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What Is Sleep and Why Is It So Important?
Sarah: I have been trying to understand the teachings on the deep sleep state, as I have had a problem sleeping since very young and nothing seems to help. Since Vedanta became the most important thing to me, I have been totally dedicated to self-inquiry and my sadhana, but sleep has gotten worse, not better. Can you explain what sleep is and why we need to sleep?
Sundari: Sleep is an interesting topic, and insufficient or poor sleep plagues many people. In some parts of the world, especially in the U.S. and other first-world countries, insomnia has become an epidemic. The causes of insomnia are many and usually complicated. It could be a physiological reason, like the lack of certain nutrients (see more on this at the end of this article), lack of exercise, sunshine or an unhealthy diet; it could be a medical reason, like adrenal or thyroid gland malfunction, heart, kidney or musculoskeletal and kidney problems, among others; it could be situational – how you live and work, where and when you sleep; it could be neurological or the result of mental health problems. Or any combination of these factors.
Most often, the reason for lack of sleep is psychological – usually the result of too much rajas – stress, anxiety, worry, anxiety over results, the perpetual doer syndrome. Sleep is a particular kind of tamasic thought which we need to cultivate, but too much tamas in the form of depression, guilt and other deeply negative states of mind can also be the reason for lack of sleep. Although wanting to sleep all the time is often a sign of depression (tamas), lack of sleep also causes depression (more tamas) in a vicious cycle, just like excess rajas builds on itself to create more rajas, which can spiral out of control. Additionally, insomnia can be the side effect of too much sattva or shakti. When the mind is extremely “high” and clear, it can be difficult to sleep. Sattvic types are often addicted to the feeling of experiential bliss brought on by spiritual experiences like meditation or epiphanies. They like to be high on knowledge for knowledge’s sake, which is not necessarily an aid to self-inquiry. We call this the “golden cage of sattva,” and if one is identified with sattva, it binds as much as rajas and tamas. When the mind is controlled by rajas or hooked on sattva it rejects tamas like the plague. Highly rajasic and sattvic types tend to hate tamas because they feel it as an alien, heavy, oppressive energy.
Lack of sleep is a form of torture; in fact sleep deprivation is and has been used effectively as torture through the ages. Persistent lack of sleep is so detrimental psychologically, emotionally and physically that it can cause damage to our DNA. Good sleep is necessary to repair of the body, and lack of it raises the risk factors for just about every disease as it affects our immune system, among other physiological and neurological functions. It precipitates aging and also makes us prone to loss of memory, emotional problems and accidents because the mind cannot function properly without enough sleep. The typical lifestyle today is highly rajasic, extroverted, desire- and results-based, stressed (and depressed) producing the “wired but tired” syndrome.
We advise people who have serious problems sleeping to encourage the sleep thought/feeling (cultivating tamas) by curtailing rajasic activities and food towards evening, to slow down, avoid computer work or watching stimulating movies or videos on a computer a few hours before bedtime. Meditation, quietening the mind or even just sitting quietly or listening to very soft, sattvic music helps too. At the end of this article I give a meditation that came to me as a visualization for sleep and it works like a charm for me, but one has to be consistent in the practice.
If either too much sattva or too much rajas is the problem and none of the above suggestions work, take the last resort and eat something tamasic, watch a boring movie or a documentary (on a big screen, if possible) that does not intellectually stimulate the mind. I love nature documentaries, but I find they work well to encourage tamas when my mind cannot sleep. Often nothing seems to work, but as with every other issue in the apparent reality, knowledge is the answer. If the mind is too sattvic, too rajasic or too tamasic and can’t sleep, you need to do inquiry into the physiological, psychological or lifestyle issues underpinning the problem and make lasting changes. There is no way around this. I have provided a fairly comprehensive list of dos and don’ts at the end of this article.
The Three States – No Real Day or Night for the Self
A very good practice if you have a chronic insomnia problem (and not just the occasional bad night) is to make a point of encouraging and allowing the feeling of sleep whenever it arises in the mind. Obviously, it will not always be possible or convenient to indulge the feeling, but if your lifestyle allows it, sleep when the sleep thought/feeling arises, do not suppress it! This builds a tendency ( vasana) for sleeping, which is one you definitely want to have. James has had this policy basically his whole life, he never resists sleep unless it is impossible to sleep, like when he is teaching. His motto is “Obey your tamas!” The problem with highly rajasic types is that they just cannot let go, their doership is so engrained, so driven and so manic that when the sleep thought arises they automatically and unconsciously suppress it, without even noticing that this is what they do. Highly rajasic types have such a fear of missing out, of not achieving what they want to achieve, of not getting what they want, they will drive themselves literally into the ground. A long or peaceful life is not a likely outcome.
If this is true for you, the ego will not like hearing this! What this may require for you (which is how James relates to life), is to drop the concept of “night and day” and replace it with the three states: waking, dreaming, sleeping. Those are the only three states available to the jiva. What does it matter when they are experienced? There is no law that says you have to sleep only when it is night-time. Our bodies are genetically wired to sleep when we are tired, but modern day life and the work ethic has made us all into zombies, chasing objects to make us happy. On top of that our sedentary indoor lifestyles are not conducive to good sleep. From what research reveals about our Paleolithic ancestors, it is believed that they probably had good lives. Yes, they had to forage for food and avoid being eaten by wild animals, but overall, the evidence suggests that they worked very little and slept a lot more than we do. The hardwired and puritanical belief that you are lazy and a no-good if you sleep in the day is nonsense. We should follow the lead of the Latin countries and bring back the siesta! What we do instead is self-medicate with pills, “recreational” drugs, TV, alcohol, coffee, sugar (as in sweets foods and carbs) and all the many weapons of mass distraction provided by the entertainment industry.
Some of us, myself included, prefer being awake in the day and sleeping at night; my biorhythms work better being in sync with the natural circadian rhythms. Many of us who work in the day have no option but to sleep only at night. However, if you can sleep in the day, it is possible to develop a habit ( vasana) to do so. Remember the power nap! Why has that gone out of fashion? I have sporadic sleeplessness due to an old neck injury and changing environments/time zones, which is the result of constant travel. We all can benefit from encouraging and developing the sleep thought/feeling, but if your problem is chronic lack of sleep, this is especially important. You need to encourage the sleep-thought as much as you can, wherever and whenever possible. If your guna profile is predominantly rajasic or sattvic, make friends with tamas – in fact see it as your best friend!
What Is Sleep?
Deep sleep is a state where you, consciousness/awareness, is identified with the sleep state (causal body); it is awareness experiencing its own nature or bliss in the form of a very special thought. We cannot experience without a thought, so there has to be a particular kind of subtle thought present, a vritti (called prajna) that makes falling asleep and sleeping possible. Sleep is a feeling that is always accompanied with a thought. I call it the sleep-thought, but it is as much a feeling as a thought. There is a reason we call it “falling” asleep because in order to sleep the mind must surrender the subtle body to Isvara, the causal body. Prajna, the sleep-thought, may be present when we need it, but it is often ignored if there is either too much tamas (anxiety about one’s depression or negativity), too much rajas or too much sattva present to obscure it. If we bring attention to the gunas and how they operate in the mind, we can manage them and encourage enough tamas to bring sleep by suppressing rajas and sattva. Rajasic and sattvic thoughts take us away from sleep, and tamasic thoughts take us towards it.
Identification with pranja, the deep sleep entity or the deep sleep thought, produces the bliss we experience in deep sleep. Bliss is the nature of the self, and we experience it in deep sleep because the deep sleep state is free of desires (vasanas) and objects of desire. Deep sleep is the absence of mental activity. The mind (subtle body) is not present, because it is one with the bliss of undifferentiated consciousness. Your gross body is also not present (for you) in deep sleep, although it is visible to others who are not sleeping. The person you think you are, the waking state entity, is not present in deep sleep. It is not aware of the body, the mind, sleep or consciousness in deep sleep. Only you, consciousness, are present, experiencing the bliss of your nature reflected in the causal body, the sleep state. You enjoy the absence of objects and limitlessness, but without knowledge.
Sleep Is Defined by the Absence of Objects
The objects present in deep sleep are ignorance and the absence of objects, which are experienced and known through inference when the deep sleeper merges to become the waking state entity, and the bliss ends. Prajna means “almost enlightened” because it experiences the limitlessness and the bliss of awareness, but lacks knowledge of what it is experiencing because the intellect is not present. The subtle body, or microcosmic causal body (subconscious), which seems to belong to the jiva (although it really belongs to Isvara) and produces the jiva’s karma, “disappears” into the macrocosmic causal body, or the deep sleep state. It is the same for everyone. The macrocosmic causal body is another name for Isvara. It is pure tamas.
Dreamless sleep is also known as the bliss sheath, ananda-maya-kosha. In moments where there seems to be no doer/experiencer, there is a witness present (you) who knows the joy/bliss. If not, how would the jiva or deep sleeper know joy/bliss was there in the first place? How can the jiva say that it did not know anything while it was asleep unless awareness was there to witness the absence of knowledge? Therefore the deep sleeper cannot be the lack of knowledge or ignorance, i.e. the experiencing entity.
Many inquirers get confused, reasoning that because the subtle and gross bodies are not present in deep sleep, and you cannot remember what you don’t experience, there is no experience taking place in deep sleep. But the causal body is present, so experience is taking place. If consciousness is not present, the body would die and you would not know that you don’t remember. Memory, like ignorance or knowledge, is an object known to you, consciousness/awareness.
Tamoguna (Tamas) and the Doer
Deep sleep is the presence of tamoguna alone. Rajoguna and sattvaguna are dormant, which is why to sleep we must “find the tamas-thought.” Rajasic and sattvic thoughts point to the world, tamas points to sleep. The ego, or “I-sense” (ahamkara) belongs to the subtle body, but because the subtle body is not present to be conditioned in deep sleep, there is no sense of individuality, which is a great relief for the mind. Sleep replenishes, refreshes and repairs the gross body and enlivens the subtle body, which is why it is so vital for psychological and physical health. Sleep is a gift from Isvara, as it gives the mind a break from desire, the vasanas and the sense of samsara, the hypnosis of duality and doership. Even a short period of sleep deprivation is detrimental; lack of sleep is cumulative and very hard to remedy. It exhausts the mind, making it too dull (tamasic) for self-inquiry.
The Doer Never Sleeps
Many people unconsciously resist sleep because the ego does not want to let go, so it “tries” to sleep. The interesting thing about sleep is that you can’t try to sleep, because the very act of sleeping is surrendering the doer – in this case, the one trying to sleep. The doer, like the body, is not really conscious, so does not sleep. It appears to be conscious because the light of awareness shines on it. The only way to sleep is for the mind to lock onto the tamas-thought and let go of the doer. When the mind is asleep, there is no doer, but it is clear that consciousness is still there or the body would be dead. Who or what is keeping the body breathing, digesting, blood circulating, etc. while it is asleep? Isvara – consciousness. As mentioned above, sleep, the causal body, can only be entered if the microcosmic causal body (subtle body) is surrendered to the macrocosmic causal body, Isvara.
Karma Yoga and Guna Management
Good sleep depends on guna management. If we do not manage the gunas correctly during the day, we will not sleep well. There are many things we can do to overcome sleep problems, but the main solution to insomnia is to cultivate tamas and of course apply karma yoga. The desire for sleep is the problem, and the anxiety that builds up because of not sleeping simply compounds the problem. Getting more uptight and stressed because you can’t sleep is clearly not conducive to sleeping or peace of mind. If sleep eludes you no matter what you try, there is nothing to do but accept the situation with equanimity, while committing yourself to make lasting changes to your lifestyle and a firm commitment to resolve all binding psychological issues. Although there are chemical solutions to insomnia, such as sleeping pills, this is a course of action that should only be taken as a very last resort or as a temporary measure. Dependence on chemicals to sleep soon becomes a binding vasana and when this happens it is very difficult, if not impossible, to resolve the underlying reason from the insomnia.
The Endless List of Things to Do
The perpetual doer has a never-ending list of things it needs to accomplish. If you want to sleep well, your lifestyle must be such that whatever is on your list for that day should not be more than you can accomplish in one day. When that list is complete you should not add one more thing to it. This is not an easy habit to cultivate for highly rajasic doer types, but it can be done with vigilance and determination. What price peace of mind? Rajas is like a wild horse. If you want to train it, you must be patient, diligent and highly motivated. If you don’t, it will run your life and run away with it. It is a like a big fat rat full of desire, sitting on top of you, always gnawing away, always hungry, always dissatisfied.
Vedanta says that sleep is the result of good ( punya) karma. If rajasic thoughts consume the mind and emotions, we will not be able to follow dharma, which means we are not doing the appropriate actions or living the kind of life conducive to peace of mind. Dharma is not practiced if we cannot rein in our desires and projections that manifest as obsessive behaviour, of whatever kind. Sometimes the inability to sleep is the result of deeply buried and unresolved psychological issues (pratibandikas or samskaras) that are the result of karma from “previous” lives, carried over through the subtle body into this incarnation. The causal body contains a backlog of rajas that causes huge pressure in the mind and must be balanced if peace of mind or moksa is our main aim. It is not your fault; you did not make yourself like this, so don’t beat yourself up.
Or it could also be that the mind is agitated with guilt, shame or worry over things we have or have not done that we know are not dharmic. Even sattvic behaviour can become obsessive. Whatever the case may be, unconscious content will fructify when the time is ripe; Isvara makes sure of that.
Fear of Death or “Nothingness”
Inability to sleep can also be caused by the unconscious fear of death, especially as we get older. Sleep is like a mini death, in a way, which is why the ego often resists it. It is ultimately about surrender, loss of control. The ego is a fear-thought born of the belief in separation, and sleep requires the ego to give up its attachments to objects, mainly its identity. Sleep is like nothingness; it is unknown and unknowable. But the ego must let go or sleep does not come.
Unconscious Fears and Desires
Another big (and very common) issue is “free-floating anxiety,” a by-product of very deeply rooted samskaras which have their origin in fear. This universal fear, as do all fears, originates in macrocosmic tamas and rajas. It is not specific to anyone but it feels like it is. This fear is the “wound of humanity,” as I sometimes call it. It is the king of all vasanas, also called primordial beginningless ignorance, another name for maya. If self-knowledge is not firm, it causes a non-specific unnamed existential fear or dread. It is the fear that causes knots in the solar plexus. It is the fear of “being and becoming.” This unnamed fear propels the mind to make us be something or do actions that are not true to who we are, our svadharma, making us feel inadequate, incompetent and unworthy. It often manifests as panic attacks and other serious mental disturbances. The Christians call it “original sin.” It is always present, yet hidden in the causal body, and looks for objects to attach to (rajas/tamas). It is the ultimate experience of duality, or “otherness.” And its favourite time to make an appearance is night-time when we are “in the dark” and negative thoughts tend to loom larger than life.
Anxiety Over Results and the Perfection Vasana
Anxiety over the fruits of action is another issue which is rarely dealt with and it is often a cause of bad sleep. People who have strong perfection vasanas (very strong likes and dislikes) and need things to be their way to be satisfied or happy often have a hard time with sleep. Karma yoga is very difficult for them to practise, even if they may know intellectually that only Isvara is in charge of results, not the jiva. This kind of mind has a neurotic need for order and gets distressed if it cannot achieve it, whether at home, work or in one’s personal environment. It has an obsessive, atavistic need for control, which can sometimes be masked by sweetness and (seemingly) sattvic activities like yoga, tai chi, meditation, etc. or even attachment to informal behavioural sciences, like astrology, the enneagram or traditional psychological therapies. I think most of us have experienced professional (or so-called professional) “life coaches,” who are themselves in dire need of life coaching!
If your lifestyle is too rajasic for whatever reason, you will always be worrying about what is happening, hasn’t happened, is going to happen, might or might not happen now, tomorrow or whenever. Anxiety goes into the unconscious where it remains and arises to disturb you most when you should be sleeping. It builds up too, from day to day. Unless we can practise karma yoga in all areas of life, surrendering the results of action to Isvara, taking one day at a time and seeing it as complete, no matter what has happened or not happened, good sleep is much less likely.
Practical Solutions to Insomnia
1. The tamas-thought: Most important, encourage the sleep-thought! Find the tamas-thought and lock onto it. Let all other thoughts slide away. Make a point of tracking tamas when it pops up in the day as the sleep-thought. Observe the mind as it habitually ignores it or suppresses it, and make a vow to stop doing this. Sleep when you can, if only for a few minutes; forget about the time of day. Develop a sleep vasana!
2. Reduce stress!: I have repeated this throughout this satsang, as it is the most important issue with regards to sleeping well. All types of negative emotions, like worry, fear, anxiety, depression, guilt, etc. can keep you up at night. Stress tops the list when it comes to pinning down the cause of insomnia and other sleep disturbances. A balanced sattvic lifestyle is essential for sleep as it is for peace of mind. The critical concept here is acute versus chronic stress. We are genetically wired for dealing with acute (brief/infrequent) stress, such as fight-or-flight activity, which makes use of glucose and fat released from the liver. Our bodies are not well suited or adapted to the stresses of modern day life. While the era of technology has ushered in a host of advantages for us, overall we have paid a big price in terms of our physical and mental health.
3. The modern stresses we deal with today in our “must have,” desire-driven societies are cumulative and deadly. When the body is subjected to chronic stress it releases the hormone cortisol – which is the hormone equivalent of pure, unadulterated rajas. It’s like pure alcohol that produces an immediate hit but the long- and short-term price is high. The more stressed we get, the more stressed we get. Abnormally high cortisol affects sleep, which produces more cortisol, on and on in a vicious never-ending cycle. It’s called a “feed forward” mechanism in biology. The health consequences of this spiral are a suppressed immune system, chronically elevated blood sugar levels, decreased insulin sensitivity, impaired memory and decreased sexual dive – the list is long. Rajas is no joke. Many people feel so trapped by their karma that they normalize the abnormal and keep acting out insane lifestyles. Because most rajasic types are bored and addicted to stress they seek out activities, people, places, TV, music, entertainment – anything that keeps the mind extroverted and agitated.
4. A healthy diet: Make sure you eat a balanced diet with lots of fresh vegetables (some fruit, not too much; berries are best), enough healthy fats (coconut, olive oil, organic butter), not too much protein (if you are vegan you need to be sure you are getting enough protein from good sources), greatly reduced sugar intake and elimination of all processed foods. Do not eat too much or too little. Research has come up with conclusive evidence to suggest that an overall reduction of grains in our diet supports better health. We must work out for ourselves what works for us with regards to carbs, but the jury is not out on the detrimental effects of processed food, the need for the right amount of protein, fresh vegetables and healthy fats in our diet. It is truly amazing how little common sense many people have when it comes to connecting their health, sleep patterns and well-being to what and when they eat.
5. Exercise and standing: Moderate exercise, not too close to bedtime, is intelligent. The best mix is a variety of exercise, a little some days, a lot others and occasionally none. If you are killing yourself at the gym or wearing out the pavement with cycling or running, you are inviting ill health, injury and lack of sleep as much as if you sit all day and make sure the refrigerator is parked right next to your favourite TV armchair. Research has proved that we need to stand up as much as possible because for good health the body needs to contact gravity while vertical for all our physiological functions (circulation, digestion, blood pressure, etc.) to function optimally.
6. Meditate for 10 to 20 minutes before bedtime. It does not have to be “formal” meditation. Just sitting in silence, tuning in to the self, observing your thoughts will do.
7. A meditation that I find works wonders is to visualize the sleep-thought as the wise old man or woman that is waiting patiently and lovingly for you throughout the day. Say hello to them every so often as you spot them going about your business. (As I said above, it is often not appropriate to sleep when the tamas-thought pops up during the day, although if your lifestyle allows it, indulge in an afternoon or mid-morning nap). Flesh this visualization out by letting the wise elder instruct you that they are the sleep-thought, and they will guide you safely into depths of the Cave of the Causal Body. Look at them and lock on, don’t let go. When you are ready to sleep, the elder takes you by the hand, walks you carefully and gently into the cave, transitioning from light to dark. See this as an actual cave. Shed your shoes and any uncomfortable clothes at the entrance of the cave. Hold the hand of the wise person as they guide you into the growing darkness of the cave, until it is pitch black and you cannot see anything. Feel the safety of the space, the soft earth below your bare feet. Feel the ever-present self in the silence. Know it is you, watching out for you
8. Descend stairs, a ladder or an incline into the depths, all the while holding onto to the sleep-thought as it takes you deeper and deeper into the causal body. Remember, don’t let go! If the mind wanders, bring it back. Focus the mind on the old man or woman leading you, even if you can no longer see them. Let the sleep thought reassure you that all is well, you can relax in the silence and darkness, you are safe and protected by the self, your own true self. When you get to the “bottom” of the cave, you can lie down. Usually I fall asleep way before this. If you keep practising this, it works.
9. Listening to sleep music: Listening to subliminal music through headphones can be very helpful for some people. Subliminal music has positive messages programmed into it that operate below the level of consciousness. It puts the subconscious mind into a relaxed, open state and is a very effective way to reprogram the microcosmic causal body to bypass negative thought patterns, calm a highly extroverted rajasic mind and suppress an overly sattvic mind. It works the same way as hypnosis, but hypnosis is active whereas subliminal programming is passive. Another good source of sleep music is called “white noise,” which is any sound that masks a distraction but does not cause a distraction itself, like gentle ocean sounds, rain, wind, etc. It is sound that does not make the mind modify to any one sound (producing what are called delta waves) and puts the subconscious mind into a relaxed state, allowing tamas to obtain.
10. Avoid rajasic activities, people and food (like hot spicy food) some hours before bedtime. As I mentioned above, exercise at the right time of day is very beneficial to sleeping well but over-exercising at the end of the day is not.
11. Check your adrenals: Increased levels of stress hormones in your body can lead to a hyper-aroused state that makes it difficult to sleep. This condition can be inherited, but it is also the result of the typically rajasic lives so many people live. Get your adrenals checked out if you have difficulty sleeping, and pay attention because if you do permanent damage to them, you will have trouble with your health for the rest of your life.
12. Check your thyroid: An overactive thyroid gland (hyperthyroidism) can cause sleep problems. The disorder overstimulates the nervous system, making it hard to fall asleep, and it may cause night sweats, leading to night-time arousals. Feeling cold and sleepy at inappropriate times is a hallmark of an underactive thyroid too. Because thyroid function affects every organ and system in the body, the symptoms can be wide-ranging and sometimes difficult to decipher. Checking thyroid function requires only a simple blood test, so if you notice a variety of unexplained symptoms, ask your doctor for a thyroid test.
13. Eat some tamasic food (cheese works well) a few hours before bedtime, but no less than two hours before sleep for best results, although sometimes a midnight snack does the job when nothing else works. Drink a glass of wine, preferably red, with your meal, but not more than two small glasses. I know that drinking alcohol is taboo for many spiritual people, but a glass of red wine at the end of the day can be helpful for overly rajasic and sattvic types to give a signal to the brain (like a finish flag) that it is time to wind down activities and for tamas to take over.
14. Supplements: There are many studies that confirm the need for certain nutrients to sleep well. The main ones are:
Magnesium deficiency can cause insomnia. A solution is to take a good supplement with calcium, vitamin K2 and D for optimal absorption.
Lack of potassium can lead to difficulty staying asleep throughout the night. Potassium is an essential mineral “salt” that is sometimes referred to as the “good salt.” It’s most commonly known for its role in blood pressure regulation, and it works synergistically with magnesium to improve sleep, among other things. This combination may be of benefit if muscle cramps are keeping you awake.
Vitamin D deficiency has been linked to excessive daytime sleepiness. Although good supplementation works, spending 20 minutes in the sun is every day (or as often as possible) is optimal.
Vitamin B12: if you suffer from sleeping difficulties, research shows that taking vitamin B12 helps because it plays a vital role in melatonin production. Melatonin has been called “the sleep hormone” because it is responsible for letting you get a good night’s sleep. As you age, it becomes increasingly more difficult to get a good night’s sleep because your body becomes less efficient at making this hormone.
15. Keep your bedroom dark! Cover your windows with blackout shades or drapes to ensure complete darkness. Your bedroom should be as dark and silent as possible, and if it is not, invest in a good eye mask and earplugs. Even the tiniest bit of light in the room can disrupt your pineal gland’s production of melatonin and its precursor serotonin, thereby disrupting your sleep cycle. We have proteins called porphyrins that make up our red blood cells, and they register light, carrying this information to our brains. When there is too much light in a room at night, this information blocks the very important hormone/neurotransmitter and antioxidant melatonin.
16. Temperature: Make sure your bedroom is not too warm. Keep the temperature in your bedroom at or below 70 degrees F (21 degrees C). Many people keep their homes, and particularly their bedrooms, too warm. Studies show that the optimal room temperature for sleep is quite cool, between 60 to 68 degrees F (15.5 to 20 C). Keeping your room cooler or hotter can lead to restless sleep.
17. Check your bedroom for electromagnetic fields (EMFs). These can also disrupt your pineal gland’s production of melatonin and serotonin, and may have other negative effects as well. Modern day lifestyles are so contaminated with artificial light that our natural circadian rhythms are often disrupted.
18. Move alarm clocks and other electrical devices away from your head. If these devices must be used, keep them as far away from your bed as possible, preferably at least three feet. Reduce use of light-emitting technology, such as your TV, iPad, and computer, several hours before going to bed. These emit the type of light that will suppress melatonin production, which in turn will hamper your ability to fall asleep, as well as increase your cancer risk (melatonin helps to suppress harmful free radicals in your body and slows the production of estrogen, which can contribute to cancer). Ideally, you’ll want to turn all such light-emitting gadgets off at least one hour prior to bedtime. Don’t sleep with your computer or mobile phone plugged in next to the bed.
~ Love, Sundari