Published on New York Spirit
“Mom, why do we sleep?”
“The sun goes off to sleep and so do we. This way we recharge our energies to play again the next day”.
And it made sense to my six-year-old brain. I don’t think, as a kid, we ever had trouble falling asleep. Even when the temperature of the room was not near perfect; even if the mattresses were not extra soft; even if we had a scuffle in the recess; we always fell asleep as soon as we hit the bed.
As adults, even though we understand how significant sleep is and at times really want it desperately, we are struggling to get it. Electronic gadgets have become our sleeping partner and they won’t let us sleep. We get tired all day running in this race of reaching somewhere in life. Yet, our mind doesn’t stop chattering in the night. Can’t fall asleep in the night, can’t wake up early in the morning. Why our body-clock at times resemble to be in sync with the opposite hemisphere of the earth?
How much sleep is enough?
So, how much sleep does our body need? Well, it is not necessarily the eight hours rule. It depends on the level of physical activity and one’s own body cycles. Listen to your body. Some days your body needs more restorative time, some days it feels refreshed in lesser hours.
If you have trouble getting up in the morning, it might be because you’re going to bed later than what you should be. Or it can be because you are too stressed in life. Your body wears down from that. Or it can be because you are unable to get a quality sleep in the night.
Every ailment is a result of an imbalance of our energy constitution. We have a unique balance of Vata, Pitta or Kapha energies and when this harmony gets disturbed, there will be dis-ease in the body.
If your mind becomes a playback recorder constantly playing the events of the day and just wouldn’t let you sleep, it is a Vata disorder. Your sleep is usually light and restless and you wake up tired. You see a lot of dreams. Grinding teeth, talking in sleep too are Vata induced sleeping troubles. Maintain a fixed sleeping time. Try not to take naps in the day. Light dinner and a 2-hour gap before you sleep. You need relatively more sleeping hours than the other two explained below.
If you have no problem in falling asleep at night but you wake up in early morning hours and cannot go back to sleep after that, it is Pitta dosha. Emotional traumas are usually one of the reasons. You might feel more productive at nights. You have to eat pitta-pacifying diet- foods that are dry, mild, cooling and dense in nature. Lukewarm water shower before sleep also helps. Go for a walk before going to bed.
If you do not have problems with the sleeping part and are a heavy sleeper but you wake up exhausted and remain dull during the day, it is Kapha dosha. Get up early with the sunrise. That will help you with the sluggishness. Exercise vigorously.
Knowing your energy constitution and maintaining a lifestyle and diet accordingly will greatly improve your health and peace of mind.
It’s not a new concept or a fad. Sleeping naked has many benefits. Our body cools down at the night time. It increases to normal by the time of dawn. Clothes hamper with this natural setting of the body. Studies have proved that it increases our metabolism, improve blood pressure, reduce the risk of diabetes and many other benefits.
The soul walk
Sleep is the only time when most of our senses shut down and the journey of the soul begins. It set out to explore other realms. The more you are in sync with your soul, the more profound your dreams would be. You seek messages from the higher self. At times, when you feel a jerk in the sleep; it is because your soul traveled other realms and came back. To understand dreams better, one must consciously decide to remember them and note them. You might yourself understand the patterns of dreams with your life. You will have visitors in your dreams.
There is a meditative state of sleep called the twilight sleep. If one can arrive there, the light from higher realms passes through us that enables cleansing and make us receive and understand messages to help in our journey on earth. It is a state where you are in midst of sleeping and awake state.
I often wonder when we sleep, whether the world ceases to exist or in fact, begins to exist.
May our sleep be the meditation!