SLEEP is a naturally recurring state of mind and body, characterized by altered consciousness, relatively inhibited sensory activity, inhibition of nearly all voluntary muscles, and reduced interactions with surroundings.
- By the time they reach adolescence, teenagers only need about 9 hours on average.
- For most adults, 7 to 8 hours a night appears to be the best amount of sleep, although some people may need as few as 5 hours or as many as 10 hours of sleep each day.
INSOMNIA is the difficulty in falling asleep or staying asleep, even when a person has the chance to do so. People with insomnia can feel dissatisfied with their sleep and usually experience one or more of the following symptoms: fatigue, low energy, difficulty in concentrating, mood disturbances, and decreased performance in work or at school.
Risk factors include:
- high levels of stress
- emotional disorders, such as depression or distress related to a life event
- traveling to different time zones
- sedentary lifestyle
- changes in work hours, or working night shifts
SPIRITUAL APPROACH TOWARDS BEATING INSOMNIA
Meditation or Pranayama and Square Breathing:
Practice yoga breathing, or Pranayama, the “life force” we all know as our breath. Inhale and exhale through your nostrils only, cultivating your Ujjayi breath, a common practice of Pranayama. Let the air drag over the back of your throat to create a low, ocean-like sound on the inhale and exhale. Once you’re warmed up, segue into square breathing: Inhale for four counts, hold for two and exhale for four. Repeat for two to three minutes.
Count backward from 100, restarting every time you lose track. Don’t bother about missing or forgetting the count; simply start over and keep counting down. Remember, there is no right or wrong.
Concentrate or focus on one single image. It could be anything: a face, colour, drawing or any other visual. Focusing on the image will calm down your mind after some time and will relax your brain.
Develop a Mantra:
Think of a personal mantra, any phrase you use to motivate yourself or to feel better. As the Buddha said, “Better than a thousand hollow words, is the word that brings peace.” Silently repeat your mantra and allow your mind to clear as you focus on a single phrase.
Turn off all electronic devices:
The blue light emitted by screens on cell phones, computers, tablets, and televisions restrains the production of melatonin, the hormone that controls your sleep/wake cycle. Reducing melatonin makes it harder to fall and stay asleep. Checking emails or glancing at social media can also keep our brains engaged, and make it difficult to fall asleep once the lights go out. To avoid difficulty falling asleep, tune out all electronic devices at least 30 minutes before you try to go to sleep.
The spirit gate point located at the crease on your outer wrist, below your pinkie finger.
- Feel for the small, hollow space in this area and apply gentle pressure in a circular or up-and-down movement.
- Continue for two to three minutes.
- Hold the left side of the point with gentle pressure for a few seconds, and then hold the right side.
- Repeat on the same area of your other wrist.
The three yin intersection point located on your inner leg, just above your ankle.
- Locate the highest point on your ankle.
- Count four finger widths up your leg, above your ankle.
- Apply deep pressure slightly behind your biggest lower-leg bone, massaging with circular or up-and-down motions for four to five seconds.
The bubbling spring point located on the sole of your foot.
It’s the small depression that appears just above the middle of your foot when you curl your toes inward.
Lie on your back with your knees bent so you can reach your feet with your hands.
- Take one foot in your hand and curl your toes.
- Feel for the depression on the sole of your foot.
- Apply firm pressure and massage this point for a few minutes using a circular or up-and-down motion.
The inner frontier gate point located on your inner forearm between two tendons.
- Turn your hands over so that your palms are facing up.
- Take one hand and count three finger widths down from your wrist crease.
- Apply a steady downward pressure between the two tendons in this location.
- Use a circular or up-and-down motion to massage the area for four to five seconds.
The wind pool point located on the back of your neck.
You can find it by feeling for the mastoid bone behind your ears and following the groove around to where your neck muscles attach to the skull.
- Clasp your hands together and gently open your palms with your fingers interlocked to create a cup shape with your hands.
- Use your thumbs to apply a deep and firm pressure toward your skull, using circular or up-and-down movements to massage this area for four to five seconds.
- Breathe deeply as you massage the area.
When you get quality sleep on a regular basis, you’ll…
- Wake up easily when the alarm goes off, without feeling as though you need another 12 hours shut-eye.
- Have quicker reflexes, clearer thought processes and a spring in your step and energy and enthusiasm to spare
- Feel cheerful and upbeat instead of grumpy, irritable or depressed
- Reduce your risk for serious illnesses and accidents
All of the above are attainable goals when you’re able to sleep better every night. So, please take the time to peruse this site to learn more about good sleep habits and addressing sleep disorders for enhanced health and vitality.