Getting Sacred Sleep
Sleep has always been a number one priority for me, and I do mean always. At preschool age, I know I was not that child jumping on the parents’ bed to wake them up asking for breakfast, because I remember imploring my mom for more time upon being woken by her on the weekends. I also recall a slumber party at age thirteen, where my two girlfriends and I slept in my bed. During the night, the mattress had gotten knocked off balance and one side slipped down through the frame causing the three of us to tumble down onto the floor. While they giggled at the abrupt sleep interruption, I furiously yanked up my blankets, crawled up and tried to find a way to lay back on the angled mattress since I was unable to lift it back in place. I yelled at my friends to go out into the living room if they were going to keep laughing like idiots. Absolutely not my finest or most gracious moment, but I think the story gets my point across on the importance of my sleep time.
So, why do I feel sleep is so imperative? Let’s start with what I think is the most important, scientifically proven fact: sleep heals. A quick Google search on this will pull up a plethora of studies proving this. I recently read an excellent book, My Stroke of Insight, by Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor. In it, Dr. Taylor (a Harvard-trained neuroanatomist) is emphatic about how important sleep was to her brain healing from a massive stroke. A stroke is a catastrophic health anomaly that many people will be lucky enough to never experience, so if sleep can be so deeply beneficial for something that significant, I am sure you can connect the dots to how great it is for basic illnesses and mental health.
The next reason for my passion for sleep is what I intuitively know to be true: sleep connects us to our higher conscious (or subconscious, but I don’t like that word as to me it implies it is less significant than being conscious) which enables us to effortlessly connect to other realms. Yes, other realms, and I use this word so to speak, but you can feel free to call it whatever makes you feel all warm inside. Am I going too far out there for you?
Most people find it difficult or simply cannot recall their dreams. Most people also cannot recall their previous lives due to passing through what many call a ‘veil’. The veil blocks you from remembering your other lives so that you may learn from new experiences. So, you’ve passed through a veil for your current life, and your dreams are all but locked away in your higher conscious. Is this one and the same?
There are people who can consciously access the aforementioned realms through proper education and with dedicated practice, but everyone is gifted with the ability to dream – whether you remember them or not you still benefit from this gift. For example, popular advice tells us to “sleep on it” when struggling with a decision. This didn’t become a damn near cliché for no reason, because more often than not, you wake with a solution. Well, you didn’t come up with the answer before you went to sleep and were conscious, but you had it after being in your higher conscious state.
I am lucky enough that I don’t always have trouble recalling my dreams. I adore the worlds I get to visit and the crazy adventures I go on. Over the years I have learned what works best for my body and have developed a whole process to help me obtain sleep, reach my beloved dream state, and (to the best of my ability) recall those wonderful dreams. I have learned that my body requires a minimum of 8.5 hours of sleep in a 24-hour period (even though I prefer 9.5-11 hours and only occasionally get that much on the weekends). I always take my showers in the evening after work. I feel it is important to wash the day off of me so as to not be rolling around in it all night.
Although I am married and have a bed partner, I’ve discovered that having another’s energy around me drastically disturbs my ability to sleep. To prevent this from being a problem, we each have our own comforters, and I’ve built a pillow & blanket wall between us which helps me to feel as though I am in my own little sleeping pod. I use ear plugs and have a box fan that runs year-round to keep sounds from rousing me.
To assist with dream recollection, when I awaken I do my best to remain in the between state of awake and asleep by lying still and going back through what memories are still dancing in my head. When I have a good grasp on them, I will then get up and jot them down if I need to. When I have a dream that makes me feel strong emotions, I don’t let it go right away, I will hold onto it throughout the day and daydream with it. I will analyze it, see if I pulled it from something that had happened during my waking hours in the most recent days, and if not, I will see what there is to learn from it or what message needs to be taken. To me, sleep and dreams are sacred events, and frankly, I truly believe everyone should treat them as such.
There are so many ideas, suggestions, and differing points of view on the topic of sleep. The thing is, they are likely all accurate. They just aren’t all accurate for everyone. If you are struggling with sleep you should study, experiment, and keep an open mind. Try lots of things and different combinations, you should be able to know and/or intuitively discern what will and won’t work for you. If you come across something that gives you pause, try it. If it works, great, if not, move on. That is actually great advice for pretty much everything else in life, including relationships, diet, and religion – but, alas, those are rabbit holes for different articles.