"To live happy, one must sleep happy. To sleep happy, one must live happy."
If there is one thing that most of us are lacking these days, it is adequate rest and quality sleep.
Throughout the day, it is very easy for our energy to be depleted from all the activities of physical and mental work. Often we can take our body and mind for granted and not realize the importance of balancing our active lifestyle with adequate rest. Some of us may even think that as long as we throw ourselves in bed at the end of the day we will be able to wake up the next morning recharged and refreshed. But will it?
How much sleep do we really need for physical and mental recovery?
This article will look into addressing this question
Sleep In Depth
How much should we sleep?
The generally accepted idea is that we should sleep between 7-8 hours a day.
But realize that this prescription is for people on average.
As everyone is unique, some would need more whilst some would need less.
Thus to truly find what suits one best will require one to develop the Knowing of The Self and this is done by working it out form actual experience – i.e. Developing the awareness of one’s energy levels so that one can know whether or not one is sleeping too much or too little.
However, most of us would find it hard to develop this awareness. This is because the relationship between sleep and energy levels can be ambiguous at times. For instance, if one sleeps too little, one can experience fatigue. But similarly, if one sleeps too much, one can also experience fatigue. If one sleeps too early, or too late, one can also experience fatigue no matter how much they sleep. If one sleeps enough hours, but with bad quality sleep, then one can also experience fatigue. So it can take a while for one to develop awareness to see what amount of sleep is needed every day.So let us look at some tips which can help one to develop this awareness even more.
A short sleep of good quality will always be better than a long sleep which is of bad quality.
And what defines a quality sleep?
A quality sleep can be defined by how many times we wake up, and how Still our Mind is throughout the sleep. Improving the latter wil improve the former.
And how can we improve the state of Stillness when we sleep?
Realize that the State of Stillness of our Mind when we sleep will always come back to the quality of the state of mind that we gave carried with us throughout the day.
It is very important to Know this because without this knowledge, one would not know that to truly address one’s sleeping patterns requires one to address one's mental state throughout the day.
You see, the way in which one lives will always affect the quality of one's sleep. For instance, if we lives in a lifestyle that is full of pressure, then we will sleep with a pressured mind. If we went through a day full of anger, then we will sleep with an angry mind. And likewise if we are constantly filling our mind with stimulating things or stress throughout the day, then it will take a longer time for the mind to unwind and get into a state of deep sleep at the end of the day.
It is only when one has gone throughout the day in a peaceful way, that one can enjoy peaceful sleep.
Thus If we live with the wisdom of living peacefully during the day, then we will be able sleep peacefully at the end of the day. This is how we can create a healthy cycle of living.
Importance Of Addressing Sleep
The quality of sleep can affect our levels of awareness / focus / energy throughout the day. When we lack sleep, it can make us “edgy” - making us prone to anger and depression.
Do you often get angry at the smallest things?
If so you can see if it is beause of a lack of quality sleep.
Realize that sleep is also the opportunity for the mind to “unwind” and subconsciously process / let go / all the stress and frustrations that we have accumulated throughout the day. Sleep thus can be said to be a “reset” button which allows oneself to begin the day again “refreshed.”
When was the last time you had a good night sleep?
At a deeper level, Sleep also allows for the communication to happen between the Deeper Self and the Surface Self. Thus sleeping is an important time for the communion with the Soul, Spirit Guides, Higher Self etc. to happen. When one carries too much surface thoughts into one’s sleep then the communication can be blocked because The Self will not be able to perceive the deeper messages within. Often the communication is communicated through metaphors in dreams.
Path Of Creator
Sleep In Relation To The Path Of Creator
The Path Of Creator is about creating greater happiness.
The quality of sleep we have every day can affect our happiness in more ways than we can imagine.
The journey begins with understanding the effect of sleep has upon us so that one can develop the natural intention to address / improve it.
The journey is about knowing our sleeping patterns and addressing them so we can find the best method for us – rather than following what is advised by the mainstream.
It is a journey of not only addressing our sleeping patterns but also the way we live our lives. The destination is to live as well as we sleep, and sleep as well as we live.
The Knowing that will be developed will be the Knowing of the correlation between the way in which we use our Minds throughout the day and the quality of our sleep - i.e. how they affect each other
For example, a stressed mind will create a stressful sleeping pattern. Although we may seem calm from the outside when we sleep, but when we sleep with a stressed mind, there will be deep activities happening within the mind to process through all the frustrations that we have picked up throughout the day. Realize that when the mind is in such a state the mind is not really resting!
The deeper Knowing that one will develop will be the Knowing that The Seed Cause of bad sleep will always recede back to some form of Sufferings because Sufferings are what creates a stressed mind.
And what sort of Suffering can we pickup throughout the day?
We can experience suffering when someone at work said something to make us angry.
We can experience suffering when we encounter some sort of fear throughout the day.
We are suffering when we experience impatience, frustration, judgement and so forth.
Although in those moments of Suffering the experience may seem to last for just a moment on the outside but what we do not realize is that any sufferings we go through will always be lodged in the deeper mind until they are processed and resolved. That is why when we have a problem that we can’t solve, the problem will keep bothering us until it meets some sort of resolution.
Realize that when the Mind is absoloutely Still, then 3-4 hours of deep sleep is in fact enough for an individual who lives a peaceful life. The 3-4 hours is mainly for the recovery of the physical body. But it is hard to reach this state of mind in a society which is always pushing us to use our mind. But this is just an example of how little sleep one would need if one is able to get deep sleep.
Generally, as one works on their Sufferings, they will begin to experience a peacefulness in the Mind throughout the day and this will naturally help to improve the quality of one's sleep.
Waking Up Earlier actually Gives You More Energy
Try waking up earlier in the morning for instance 3am or 4am or 5am to experience the different states of the mind throughout the day. What you will realize is that the Mind will usually be more alert throughout the day when we wake up early because what happens when we sleep too much is that our minds can wander which can be quite draining.
Also, sleeping before 9pm can also help as after that time the mind can become increasingly creative.
Develop Experienced Knowledge
When you sleep, the best state of mind is to be in a state of control and awareness. This is because when you lack control and awareness, your mind will wander and this is what will prevent you from falling in sleep.
The general rule is to become 80-90% present in the body rather than in the mind and developing the determination to do so. To contrast, when one is only 30% present in the body one will mainly be daydreaming and wandering in the mind.
To be Present in the body, one can observe for any physical sensations with a calm mind with the intention of letting go of any pleasant sensations and observe unpleasant sensations with Stillness. Maintain a state of Stillness at all times by declaring the intention of not wanting wandering thoughts. The Creator's Meditation can help you to develop this state of mind.
At first, you may feel that it is impossible to fall asleep when you are in a state of full-awareness. But with practice it will become second-nature.
And when you wake up
“I’m determined that I’m not going back to sleep” with the intention to let go of the craving for the pleasant sensations of sleeping again. The latter will greatly help you to remain awake.
The Creator's Meditation / VipassanaLink here
When you experience a pleasant sensation in your meditation, instead of craving and becoming attached to it simply observe it as is with the intention to let go with a Still Mind. Doing this will help you to develop enough will power to overcome the craving for pleasant sensations of sleeping more when you wake up.