By Roseann Petropoulos
Sleep has become under-appreciated in our society. Many claim only needing a few hours of sleep each night and wear it as a badge of honor. Studies have shown that sleep is vital for our everyday mental performance, mood and basic health. Hormones are released during sleep which help our physical repair and recovery, growth and increase energy. Regular lack of sleep increases the risk of high blood pressure, heart disease and weakens our immune system. Basically, 7-8 hours of sleep is needed: the first 4 hours to relax our body and the next 3-4 hours to calm our mind. Sleep gives our body time to rest and restore all bodily processes to function properly. Sleep also allows our mind to clear all the stored information that may be overwhelming. The pace of modern life, work, and school, indoor lighting, hours in front of computer screens have increasingly caused a disturbance to our circadian rhythms. This rhythm is our bodily signal to waking and sleeping.
Often the stillness of the night is the time our inner self speaks to us. Does the chatter in your mind find its voice in this quiet time? Daytime activities are distractions that take us away from ourselves. I refer to the moments before sleep as “Sacred Time”. It is a time to allow yourself to be still, to see, hear and feel the thoughts that go through your mind. You may wish to experiment to see what happens. You may find, as I did, that the thoughts are in slow motion, allowing clarity of the day's events or a given situation. In the stillness of the night, you may find the privacy of mind to see your truth, muster the courage to face what may be too big or fearful in the light of day. It can serve as a means to take notice, one night, one day at a time. It can be a time to hear the answers to your prayers.
The next time you are unable to fall asleep or stay asleep after 20 minutes get out of bed. When we toss and turn in the night in bed, we form a bad habit of insomnia. We then become frustrated watching the time pass on the clock, which is another bad habit that reinforces insomnia. So next time, get out of bed and keep the lights low. Light is a disturbance to the rhythm of the night. Also, avoid eating as this will activate your digestive system and keep you awake. If anything, have a cup of warm decaffeinated tea or warm milk, like your grandmother gave you. Recall pleasant memories, such as a sweet song, a mantra repetition or simply count your blessings. Be willing to surrender your body, mind and spirit.
I trust that you will find that at first it is more about the quality of your night time rest than about the actual hours of sleep. I also trust that you will greet the daylight refreshed and renewed. So the next time you prepare for sleep, set an intention to rest your body, quiet your mind and experience Peace and Sleep.
Roseann Petropoulos is a Certified Hypnotherapist, Wellness Coach and Reiki Master/Teacher. Roseann combines her knowledge and intuitive insights to offer guidance to your questions or concerns. Roseann believes that True Peace comes from within. For more information call 732.894.3197 or Belmarwellness.com.