Are You Getting The Sleep You Need?
In 2016, I asked the women in my Facebook community a question:
“If you had a whole day in a beautiful setting, that was totally focused on YOUR wellbeing, what would you do?”
The answer: Take a nap.
More recently, in 2018, I did a poll, asking women what challenge they’ve recently been faced with the most.
The number one answer: Exhaustion.
I had women saying that they “would sacrifice anything for a good night’s sleep”.
One of my good friends takes “sleep-cations” once or twice a year because she has trouble getting quality sleep at home. So she flies to a nice town and stays in a hotel room with blackout curtains for a few days to get the rest she needs.
So the question is: why are we so sleep deprived?
Sure, there are overstimulating electronics and not enough hours in the day to get the things done that we need to and still have leisure time - if any at all. Not to mention the demands of having kids (or pets for that matter).
But what is it really that’s making us so exhausted?
Are the practices of “don’t bring your phone into the bedroom”, “turn all screens off an hour before bed time”, and “don’t drink coffee after 2pm” not working?
I do think these things make for much better sleep hygiene, but I also wonder if a shift in our values is something we could consider taking a closer look at.
What if we valued the ancient, intimate, sacred practice of sleep instead of looking at sleep as a necessary means just to get to the next day? What if we looked forward to sleep every night?
After all, sleep, is literally what dreams are made of. The right kind of sleep can be so delicious. And we can’t (literally) have bigger dreams for ourselves if we aren’t sleeping.
If you’re someone who has kids waking you up in the middle of the night, you might be rolling your eyes at me right now.
Or maybe you’ve got a ton of things on your plate because you have to work to reach a specific financial goal to keep your head above water - or even to make the impact in the world that you want to make.
Let me tell you, I totally get it. I’ve been there (both places). These are real issues that we have to deal with and we can’t just sleep our days away while the world demands more from us than ever before.
However, the world needs the well-rested you (not the exhausted you). Several studies around the world have proven that sleep deprivation costs companies between $5 billion and $63 billion in employee productivity loss each year (Harvard Medical School, 2011).
Nevermind what the companies need, what about all of the causes you want to support? What about your own values?
If you value feeling good in your body, if you value having healthy relationships with your kids or your partner/spouse (sleep deprivation causes severe crankiness - ask me how I know), if you value a quality lifestyle at all, you’ve got to make rest and sleep a value too.
So what can you do now?
There are so many things I can tell you about right now, ranging from daily habits to sleep rituals. But you can start now by taking naps.
Yoga nidra naps, specifically.
When you practice yoga nidra sleep-based meditation, you move through 4 stages of consciousness while doing a cleansing of all of the stored energy and layers of resistances that we hold in our physical body, energy body, emotional body, wisdom body, and bliss body.
This is transformational sleep where you literally have to do nothing except “sleep” to get the transformation. This is sacred sleep. This is like sleep x 10. So, a 20-minute yoga nidra nap is the equivalent to getting about 3 hours of dreamy, deep, cleansing + refreshing sleep.
Don’t usually have dreams? Practicing yoga nidra can bring them back. And wouldn’t it be nice to start dreaming again?
Got a busy schedule this week? Squeezing in 20 minutes of yoga nidra to wind down before bed or to help you ease into the day right after you wake up in the morning, surely shouldn’t break the time bank. (And if it does, a life/values re-assessment is kind of necessary here).
Once you recognize that yumminess of feeling well-rested and restored again, you’re surely going to value sleep more and might even look forward to crawling into bed each night. Not only because it will enhance your waking life and make you more effective (because there is that) but also because it will make your night life so sweet (and often informative and adventurous) that you won’t ever want to go back to sleep deprivation again.
Lots of love, always.