You Don’t Need Sleep You Need Rest

Sleep is a natural process. It’s really sad, people are not able to sleep these days.

In my previous articles, I have covered a few generic questions around sleep, sleep hygiene and sleep management techniques

There’s another important mechanism that aids sleep – detachment. 

The better your ability to detach the better is your sleep. 

Don’t take stressful thoughts to bed. 

People ponder over the day while on the bed. What went well and what didn’t. This causes a lot of stressful thoughts. 

Self-analysis helps get rid of stress. Before going to bed analyze the entire day. Write what went and didn’t go well. Accept your mistakes, learn from them and resolve not to repeat them. 

You need rest, not sleep

People are often stressed as they are unable to sleep. However, you need rest and not sleep. It’s a fact that if you rest for 7 hours even without sleeping you will feel fresh. However, people are unable to rest for even 15 minutes. They start changing positions on the bed,  get restless, watch TV, check their phones etc. 

Lie down in a comfortable position. Adjust yourself such that you don’t have to move. Slowly let go this body and tell yourself that you need rest. 

Remain calm on the bed and tell yourself. 

  • I need rest. 
  • If I get rest it’s enough. 
  • I just need rest.  

Just keep repeating these statements. Once you get the required rest the physiological rejuvenation will also happen. 

Your foundation should be rest not sleep. Tell yourself that you need rest. 

Enjoy your sleep

I know of many people who get scared of sleep. It’s because of their irregular sleep patterns. They fear they might wake up soon after falling asleep. If not they might not be able to sleep at all. These thoughts need to be erased from your mind. The easiest way is by telling yourself ‘I enjoy my sleep’. 

Make your life simple

Have a relaxed day. Do everything with ease. Never be in a hurry to finish any task. This makes you restless. Focus on the task but don’t rush through it.  

Stop stimulating the sleep center

The hypothalamus of the brain has sleep centers. When you detach, these sleep centers are activated. You then start falling asleep. 

Once the sleep center is totally activated you automatically go to sleep. 

To activate the sleep center stop stimulating it. If you are unable to detach, this center won’t get activated. 

Practice Detachment 

It is not possible to detach only at night. Spend the entire day in detachment. Detach from what happened even 10 minutes back. And yes, I know it’s difficult. 

People find it difficult to detach themselves from the past. The past is over. The future is yet to come. Throughout the day tell yourself ‘I don’t have to think about the past. I need to enjoy the present’. At night tell yourself ‘I need to enjoy my sleep and rest’.  

Practice detachment throughout the day. If in office, leave all your family tension aside and vice versa. Visualize putting all your tension in a bag and hang it near your office. Similarly, when you leave for work, visualize putting all your tension in a bag and hang it near your house. 

Having a fixed time, place and routine before sleep also helps in detachment. 

Is detachment difficult? 

 What you resist persists.

The mind goes where you don’t want it to go. For example, while meditating, the TV sound from the next room will distract you. You know your attention shouldn’t go there but it does. 

A few people are not able to sleep when there is noise in the surroundings. This is because of a lack of detachment. While trying to sleep in a noisy place don’t tell yourself not to focus on the noise. Tell yourself that you are going to relax and focus on your inner state. 

The original state of the soul is peaceful. Tell yourself that ‘I am going to that quiet state’. 

TV actors shoot for their episodes the entire day. Once the day is over they detach and tell themselves ‘today’s shooting is over. I need to get back to shooting only tomorrow’. Similarly, tell yourself ‘I the soul, my shooting is over for today, the rest needs to be shot tomorrow so detach’. 

Many people are not able to sleep on the train or while traveling. This should ideally not happen. Train yourself to detach. Once you learn to detach then you will be able to sleep in a moving train as well.

How does meditation help in sleeping disorders?

There was a research done in Ganga Ram Hospital, Mumbai. The staff was divided into two groups. One group listened to soft music and the other meditated. Their EEG was monitored while doing the activities and after the activities ended. 

They were then given some mental arithmetic. The group which was listening to music though started with alpha waves soon moved to beta waves. However, the group which meditated did the arithmetic in alpha waves itself. 

The music did not bring any internal change but meditation did. Just feeling the thought ‘I am a peaceful soul’ can do wonders. Try it to decide.

If you perform your daily tasks in alpha waves you will remain calm. This will help induce better sleep.

Improves self-awareness: This brings the best in you. If you ask people ‘who are you’ the answer generally will be – I am a mother, teacher, child, doctor, manager, etc. If you associate yourself as a manager you get stressed when your employees don’t behave well. However, when you understand this deeply that you are not a manager, this is just a role you are playing, stress reduces. 

Meditators enjoy their daily activities much more than non-meditators. It’s because of the constant awareness they carry that they are just playing a role. 

This helps remain light. 

Helps detach easily: In case you get involved in any activity meditation helps you detach from it easily. 

Surrender to God: Meditators can easily surrender themselves and their issues to God. They feel they are sleeping in God’s arms which a common man can’t feel.  This helps in getting delta sleep. 

Time to meditate: For those who haven’t meditated before, I would suggest –  wake up, bathe, get ready, do a little exercise and then meditate. As a beginner, this will really help you. 

In the evening, once you are back from work freshen up and meditate for 20 minutes. 

Then finally meditate just before sleeping. Even if it is just for 5 minutes.  

These 5 minutes tell yourself 

  • I am peaceful
  • I am detached 
  • I am with The Supreme Soul relaxing in Soul World. 

Lie down like a dead body and just create these thoughts for 5 minutes. Then use the circles’ technique discussed in this article and you will get deep sleep. 

The key takeaways which I always tell in my seminars 

  •  You don’t need sleep, you  need rest
  • Detach

If you can practice just these you will find a drastic improvement in your sleep quality. 

Dr. Girish Patel

Dr. Girish Patel is a noted Psychotherapist, and a world-renowned trainer from Mumbai, India.He's been to more than 40 countries around the globe, and delivered more than 5,000 lectures. He's also been in more than 200 talk shows on various TV channels. He's a fellow of the Royal Society of Health, London, and a patron of the Society for the Preservation of Medical Ethics. Even during his medical years, he worked on combining meditation with medicine. He's a regular student of the Brahma Kumaris, where he learned Raj Yoga. He’s adept in many meditation techniques including the Brahma Kumaris’ Raja Yoga. Few medical institutions which benefited from his findings and presentations include:-All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), New Delhi -Bombay Hospital and Research Centre, Mumbai -Doctors' Hospital, Canada -National Mental Institute, Singapore -University Hospital, Malaysia