And hush'd with buzzing night-flies to thy slumber,
Then in the perfum'd chambers of the great,
Under the canopies of costly state,
And lull'd with sound of sweetest melody?"
"Come, blessed barrier between day and day,
Dear mother of fresh thoughts and joyous health!"
Why is sleep important?
Sleep is defined in Webster’s new world dictionary as "a natural recurring condition of rest for the body and mind, during which time there is little or no conscious thought, sensation or movement".
Modern medical and psychological studies indicate that sleep is a period of comparative quiescence in which extra reserve of energy is accumulated, making possible a renewed burst of activity afterwards.
Good sleep and hunger are the two main criteria for good health, and amongst these, sleep is more restorative than food. When we are fatigued we go to the bed and not to the dining table to get energy back.
In sleep it is possible to heal wounds, to renew energy (for younger people) to grow.
During sleep, the subtle body has greater access to the cosmic power known as Ether or “aakaasa” which is the subtlest of foods and the most needed one.
Natural sleep is the best medicine of all. It has no deleterious effects and permits an escape from all the harsh realities of life.
Hence, sleep is perhaps the best of nature's boon. Only a healthy individual can sleep soundly though he will have no need to "oversleep"; on the contrary, an unhealthy individual will experience some sleep difficulties. The type and degree of sleep difficulties would vary according to the extent of ill-health of the person.
What is the situation of people today?
A large section of humanity that inhabits the civilized part of the world today, suffers from sleeplessness to a lesser or greater extent. Oh, poor sleep in older people is surely an inevitable feature of ageing; some may say. While the duration of sleep may become somewhat less as one ages and in fact less sleep can work in old age, the quality of sleep can be and should be good. One need not be a poor sleeper in old age unless he is considered to be very unhealthy.
Even the sufferers do not seem to go into the question as to why and how sleeplessness is caused. The sleepless ones knock in vain at the doors of the so-called healers one after the other, till they become reconciled to their 'fate'.
How to judge the quality of sleep?
Whether one has had enough sleep or not, can be verified by the individual himself. If upon waking up, he feels thoroughly refreshed, this implies he has had a good sleep. If that feeling of freshness is not there, it means that he has not slept adequately.
Merely sleeping for a long stretch is not enough. There are people who 'sleep' for a long time and yet have insomnia. Only people who have a sound nervous system can enjoy a deep sleep of good quality.
Following are the effects of insomnia:
The effect of insomnia may manifest in many forms of disorganized behaviour,
Lower mental efficiency,
Low self-esteem, etc.
Basic factors responsible for insomnia are as follows:
Disregard to positive food and overeating (particularly at night),
Excessive stimulation or depression (over-stimulation is always followed by depression),
Inability to relax,
Voluntary curtailment of sleeping time,
Very poor circulation of blood,
Constipation, indigestion or some digestive disorder.
What is the solution?
The cure lies in the removal of the cause. So let the sufferer not resort to any symptomatic remedies doled out by the "different healing systems".
The barbiturates (a class of sedative and sleep-inducing drugs derived from barbituric acid) usually recommended by allopaths for insomniacs have the following side effects:
a) These have an adverse effect on the vitamin 'D', metabolism, very much upsetting the general health of the individual.
b) These cause several biochemical and electro-physical changes in the brain tissue, resulting in memory impairment, failing mental powers leading to the confusion.
c) As there can be no drug or chemical that is entirely free from the risk of causing liver damage - so central is the role of the liver in the metabolism of foreign substances. The barbiturates may cause hepatitis (inflammation of the liver).
d) Barbiturates may cause skin diseases.
e) If anyone addicted to the use of barbiturates tries to stop using them, withdrawal symptoms would be there. Generally, 'fits' occurs at this stage.
f) The antidepressants and tranquilizers for certain type of insomnia cause nervous disability, acute urinary retention etc.
Let it be remembered that the sleep 'induced' by drugs is no sleep at all, it is just unconsciousness. The individual who uses any of these remedies can never feel fresh after his so-called sleep, cannot enjoy the 'Natural Happiness' as discussed earlier.
Let not the sufferer resort to "pincushion treatment", by which we mean acupuncture. The reason is that here too the cause is not attended to and hence the temporary cure can never be a radical one. The health level would not be raised this way.
How can nature cure help?
Besides taking care of mental causes, that is, removing negative emotions such as worry, fear, hatred, anger, bitterness, annoyance, nature cure methods of healing insomnia help in the overall healing of the individual.
Nature cure methods of healing insomnia which are in harmony with eternal natural laws are as below:
Positive Diet-: Normalize your nutrition. Eat sensibly, moderately, take predominantly positive food. Observe the principle of “Vital Economy”, both in regard to eating and in regard to every other aspect of your life that includes sensual pleasures that should be regulated. Excessive indulgence results in poor nervous system and health.
Fasting-: Fast occasionally, for a day or two. Fasting is one of the best ways to purify the system from within. Understand the rationale of fasting and fast according to hygienic principles.
Avoidance of all stimulants -: Keep away from refined, processed, canned and bottled foods. Do not use fried stale foods etc. Avoid the use of condiments, flesh, meat & poultry products. Remember "Let hunger be your spice". Give up tea, coffee, smoking, alcohol, etc.
Relaxation -: Master the art of relaxation. Relax yourself the right way. Remember that relaxation and stimulation are the opposite of each other. Have spinal baths regularly every day once or twice for 20-30 minutes. The spinal bath is a boon to all insomniacs & nervous wrecks.
Do some exercise daily: Walk 2-3 kms. in the morning depending upon the state of health you are in. Keep yourself as active as possible, physically and mentally, without tension. The sluggish ones, the shirking ones, the lazy ones do not sleep soundly.
Once or twice a day, and at night while retiring one should lie down on the bed or floor and do “SAVASASANA” to accomplish complete relaxation.
One of the characteristics of sleeplessness is anaemia of the brain, i.e., reduced blood supply to the brain. It is not the main reasons for sleeplessness but is one of the essential ones.
Use of enema -: Non-violent enema will help the patient to clear the colon to some extent. This should be tried to free oneself of some of the clogged matter and constipation. This may help you to sleep somewhat better.
The bedding should be firm if not hard. Spring and sponge mattresses are highly undesirable as the body sinks out of alignments. High pillows caused tension in the neck muscles and impede blood circulation to the head, hence they are to be avoided. Bedding should be light; commensurate with the needs of the climate. The face should not be covered and there should be free ventilation in the sleeping room.
Minimize viewing T.V., watching videos, staying glued to laptop and mobile screens. Younger generation is using these gadgets unnecessarily for frivolous activities which should be completely avoided.
Face the problems of life, face them in a fair manner, develop confidence in your capabilities to face them, improve your real personality. Conduct yourself in such a way that you keep calm and stay in the state of tranquillity all the time. Without mental hygiene, one cannot keep healthy. The individual can also benefit from non-violent pranayama and air bath.
Importance of a Guru and prayer
In quite some cases there may be psychological factors causing insomnia. Some might have been affected by factors like loss of a job, financial crisis, departure (or death) of a loved one etc.
Some others might have been afflicted by loneliness and might have developed despondency. It may be difficult for such patients to help themselves, as in most cases their mental health may be at a low ebb. He should seek the guidance of a true friend or a Guru, who would lovingly help him to restore his mental health by guiding him in the right manner.
Last but not least, combine the daily prayer with the methods suggested above. Prayer done sincerely every day, morning & evening, combined with the adoption of prayerful living (which means adopting nature cure in daily life), is what will help the individual in achieving a peaceful state of mind.
He can enjoy good sleep every day and lead a long and healthy life.
(About V.S.Pawar: I am a 72-year-old veteran practising pure nature cure for 45 years.M.I.I.N.T (1980) certified. I lead a healthy life free from any disease and share my knowledge with others freely. Read more on:
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