Sleep is the best form of relaxation, close to meditation. That’s why those who sleep well always keep well & feel well. It’s a fact that if we get sound sleep during night, we get up fresh being more active & feeling more energetic. However in today’s world getting a sound sleep has become a rare occasion. Millions of people suffer from sleep disorders such as sleep apnoea, insomnia, restless leg syndrome, narcolepsy etc. In addition, the number of people who get a very broken, fitful sleep would be many times more. Sadly, many of these individuals resort to sleeping pills and drugs which ultimately make their problem worse.
Importance of sleep
Sleep disorders interfere with our body’s ability to recoup the energy needed for the next day. We usually make a huge mistake about sleep by viewing it merely as a time of inactivity for the body. Whereas in reality, during the hours of sleep, when we appear to be most passive, something within us is intensely active, recharging the body cells for the next day. One must not forget that when we are active throughout the day, we burnout energy; when we are seemingly inactive during night time, we are regenerating it.
Sleep is considered to be the greatest remedy to overcome tiredness. It is so critical that it simply overtakes one when it is needed by the body, hence it can be put off for some time but cannot be shunned. Healthful soothing slumber that reactivates the muscles, nerves and brain cells is one of nature’s greatest rejuvenators. Therefore it is absolutely essential to life like air, water and food. During sleep the body is busy in activities such as repair of tissue, healing, restocking of organs and cells with fuel, replacement of old cells with new ones etc. These processes occur at a much higher rate while we are asleep as compared to the time when we are awake.
Causes of sleep disorder
Medical science has acknowledged several causes that lead to sleep disorders. The biggest hindrance of all that contributes to sleeplessness is bad mental health. Our habits of negative thinking and unrighteous actions during the day cause sleep disturbances during the night. Repeated suppression of the voice of one’s conscience impairs mental health which results in negative personality traits and insomnia.
Another important factor that affects our sleep is the food we eat. It’s a medically proven fact that mental ill health adversely affects one’s eating habits, which in turn, drastically influences our sleep and health. For instance, those who have several cups of tea, coffee and colas increase their caffeine intake. This contributes to their inability to sleep.
Under such a medical condition, proper meditation technique can be of great help if practiced regularly.
How many hours of sleep is required?
There have been a lot of deliberations & debates over the hours of sleep that one should have. After all how much sleep does one need? Well! Doctors say that different conditions require different lengths of sleep. Under the best of conditions in terms of sleep, fresh air, water, food, physical work or exercise and positive influences, one would stay asleep as long as one’s system needs them to; then they will wake up automatically. Some people like the “Yogis” who are always under the stage of meditation, feel fine with even four-five hours or even less than that amount of sleep. Whereas others might need more. Also our age, general physical health, work routine, environment, and habitat play key roles in determining the hours of sleep we need.
Remember, our consciousness will automatically return when the purpose of sleep is fulfilled. Hence there is really no such thing as oversleeping. However, there is certainly a phenomenon as under sleeping, because, for some reason or the other, our sleep does get sacrificed in pursuing other pleasures of life. The old adage “Early to bed and early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise” seems to fall on deaf ears in our times. But in this whole hustle and bustle, we tend to forget that it is the quality of life which matters the most & not the quantity. Hence if we jeopardize our sleep for silly reasons, we are knowingly undermining our health.
So it’s better to be wise for our own health benefit & make a habit to meditate daily before going to bed to disengage the mind from thoughts to give it sleep-inducing relaxation.
– Rajyogi Brahma Kumar Nikunj, a young spiritual leader of the Brahma Kumaris.