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Just How Important Is Sleep? (Part 2)

Dear friends, this is Part 2 of the previous article: Just How Important Is Sleep?

In continuation of that article, some schools of thought have said that the healthier you are, the less rest and sleep you need. However, since we live in a polluted and modern age of the world, where in most cities traffic never ceases to end, nightlights never seem to be put out and our neighbors or neighboring buildings may be playing music or other electronics at varying levels of sound, suffice it to say we would be better off getting as much rest as we possibly can. In addition, emotional burdens such as worries, sorrow, anxieties, anger and greed are highly devitalizing.  A few minutes of anger expends more energy than a day of physical work! After anger, worries and sorrows disappear there is still yet another demon waiting to swallow the energy that is: mental fatigue or tension.

Therefore, to give some advice for better sleep (which this author needs to adhere to more himself…!) let’s all try to do the following (which work when I use them correctly)

1. Try to sleep at regular hours.

2. Wake up early and go to bed early. Remember this quote by Benjamin Franklin- Early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise. Well, the man was quite right. Of course in a world of party-junkies and workaholics that may sound boring or unrealistic but remember you are not them and they are not you. If they jumped off a cliff, suffice it to say you and I won’t! It’s not part of our natural cycle to go to sleep at 3 am and wake up at noon or to go to bed one day at 9 pm and the next at 1 am. This affects all of us perhaps more than we know, in spite of the wisecracking comment you may have heard from someone who doesn’t spend much time sleeping which goes along the lines of: “Who has time to sleep? I can sleep forever when I’m dead!” In general, we spend one-third of our lives sleeping, and as previously mentioned, that really is essential for rebooting our body’s systems, including the endocrine family, the brain, our digestion, and our heart.

3. Some authorities have said that the hours before midnight count for double; so going to sleep at ten and waking-up at six would feel more like ten hours than eight. And you’ll feel more rested than going to bed at 2 in the morning and waking-up at ten; which will feel more like 6 six or seven hours. I have tried this and I have to admit that it is quite true; therefore, you may want to keep that in mind.

4. If you have trouble sleeping, it may be caused by consuming foods and drinks that contain caffeine. This may also be caused by drinking herbal teas, garlic, spices, onions, condiments and the habit of eating late at night. As a result, the evening meal should be light and properly combined. You also would want to avoid eating sweet fruits too late in the evening, especially if you plan on just going to sleep afterwards. The sugar and acids in fruits may prevent you from falling asleep and may actually disturb the sleep you do get due to their detoxifying abilities, so as much as possible try to be done eating fruits by 9:30 pm daily-which should be feasible for most anyway. Again, this is why the standard Ehret diet previously given herewith works for most health challenges.

Folks, in these times, we are dealing with a big sleep-disorder problem, which in 2008 translated into over 56 million dollars worth of hypnotics, or sleeping pills.

Very tellingly, this is a record 54% increase in only four years. According to Rubin Naiman, Ph.D., sleeping pills commonly result in dependence, as they can undermine one’s ability to sleep without chemicals. Even more significantly, they can reduce the time spent in deep sleep, cause amnesia and daytime hangovers, and result in serious rebound insomnia upon discontinuation. He continues by saying that recent research has found that sleeping pills are not nearly as effective as many have believed. And sleeping pills do NOT significantly improve sleep, but mask our experience of poor sleep!

It should also be noted that not only have sleep problems driven people to doctor’s offices and research sleep centers, but they have also brought people into health foods stores for more natural solutions. And even that industry offers a wide variety of products and lifestyle options.

Well, suffice it to say that with following the standard diet provided as elaborated herewith, there should be a significant improvement with sleep disorders.

Two main poses (the Relaxation and Shoulder Stand Poses-along with its counter poses in the case of the latter) come to mind in regards to aiding with sleep disorders and I will discuss the relaxation pose here briefly.

The Yoga Relaxation Pose

The relaxation pose offered to us in Yoga can aid modern man to recapture the art of relaxation and it comes in very handy as this pose

-Alleviates stress.

-Increases Self-Confidence and awareness.

-Relieves Fatigue, insomnia and restlessness.

-Speeds up proper elimination of metabolic wastes.

In order to achieve perfect relaxation, the yogis use three methods. The three methods are known as physical, mental and spiritual relaxation.

No relaxation is complete until man reaches the stage of spiritual relaxation, which only Yogis know.

Physical Relaxation In The Yoga Relaxation Pose:

Readers, we all know that every action is the result of thought originated in the mind consciously or subconsciously. Thoughts take form in action and the body reacts to it.

Before we execute an action, the first thing that has to take place is the thought to do just that. The thought is created in the mind, sent to the brain and at the same time, the brain sends the message through the nerves to the muscles needed to be engaged to perform the act. (Contract)

Well, the exact opposite of that can be done to NOT perform (relax)

So while laying in the corpse pose, very much the same way you could tell yourself to perform an act (contract a muscle), this time around make your thoughts tell your body parts to relax.

Friends this is called “Auto-Suggestion”

Perform autosuggestions from the toes upwards while the suggestion passes through the muscles and reaches up to the eyes and ears at the top. This is performed by saying mentally to yourself: “My toes are hereby relaxed, my ankles are hereby relaxed…”

Mental Relaxation In The Yoga Relaxation Pose:

As I have outlined in the tutorials I have put online and elsewhere in my other articles related to the Sivananda Style of Yoga, one key element to perform yoga poses is breath control.

This specific method of breathing is known as square breathing and is usually executed by rhythmically breathing in a specific ratio being

1. Inhalation for 5 seconds

2   Retention for 5 seconds

3.  Exhalation for 5 seconds

So, taking that into consideration, after you have completed with the Physical (Auto-Suggestion) Aspects of the Relaxation Pose, which should take anywhere from 5-7 minutes, perform this square breathing pattern for an additional 5 minutes.

During mental tension one should breathe slowly and rhythmically for a few minutes and concentrate on breathing. Slowly the mind will become calm and one is able to feel a kind of floating sensation.

Spiritual Relaxation In The Yoga Relaxation Pose:

The Wisest Teacher that ever lived once said: “As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he” That’s directly related to saying, be careful what you wish for, for you just might get it!

Well, as I have outlined how thoughts can be used in the first stage of the corpse pose (auto-suggestions), for the Spiritual side, you will have to engage your thoughts again, by a soon to be discussed silent affirmation session. In spite of how a person may try to relax the mind, one cannot completely remove all tensions and worries from it unless one goes to spiritual relaxation.

Spiritual Relaxation is the pre-meditated process of using your thoughts to withdraw yourself from the body idea and ego consciousness, there is no other way of obtaining complete relaxation but by this.

Therefore, after engaging in the aforementioned square breathing in the mental relaxation, one should begin asserting his true self by stating mentally: “I am that pure consciousness or self”

What I do is in the same time of inhaling and now exhaling I make that mental affirmation for about 5 minutes.

I perform this by saying it in my mind mentally for 5 seconds while inhaling and the same thing for 5 seconds while exhaling 30 times which is about (or exactly 5 minutes if you use the aforementioned Metronome set to keep time)

This identification with the self completes the process of relaxation.

I believe this simple yoga pose can be employed as outlined here while of course you are lying in the bed about to go to sleep. If you are interested in the other pose (the shoulder-stand pose), please refer to my other book Yoga Fitness: Inside and Out which you can get from my website at www.bodyhealthsoul.com

However, for this simple relaxation pose, you should keep in mind that prior to beginning it, you will be advised to turn off all electronics, close all books, turn off all lights and make plans to not return to the use of any of these things after the pose, simply let the relaxing effect of the pose gradually evolve into sleep.

In addition, if you do not want to get all holistic or ‘earthy’ as a friend of mine would say while teasing me, then simply do the same thing: turn off all electronics, close all books, turn off all lights THEN take a brief walk around the block or house and make plans to not return to the use of any of these things when you get back in the room and then fall asleep.

For married couples or people in relationships as the case may be, suffice it to say one good activity to engage in to knock you out most of the time will be the good old act of making love!

To conclude this section on sleep, remember, it is essential to health and should not be overlooked or taken for granted.

Foras Aje is an independent researcher and author of “Fitness: Inside and Out”, a book on improving physical and mental health naturally with a Bible-Based Diet and Exercise. For more information on this book or other natural health tips, visit his site at http://www.bodyhealthsoul.com/

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