Not able to sleep? Turn Off The TV, Turn Off The Lights

Sleep restful by pinoThe past few days I’ve been really catching up on my sleep.  I guess my body knows what it needs.  Once again, last night at 7:00pm I felt myself getting sleepy.  So instead of just dozing off in my big puffy chair as i usually do, I got up and went into bed.  I figured I’d be back up before 11:00pm to do some work, but I didn’t get up until 2:30am. I woke up for a few moments every hour or so, but just took note that it felt good to be snuggled in my bed and if felt good to be so sleepy.  Years ago I turned my clock in the bedroom so I have to get up to see it. Since I drink so much water, I am usually up every few hours anyway, but even in the pitch of night I can somehow always guess within a few minutes what time it is.  Turning the clock away was the best thing I ever did for my sleeping room.

I’ve never been a recreational sleeper. I mean, it feels good to sleep, but my favorite is really those few moments as I fall into sleep, and as I begin to wake up. That sleepy, otherworldy place.  During times of stress, sometimes that is the only respite from it, those few moments twice a day, isn’t it?  Since I’m a twice daily meditator since the 70’s, I can recreate that alpha wave mindset during waking hours as well.

It felt good to sleep, but it also reminded me how much time is lost in sleep.  I can see how people can become addicted to sleeping, both as recreation and as an escape. As a way to pass the time when their own real life is not to their liking.  I wish I could tell those people to use those few moments for some fantasy thinking, some pre-paving, some personal visioning, some creative visualization. I would tell them also how to  program your inner dialogue to help propel them forward in their life, to keep them motivated and enthused. Not to just sleep their life away waiting for it to magically change without them doing anything about it.

So, as I get older, I realize the value of sleep as far as doing its role to rejuvenate my physical cellular structure.  I used to freak out when I didn’t get 8 hours sleep in a row, then I realized not everyone is on that schedule, and that sleep patterns change throughout our lives.  If I can remain flexible and surf them, I do best.  I wrote in Gray Hair Cure Available in 10 Years; Aging Naturally:

I’ve learned that my sleeping patterns morph and change with the years as well.  I go months where I only get 2-3 hours at a time.  I’ve arranged my schedule so I can do that at least twice a day.  I know not to fall asleep with the tv on. It’s not just the retina of our eyes that register light and react to it. The cells of our body also react to light and sound and remain on active standby while we’re asleep. When your eyes are exposed to lights, your pineal gland (a tiny endocrine organ in your brain) will not secrete the melatonin you need for a good night’s sleep.  I wrote in 15 Simple Steps to Reboot A Sluggish System that just as poinsettas in the garden need 6 hours of darkness every 24 hours in order to bloom and grow, just so our mind and body does better when we have quiet darkness to sleep in.

Even me, I’m always surprised to be reminded how much longer and sounder I sleep after I make myself shut off all external stimuli.  I’ll go months just napping in the chair or on the couch and not actually making it into my bedroom, where it is completely dark and cool and quiet.  Last night at 8:00pm when I began to doze in the big puffy chair, I made myself get up and go to bed.  I didn’t get up until 2:00am.  My body needed that!  So you can’t complain that you’re not sleeping well unless you’re lying in your bed with all light and sound off.  Ignore that inner voice that says you can’t fall asleep without the tv on.  That’s just your mind tricking you.  You’ve listened to that voice for so many years and that’s exactly what has gotten you to this point of not sleeping well.

Even  me, knowing this, it takes discipline to make me get myself up out of the big puffy chair to go lie in my bed.  But I’ve learned that, like life, it’s worth the trip.

RELATED POSTS: Our Ancestors Used to Sleep Twice a Night
Paving neural pathways to achieve meditation and access elusive inner states
Herbert Benson’s Relaxation Response is the TM technique minus the ritual
Programming Your Inner Dialogue To Move You Forward
Creative Visualization Made Easy
The morphing sleep cycles of menopause. 15 things to do when you can’t sleep. Here are lots of links to natural sleep aids.

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