Sleep is a modification of the mind which has the cause of nothingness as its support. It is the best tonic of life to refresh the tired person. Sleep refreshes and tones the brain and nerves. The mind and the body require relaxation after the lapse of a particular time or after every series of actions done by the physical brain and mental body.
A sick person doesn’t sleep sometimes due to the ailment in the body. But if he gets sleep he is much relieved. He forgets his pain. All his suffering vanish during sleep. Lack of sleep intensifies the disease. He feels as if his disease has aggravated due to sleeplessness. Further sleeplessness itself is a disease. Therefore, sleep is indispensable.
Dreams cause disturbance to sound sleep. That is the reason why a person is not able to enjoy good, refreshing sleep to his entire satisfaction. The time of deep sleep is very little. One hour of sound sleep can refresh a person better than six hours of sleep interrupted by dreams.
Food plays an important part in the length of time of sleep. A glutton feels drowsy and doesn’t like to leave the bed even after 9/10 am. He is overpowered by laziness. A person of moderate diet gets up from bed early. He is satisfied with less sound sleep.
Mental peace, absence of worry, fear, anxiety in life, freedom from diseases contribute to sound and dreamless sleep. He who knows the science of relaxation gets sound sleep the moment he lies down in bed. Take light foods at night. Physical exhaustion brings mental exhaustion also. A person of less physical labor and more mental work may get less sleep. For some people the mind is not so easily tired as the physical body. Sleep is for both the mind and body. Even though the body is tired, if the mind is not ready for sleep one does not get good sleep.
Sleep is more refreshing at night because there are no disturbing sounds. Further the mind is much fatigued after the day’s work. Night is nature’s time for sleep while the day is meant for activity. When we are in tune with the nature’s law, we remain happy and healthy. Violation of nature’s law results in disastrous consequences.
The hours of sleep depends on one’s physical and mental capacity for recuperating fatigue. Without sufficiency of sleep, you will have no efficiency. The amount of sleep required varies with age, temperament and the amount of work done. Ten hours sleep is necessary for a child. As age advances people require less sleep. Adults who work hard may sleep for eight hours. Medical men and psychologist are paying great attention these days to the amount of quality sleep.
Do not take drugs to get sleep. If you cannot sleep naturally, take a brisk walk in the open air for 15 minutes with a relaxed mind and then go to bed. You are sure to have refreshing sleep. Digestive organs function quietly and uninterruptedly at night. Strong coffee or tea should not be taken after 4pm. Sleep on the left side which helps in food digestion. Retire to bed at a fixed hour every day. Wear loose and light clothing. Don’t cover yourself with heavy blanket.
Even when you are asleep, some eternal principle is ever awake. He is the silent witness of the three states that are waking, dream and deep sleep. He is the source, cause, substratum, support for everything. Sleep is a condition of necessary rest, cannot be governed by hard and fast rules. Much depends on a person’s physical and mental capacity for resisting fatigue. Everything depends upon the constitution and on the amount of work as well as the kind of work which he does during the day.
Even while at work, you can relax if you are conversant with this science. You can take a nap while sitting on the chair. Relaxation for a few minutes will serve as a great restorer. He who can relax well can be more productive. Change of work activity or posture can also provide rest or relaxation. Laziness is quite different from relaxation. Meditation gives you perfect rest.
Empty your bladder and bowels before you go to bed. If you wish to get sound sleep, you must regulate the hour of your last meals of the day. If you wish to retire to bed at 10pm finish your meals at 7pm. If you take your food before three hours from time of sleep, then half of the digestion will be over before you retire and you will be able to sleep peacefully.
PRACTICAL AIDS TO SOUND SLEEP
1. No screen time for 1 hour before retiring to bed. No electronic gadgets in your bed room while sleeping.
2. Room should be completely dark and absolutely quiet.
3. Give up the worrying habits. It slowly undermines the vital force. He who worries too much cannot sleep.
4. Be cheerful, smile always. Relax your body and mind completely and you will fall asleep quickly.
5. Use light bed clothes. Do not cover yourself with heavy blanket. It will disturb your sleep.
6. Do not take any drugs to induce sleep. A drug habit will be formed. Drugs produce depression. Try to get sleep by natural methods.
7. Give up overloading the stomach. Let your diet be light and easily digestible. Indigestion is another cause of sleeplessness.
8. Give up heated debates and unnecessary arguments and discussion. Keep your temper under control.
9. No intake of coffee after 4pm. Coffee unnecessarily stimulates the cells of the brain and the nerves.
10. Do not read ghost stories, thrillers, murder stories, and sensational literature before retiring to bed. They will excite your nerves.
11. Do not do any intense brain work just before going to bed. Avoid mental agitation. Control the emotions, control anger.
12. Take oil bath or hot mustard foot bath.
13. If you wake up at night, do not bother about finding what time it is. Looking at the time can make you anxious.
14. If your nerves and brain are weak, strengthen and energize them through the practice of meditation and mild pranayamas. Cultivate self control.
15. Lie down quietly, relaxed in mind and body. This will give you as much recuperation as sleep itself.