Why More Sleep Isn’t the Answer
We all know the feeling… It’s dark, you’re tired, and your alarm clock is blaring, telling you that it’s time to get out of bed and get moving. As you stumble through your morning routine, you tell yourself, “I’d feel so much better if I could just get more sleep!”
But what if the answer to your fatigue and tiredness isn’t quite so simple? According to yogi and mystic Sadhguru, there’s more to the restfulness equation than sleep alone:
“What the body needs is not sleep; the body needs restfulness. Your mornings would be quite bad if you did not rest well at night. So what is making the difference is the level of relaxation.”
According to this philosophy, there’s no ideal amount of sleep that every single body requires. Instead, it’s far more important to cultivate a deep sense of relaxation throughout the day in order to combat the stress and fatigue that cause our bodies to require more rest than we’re able to give them.
There are a few different ways you can go about doing this:
Practice daily yoga and meditation
Perhaps the greatest benefit of a daily yoga and meditation practice is the profound sense of relaxation that occurs as a result—a sense of relaxation that can run so deep it is as if your body is actually sleeping throughout the day!
“In medical terms, if you take my pulse after I have had a good lunch, it would be somewhere around 47 to 48 or near that range. If you take my pulse on an empty stomach, it would be in the range of 35 to 40. Physiologically, this implies that I’m in a state of deep sleep. I am awake enough to do any type of activity in the world, but my body is in deep sleep.”
For most people, starting out with simple yoga postures and meditations can lead to a pulse rate that’s decreased by at least 8 to 20 counts over a three to four month period. As a result of these changes, the body can run more efficiently while enjoying a higher level of relaxation—both diminishing the amount of sleep that’s needed and improving the quality of the rest that you do get.
Stop battling with life
Of course, the benefit of a reduced heart rate and a deeper state of relaxation can only affect your sleep patterns if you allow the meditative experience to follow you throughout the day—not just when you’re actively engaging in meditation or yoga!
If you meditate in order to stimulate relaxation and then go out and allow elements of your life to stress you out, the benefits of your yoga and meditations will be short-lived. To prevent this from occurring, it’s important that we stop battling every aspect of our lives.
Your job is only as stressful as you make it. If you look around, you may notice someone managing a small shop being as stressful as the CEO of a multinational, or a taxi driver as stressful as a stock market broker. Something as simple as taking part in regular exercise could become stressful if we imbue the process with all sorts of expectations and measurements. Even eating, which should be one of the most joyful experiences we take part in, triggers stress when we approach it with a tense mindset.
Stop making everything so hard on yourself! Whenever you start to feel stress creeping in, take a moment to check in with your body and perform a mini-meditation that gives thanks for everything you’re blessed with in this world. Then, return to your tasks with a sense of joyfulness. The continued sense of relaxation you experience will go a long way towards making your nights more restful!
Follow your body’s lead
In all of your daily decisions, let your body lead the way.
When left to our own devices, we impose unnecessary limits on things like hunger and sleep—saying, “I can only eat so many calories today,” or “I will sleep for eight full hours tonight.” Instead, let your body do what it’s been designed to do!
If you tune into your body’s hunger cues, eat slowly and with gratitude, you’ll take in the exact number of calories needed to sustain yourself. And if you make relaxation a priority throughout the day, you’ll come awake, feeling well-rested and refreshed, as soon as your body has had enough sleep. Remember, your body is a most sophisticated and intelligent organism! By listening to your body’s signals and adopting a mindset that’s more relaxed and joyful, you’ll naturally find your way to healthier sleep patterns.
|Sadhguru is a yogi, mystic, and visionary, and a prominent spiritual leader. An author, poet, and internationally renowned speaker, Sadhguru is the founder of Isha Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to human wellbeing. (www.isha.sadhguru.org)
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