Humans require sleep in order to maintain vitality.
Sleep is a time when the body can shut down many of its functions and turn its attention to doing maintenance on the form. It is a state that should feel good. It is a state that should be easy to recognize. It is a state that should be easily obtained.
Unfortunately, we live in a world where we are often deprived of sleep. Our values have become such that burning the candle at both ends is the status quo. We must reexamine this philosophy. Humans ideally spend thirty percent of their lives asleep. It seems that if we are going to invest twenty-five years in a project, we would want do it right.
First, rest is good! It is the period of maximum metabolic maintenance, and it reestablishes mental clarity. Second, rest is required!!! Deprivation will trigger severe body imbalances and may be fatal. How many hours of sleep does the human body need? This varies from individual to individual. On the average we need somewhere between six and ten hours a night. In some countries, people find rest is optimized when split up into two segments: one segment, for six hours at night and a second, a two hour nap in the afternoon. The concept of “siesta” or afternoon nap is actively practiced by a large portion of the earth’s population. Sleeping, even if it is just for 10 or 15 minutes on either side of the midday, 12 o’clock mark, can be very useful for boosting the human’s consciousness level. Your body requires “down time” in order to regroup, refuel, and rejuvenate.
The need for sleep, especially quality sleep, goes way up if one is facing physical, emotional, or spiritual challenges in their life. During these times, extra rest will allow the body to regain some of the ground it has lost due to interruptions of normal body cycles. Have you ever noticed when you were ill with the flu, how staying in bed almost felt natural and assisted in the healing process? Once again, we live in a society that encourages people who are experiencing a dysfunction, to get back to work, to push through it, to take whatever steps are necessary to forge ahead and get the job done. We must stop this!!! Ignoring your body’s pleas for time off and help is what creates a degenerative life cycle. You must take time to give the body the space it needs to heal itself. If you are tired, you should be able to sleep. If this is not the case, then you are experiencing insomnia. The easiest explanation for insomnia is consumption of stimulants, like caffeine and sugar. Stopping both of these completely will always help. However, probably the number one thing that keeps people awake at night is money and money-related issues, including work, divorce, and retirement. Please understand–money’s not the problem. Worrying about money is the problem. There are many ways to shift from negative worry patterns to positive, empowering mind talk. I talk more about this in the Body/Mind section on my website. The normal resting cycle can also experience insomnia from other things, for example, musculo-skeletal pain and tension, mind chatter, nocturnal urination, kidney/bladder system weakness, or low blood sugar problems.
The best thing I have found to get to sleep, especially when the mind is doing its little flip-flop thing at night, darting about all over the place, chattering about everything that went on that day and everything that needs to go on tomorrow, is the Zen Buddhist Breathing Meditation. This meditation was originally to be done while walking. However, it works quite well lying down to put you to sleep. You will find that by practicing it regularly at night, your mind will begin to become very, very quiet and very still. Answers to seemingly unsolvable problems will just pop up out of nowhere into your consciousness, and you will rapidly fall into a deep, deep sleep, where the body can maximize, recuperate, and get itself ready for the next day. So allow yourself to rest, and relax into blissful sleep every night