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Why You Don’t Go To Sleep & Why That Might Be What Sends Your Health In A Parallel Universe
This is a post that aims to bring you back to yourself, through bringing you and your health in the same universe, or at least closer.
You might think sleep is strange and unnecessary, and it’s no wonder, since not even scientists can agree on its importance. Nonetheless, you should listen to your body when it asks for sleep. Sleep is vital. Nothing that’s alive ever made it without it. Maybe not sleep, but some kind of down time. This amazing vessel we express through needs that well deserved break.
Don’t deny it to yourself to experience life through all your senses and beyond. Lack of sleep influences that capacity of perception. But that’s only the beginning. Your health becomes exposed and your decision making suffers. Don’t let it become too late before you give it the attention it deserves.
I know peer pressure is real, so know that those who say you can or should skip sleep are probably very lucky fellows with very strong genes, or highly caffeinated people, who need to hear themselves saying that aloud, so that they motivate themselves not to hide under the desk for a nap.
It’s no secret that I have a passion for sleep, and I can vouch for its effectiveness, when done properly. I am simply not myself if I don’t get my rest. I’m sure it has something to do with my bile, which is a tad smaller, so my liver can’t process at standard capacity, but even so, I’m writing this because I know for a fact too many people out there put so much strain on their livers and lives, more than the amount caused by a slight design flaw in the body. Unfortunately, most of us don’t get even the standard version of it, and maybe they get to the optimal amount and quality twice a year.
This post may not resonate much with those under a blissful 20 to 25. I was once that age, I know you can’t give sleep the proper attention. You just can’t. You’re beautiful, on a verge of so many things at once, probably madly in love, and your metabolism still has that inertia from when it worked at its highest rates. I wouldn’t expect you to go to bed at 11 PM. That’s when you arrive at the club. And you still need to go meet with some people after…
But there is chance you need this already, and also, if at any point in time you need some sleep motivation, you can find it here.
I’m not going to tell you how many hours of sleep you should get. Everyone has his/her perfect number. What I want to ask you is when are you going to sleep and how is that working out for you?
There is a reason why going to bed anytime between 9 to 11 PM is recommended, and that’s because you shouldn’t stay up too long after the Sun sets. The side of the planet you’re on has finished its energy intake and exchange rituals, and has ended its highest productivity time period. Now it all settles down and so should you. Your internal organs know that and they start doing the tidying up work, so that’s when you should help them, or in better words, let them do their work, instead of refusing them this much needed break.
The post is 11 points long, they are edited, but the order it’s not; that’s how they came to me and that probably has a reason. Not all things apply to everyone, but if you find just one that makes you go to sleep a bit earlier today, this post has served its purpose.
1. Too much caffeine from coffee, green tea and black tea, energizers and stimulants:
Coffee can be a wonderful thing for you, but it goes from being your best friend in the morning, to a shady one in the afternoon, and a dangerous one in the evening. Unless you’re at your birthday party or at the New Year’s Eve party, you’re better off without it after 2 PM, or 5 PM the latest.
Green tea is probably the number one drink to benefit your health, but because it does contain caffeine also, it’s recommended in moderate doses through the day, and certainly not after 4 or 5 PM.
Black tea has the highest caffeine percentage of all teas, so you might want to have coffee or black tea, in the morning only, but not both in the same day.
Energizers are a modern invention with high health costs in the long run. They are filled with artificial ingredients, so after that sugar rush and strong caffeine or caffeine surrogate injection, you’ll end up even more tired, and your liver, digestive system, and blood flow, will have all types of byproducts to manage from metabolizing them. I personally can’t even stand the smell of an energizer, and I prefer getting a natural Vitamin C fix, from a big glass of home made lemonade, or fresh orange juice, than ever drinking that stuff.
Other stimulants, liquid or solid form, pills, energy bars or other complex, man made stimulants rarely contain organic and beneficial ingredients, and I would think twice before having them.
2. Too much sugar and too many fats:
You have to consider that anything after two or three teaspoons of sugar daily, along with processed foods, and foods that contain fat and protein combos in a high amount, become harder to process, the later you have them in the day. Besides giving you a short sensation of comfort, they don’t do much for your nutrient intake and burden your liver unnecessarily. Your body tries to break down every chemical component they contain, so you’ll feel tired and in a state of constant restlessness for many hours, without really knowing why. At the end of your day, you’ll be doubling the tiredness, but paradoxically, will have a harder time falling asleep.
3. Inertia from your day:
The momentum created by whatever you were working on during the day is normal. It’s natural that it will subside gradually, and only if you plan ahead, by setting a time on which you stop to-do-ing and start relaxing. Your body needs that transition, so it can catch up with the present. The vicious cycle goes like this: you can’t get up early, and you start your tasks later, don’t have much drive through anything, can’t be very productive for more than an hour or two, and then you feel disappointed you didn’t accomplish what you wanted out of your day, so you’ll try to make it up by staying up late. And the cycle continues the next day. Until you break that cycle by giving yourself the rest you need, and starting early one night, you’ll be stuck in this harmful and toxic pattern.
4. Fear of missing out:
If you’re alive in 2016, and you live in a city, anywhere around the world, and especially if you have an internet connection, you probably have this condition. There’s no escape from it, unless you become aware of it and work towards understanding where it comes from, why you feel it constantly, and why it’s not good for you.
There is so much information out there, the media compels you to better yourself even if you don’t need to, and then there is the need for daily outside validation. Because you see everyone doing so many things, you are incessantly wondering if you have enough, do enough, are enough. Few of us are told that we are enough, and we ask that question through our actions, so that we can, pun intended, sleep at night. So stop that negative spiral right now and tell yourself this truth: you are enough. Right now, just the way you are. You are a work in progress and you never really get it done. There’s no such thing as perfect, because there is no end. Our very nature is to always transform, always expand and we have the ability to do it inside the positive spectrum. It’s something that’s built in our DNA.
Your power starts with the awareness of what the Self is and means. No one can take that away from you. There’s no amount of sleepless nights that you can do to prove you are worthy.
Doing that comes from fear is infinitesimal compared to doing that comes from love, and love always starts inside.
So, you’re not missing out anything, all that you need to know is coming to you in perfect order. How to know this? Listen. To your body and to your Self. When your body is tired, the translation is you’ll be missing something bigger unless you rest. Solutions seem to have this secret connection with sleep. They simply come easier the next day.
You don’t have to live your life like it’s the last day of your life, because that’s a very unhappy life. Your body can’t process your life in one day, or in one sleepless week.
Paradoxically, when you put a constant burden of sleeplessness on your body, that’s when you can’t focus, perceive or function well enough to process and enjoy the magic. There might be something that resembles magic in a caffeinated, overworked, super wired state, but that is a mere fable copy of a fully awakened, aware state. And you will last longer on the natural way of re-energizing.
5. Fear of losing/giving up control over things for a while:
I’m sure you heard the saying: ‘Relax, nothing is under control’. We are not more powerful if we try to win the sleep battle with our bodies. We are slowly depriving ourselves of the chance of giving our best.
We are obsessed with control. Even those who are far from a position of power suffer from trying to win against entropy. It’s OK to let things disperse for a while, it’s OK not to control all of it, it’s simply OK to leave some room for life. When I see article headlines that let us know how many hours sleep “takes up” in a life time, I wonder what is the point of that? Are we machines? Do we want to become machines? No.
You are human and it’s OK to stay that way. Breaks, naps, sleep, are part of nature’s way to transform, to refuel, to prepare for a bigger comeback. We are newer with each day. Years wouldn’t mean that much in the negative sense if we would do life properly. Not sleeping actually accelerates the dissolution of the body.
This stigma attached to sleep, this erroneous labeling as laziness, is what keeps many of us in a state of constant fear of appearing human. Schedules, work ours, productivity – are necessary, but when did we start to make them more important than what human life needs to stay healthy and sane?
Instead of sleeping pills and energy pills, I wish we could see a non optional course explaining circadian rhythms on this planet. We are Sun beings. Vampires are fun, but see, they’re not human anymore, they can afford not to sleep at night. Unless they sleep twice as much during the day… I don’t know, I’m just guessing, I’m not a fan of those stories anyway. I like my men without red eyes and fangs.
And I like having coffee in the sunlight.
6. Fear of not being safe:
This seems to resemble the previous two, but is slightly different, in the sense that it’s an instinct related thing. This is a subconscious reflex we have inherited since prehistoric times, when we slept under the skies or under cave ceilings, or on high trees, lol, and we needed to be able to get up fast, in case of hungry, non human entities came to “visit”. So that’s normal in a way, and nowadays we have more modern predators also, that prey on the unsuspecting. But we live in social environments now, which tend to be in some ways, safer. Think about it this way: if you go to bed early, wouldn’t you be able to get up easier, and faster, and focus on whatever problem may arise during night hours, than if you were just be passing out from being way too tired, later in the night, and had to wake up suddenly? That is, if you do wake up. I for one, if I’m not in bed before 12, rest assured I won’t know what year this is if you woke me up around 3.
7. Not knowing that you can do a list of things for Tomorrow:
You might be surprised by this one. Or offended.
Of course this bit is not for those who are already control – organizing – binder freaks (yes, that was a Park and Rec. reference), but it’s for those who haven’t yet come to know the heavenly benefit of a notebook or of its digital equivalents.
I was saying this to myself whenever I needed to fall asleep quicker, and finally, at the end of last year, I made a post it and glued it to my bed. Because sometimes, if you see it in front of your very eyes, it’s much more effective than saying it in your mind only. If it works for me, it might work for you too.
Since there’s nothing you can do about it now, and that lovely Colombian elixir awaits for you at the very beginning of the next day, why not chill and write it all down, and you’ll pick it up where you left it with new, fresh energy, tomorrow?
You know those things you really want, and start working on them, and after you’re done you realize they ended up being so much better than the initial plan? What if you knew that by resting properly you can multiply that by 10? Or 20?
8. The magic of the new:
Not knowing that there is magic in the fresh energies of the morning, and that they are as powerful and delicious as the ones that you feel in the depths of the night, if not even more so.
9. When you’re out of touch:
Not being in touch with your body enough to respect its need for regular and at regular intervals rest, and not knowing sleep is a precious – not found anywhere else other than inside your body – way of rejuvenation and regeneration, may be what keeps you in that self sabotaging loop.
We are bombarded with information and studies about how flawed our bodies are, but how about getting to know its miraculous ways of functioning? How about its self healing abilities? Do wounds heal? Do most aches pass? When you do heal after a bigger issue, who did the healing, even if assistance was involved? It was you. What do you think that’s about? It’s this wonderful, complicated system that does so much on its own, we don’t even realize it, because well, we are born with it, and we don’t have to pay attention to it, unless it’s in trouble, right?
10. The unique relationship between a vital part of your body and sleep:
Standing in the way of a very close friendship between your liver and your sleep.
Science sometimes calls the liver “the second heart” of the body, and science is right. Your liver knows everything about you, from what you eat, drink, think about, feel about, to how much you sleep. And it doesn’t want much from you, just a fair chance to do his work properly, in the amount of time required for that. The more you cut the hours it needs, and then burden it with hard to process things – artificial stuff, alcohol, constant stress – the unhappier you’ll get. Happy liver, happy you.
Don’t go searching for a drug prescription, that will only give it more to process on top of everything. Allow it to perform its natural job. If you want to help it, add some herbal teas to your diet. And, did I say this? More sleep.
11. The main health benefits:
- Tension accumulated in the body subsides.
- Pressure normalizes, not only blood pressure, but pressure from all the tiny spaces inside your organs and bones, that make up your whole body.
- Blood flow normalizes.
- Cell reproduction is increased.
- Liver gets to finish the work is supposed to do.
- Data is being compartmentalized and organized in the brain.
- Skin, hair, nails, teeth get the proper time needed for regeneration.
- Your internal and external reproductive organs stay healthy, since tension that tends to build up in your middle section is being finally released during down time.
- You become immune to oxidative stress.
- Your spine stays healthy and flexible, because only when you’re lying down, the subtle tissue that protects it gets to regenerate properly (think about this: the first thing that the doctor prescribes when you have any back issues is bed rest).
- You will be less cranky or irritable, and you won’t be in need for “even you out” medication anymore.
- Your elimination processes will stabilize and improve, which in turn also lifts the stress from your endocrine system, so your hormones will not try to make up for all the tiny gaps in the normal flow of the body anymore. You get rid of toxins that otherwise stay trapped and sabotage your health, so you stop carrying around stuff you don’t need.
- Your digestive system will take in the nutrients when it’s supposed to, and it will not be doing overtime anymore.
- You’ll loose weight much faster.
- You’ll have true energy constantly, as opposed to spikes of it from stimulants, followed by severe drops.
- You’ll get more sun and make more natural vitamin D, which means better mood, better state of mind.
- Fatigue will be a thing of the past.
- Your sex drive will improve.
- You will find it easy to focus on tasks and you will enjoy everything more fully.
You will feel better, look better, function better.
So why would you deny that to yourself?