The easiest way to become unhealthy is to deprive yourself of restful sleep.
Alternately, the easiest way to restore health is to get rest and sufficient sleep.
The body employs its innate ability to restore balance and rejuvenate when given the opportunity.
Sleep researchers divide sleep into four distinctive stages, from the most lucid state to the deepest one. Stage 4 is the deepest sleep.
Normally, people enter the Stage 4 after one or two hours of falling asleep. Stage 4 sleep occurs early in the course of the night.
Stage 4 sleep is very special. It happens only with the right conditions in place:
- fall asleep early enough (usually by midnight),
- all-around atmosphere is conducive for quiet and restful sleep,
- the mind has a low level of stress.
Why Stage 4 Sleep is Important
Because it's the only time our bodies produce the growth hormone, and a few other anti-aging, cell-regenerating natural chemicals.
If one never falls into Stage 4 sleep, their cells don't regenerate as well and the body tissues age faster. Their immune system has to work overtime and eventually weakens on a permanent basis. This allows for an auto-immune disease (like asthma and diabetes) to develop.
We can say that the lack of restful sleep and the inability of the body to regenerate the immune system is the precursor to many common ailments.
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, or Fibromyalgia, sufferers often fall into the same category. They feel pain, which prevents them to fall asleep deeply. Their lack of restful sleep, in turn, doesn't allow such individuals to rejuvenate and heal the pain. It's a catch-22 that puzzles the medical community.
According to yoga science, the first thing a
Fibromyalgia patient should do is get enough restful sleep. Stress
relief is also critical for fibromyalgia. See more on
Stress Relief here.
How to Achieve Restful Sleep
We can't fall asleep consciously. Falling asleep just happens.
Just like meditation. We sit down to meditate, we focus, and focus, and focus. Sometimes, our minds are busy. Other times, we slip into a meditative tranquil state very easily.
So what helps sleep, and meditation? ... Good preparation.
Healthy Habit: Make your bedroom
a place of rest.
No reading. No TV. No Internet. No phone. No heated discussions. Your bedroom is a place for sleep and love. Design it accordingly. Try to address all the five senses. Calming colors like beige, light blue, or pastel green. Quiet atmosphere. Pleasant scent. Soft bedding.
Healthy Habit: Early to bed, early to rise.
Going to bed around 10pm is most natural for our biology.
Sleep researchers say that "one hour before 2am is worth two hours after 2am".
This means that sleeping from 10pm to 2am would be equivalent to 8 hours of sleep!
This gives you the time for an early morning yoga practice.
Healthy Habit: Get yourself physically tired.
You have all day for that.
Have you noticed that people who work in physical labor have no problem with good sleep?
Put your energy to use. Take a long walk after dinner. Do fifteen minutes of Sun Salutations. Clean around the house. Workout. See other Healthy Habits on this website to get ideas.
Healthy Habit: Practice Abdominal Breath
to induce the relaxation response.
Mental stress causes insomnia and poor-quality sleep. For insights and healthy habits on how to reduce stress, please visit the Stress Relief page.