brought on by the negative thought patterns. Opening up the tension in these muscles not only feels relaxing, but also can help alleviate conditions such as neck pain and tension headaches. Here is an example of a routine:
- Lateral neck/trapezius stretch
- Latissmus dorsi stretch.
Here is an video of a full body stretch routine courtesy of Psych Truth’s YouTube Channel, which offers many great free yoga and stretching routines.
Three: Create an in-bed routine.
My preference is to do wind down activities in bed prior to closing my eyes. Again, these may be as diverse as you make them. In fact you can do parts of the above stretch routine while in bed. Below I offer several other things one can do once lying in bed.
The first is a scalp massage. This can be done by yourself, and is more intuitive than you may think. Simply take your hands and press your five digit pads onto your scalp, with one hand on each side. Gently but firmly roll the pads of your fingers in whichever direction you find release in. You may rake your fingers from front to back, squeeze them together, and even grab a bit of your hair and pull. The release is a feeling of satisfaction.
The second in bed routine is eye exercises/massages. There are several good videos to demonstrate basic exercises to relax the musculature of the orbit and the eye itself. There are quite a number of people who have used disciplined routines of eye exercises to improve eyesight and reduce near nearsightedness and astigmatism (i.e the Bates Method and derivatives). For those interested on this journey, here is a video of explaining some of the basic premise of naturally improving vision. For simple relaxation, I offer that whichever exercises you chose to do in bed, that you always include palming and deep breathing.
The third is to cuddle with a partner. Doing so may help increase the feeling of well-being and provide calm. Sex may also be a part of the routine, provided that you understand its Yang nature and use it in harmony with the Yin.
That is all for now.
Sleep is vital for success and happiness.
A well-rested mind is well supplied to create passion, presence, and peace.
Until next time.