Sleep Smarter, Rest Deeper

How much sleep is enough? Individual needs vary but, as a rule of thumb, if you’re tired upon waking, you need more sleep. If you need coffee, caffeinated tea, or cocoa to get you going in the morning, you likely need more sleep. Sleep is essential for the spiritual path, particularly going to bed early and getting up early. The experience of tiredness when adequate hours of sleep are received may be an indication of stressed adrenals or other health concerns. Recent research shows that without sufficient sleep, people have significantly less serotonin in their nervous system. Serotonin creates a neuroendocrine safety net against stress and is thought by some to be responsible for maintaining mood balance.

“But I Rest…!”

Rest is indeed an important alchemical healer. It is so important that God even gave us a Sabbath so we could not misinterpret the message. In everyday work life, it is important to acknowledge this time for regeneration. In the process of kaya kalpa, the idea of complete rest is an integral part of the rejuvenation program. It works. Rest implies a break from all daily routines, responsibilities, irritating noises, and so on. A quiet spot in Nature is good, especially for city people who are cut off from Nature’s regenerating forces on a daily basis.

There is no magic number for hours of sleep; depending on our constitution, we may need from five to eight hours, or even more, per night. The main idea is the regularity of a good night of sleep. For some, a short nap in the day is helpful; for others, just the opposite may be best. This may also be combined with light fasting. Daily meditation before, during, and after work creates a rest that helps wake us up from production mentality and is of benefit to us all. Although aligning with these basic natural forces seems simple, it often requires some social independence. Children, when they have a recess from school, automatically know what to do: they play. How many teachers do we see outside playing? As adults it can be equally important to take a “recess” ourselves. Instead of remaining indoors during a lengthy lunch period, step outside, get some fresh air, take a minute for meditation or a short walk. To many, it might seem strange to acknowledge the participation of these natural laws in our life, but they keep us tuned to the life force. From the book Spiritual Nutrition

Sleep Within Your Family from the book Conscious Parenting

The sleep cycles have a profound effect on family life! For starters, the amount of sleep that we get affects the serotonin levels of the brain, which, in turn, affects our mood. Sleep deprivation is a real factor in many mothers’ experiences of postpartum depression, as well as exaggerating any existing family tension. When we grownups are sleep-deprived, we tend to have less energy, alertness, and patience, while our children can experience the effects of moodiness, hyperactivity, and even extreme behaviors contributing to ADD/ADHD.

Lack of sleep also contributes to aggression and anxiety. It is estimated that over 100 million Americans are sleep-deprived. Working as much as possible with our natural desire to sleep at night and be awake during the daytime also links us in to the supportive cosmic energies of day and of night. Our eyes, for example, are designed to receive sunlight, not just artificial lighting. As we see in cases of seasonal affective disorder (SAD), as well as vitamin-D deficiency, receiving the blessing of sunlight each day plays a key role in our quality of life.

Prayer and meditation are foundational to the experience of peace with the mind. When your child shows the ability to sit still (generally as early as age three and up), invite him or her to make silence with you. This should always be a voluntary activity rather than mandatory. Just before bedtime is often best, because the child has had opportunity for activity and is winding down to transition into restful sleep. Explain to your child that you will be meditating, or making silence to quiet your mind, and ask if they would like to join you. Dim the lights, and tell your child that when a candle is lit, silence has begun.

So, what should I do?

The secret is in being peaceful with yourself: avoiding excess exercise, over-effort, over-scheduling, irregular hours, and not getting enough sleep, which should be between seven and eight hours per night. Adequate sleep, rest and relaxation are important to recover from the stresses of modern life.

Supplements for a more restful night:

Platinum has begun to prove itself as a very effective supplement for sleep. Platinum is useful to get rid of headaches, PMS, cold feet, and general sensitivity. Platinum is also associated with well-being and longevity. Platinum can help with improving sleep and quality of dreams, and has been associated with increased energy levels. Platinum and gold, in order not to be toxic, must be taken at the angstrom level.

Melatonin is a natural hormone produced by the pineal gland located in the center of the brain. Its secretion is inhibited by light and stimulated by darkness. Therefore, melatonin production peaks at night. Research shows that the body’s natural production of melatonin decreases with age. It has received substantial publicity for its ability to promote natural sleep patterns, stimulate the immune system, decrease jet lag and its role as a powerful antioxidant. The use of melatonin to promote restful sleep is well documented.