In my Bahá’í-inspired life coaching practice, I often meet people who are somewhat confused by the whole topic of sleep. It seems as though there is too much to do in any given day, and it’s hard for them to shut off at night. Sometimes people ask, how much sleep do I really need? The Bahá’í Writings teach:
Regarding your question: There are very few people who can get along without eight hours sleep. If you are not one of those, you should protect your health by sleeping enough. The Guardian himself finds that it impairs his working capacity if he does not try and get a minimum of seven or eight hours.(Shoghi Effendi, Lights of Guidance, p. 291)
So how do you stack up?
When you wake up, do you immediately look forward to going back to bed? When the alarm goes off does it seem as though you just closed your eyes? It’s time to get a good night sleep! After all, it’s amazing what a restful night’s sleep can do for your body.
Battling chronic exhaustion will either force you to find ways to get more rest or it’ll bring on ill health. Naturally, you’ll want to develop an effective sleep routine before your body forces you to rest!
Try some of these sleep tips so you can get a better night’s sleep and wake up feeling energized:
1.Make your bedroom your sanctuary. Keep your bedroom neat and quiet so you feel calm upon entering. Your bedroom needs to be a getaway from the stress of the day. When a TV is on, even if you aren’t watching it, the light output feels almost as great as the sun. This confuses your body and makes it hard to “shut down” even after you’ve turned off the screen.
·If you have a TV or a home office in your bedroom, it will interfere with your ability to go to sleep. Move the television out of the bedroom or at the very least, try placing a sheet over it so you’re not tempted to watch it before bed.
2.Keep your room dark. Your body is designed to sleep when it’s dark. If you’re not used to this, try it for a while anyway. Children are used to sleeping with a light on but you’ll soon realize that it’s a huge distraction in getting to sleep. Pull the curtains closed, turn off all the lights, shut your door, then sleep like you’re hibernating!
·Many stores sell “blackout” curtains that block out the sunlight so the room remains dark. Consider using these curtains to fully darken the room.
3. Exercise during the day. Exercising during the day releases stress hormones to help you feel more relaxed. Most forms of exercise will pep you up and give you more energy immediately afterwards so make sure you exercise well ahead of bedtime.
·The energy you receive from daytime exercise will give you more restful nights because your body will be less stressed and more relaxed. You’ll be giving your body a total makeover!
·Even though yoga is considered relaxing, it may keep you awake if done in the evening hours. Plan your exercise routine either in the morning or late afternoon.
4.Make yourself a bedtime routine. This doesn’t only work with kids. If you get in the habit of going to bed at a certain time, your body will expect to be sleeping. Some recommend milk right before bed, as it contains the sleep inducing chemical tryptophan.
·Create a bedtime routine that involves things that make you tired, such as soft music, a warm shower, light reading material, or journaling.
·Television stimulates the mind too much, which can cause difficulty sleeping. Try recording your favorite nighttime TV shows to watch the next day, rather than staying up late.
5.Leave daytime stress outside. In order to rest, you’ll want to put aside things that keep your mind whirling. By keeping a calendar of things to do the next day, you can put your mind to rest.
·Make sure you’ve dealt with all the questions that keep you awake – what bills need to be paid, what time the doctor appointment is, and so on, before you lay down. This frees you up for sleep.
6. Say a prayer and read the Bahá’í Writings. Exposing your mind to the word of God as the last thing you do before going to sleep, will protect you for the night and set you up for a good night’s sleep. The Bahai Writings teach:
Recite ye the verses of God every . . . eventide.Were a man to read a single verse with joy and radiance it would be better for him . . . Lay . . . upon your souls that which will lighten and uplift them, so that they may soar on the wings of the Divine verses towards the Dawning-place of His manifest signs; this will draw you nearer to God, did ye but comprehend.(Baha’u’llah, The Kitab-i-Aqdas, p. 73)
This is one of my favorites:
O Lord, I have turned my face unto Thy kingdom of oneness and am immersed in the sea of Thy mercy. O Lord, enlighten my sight by beholding Thy lights in this dark night, and make me happy by the wine of Thy love in this wonderful age. O Lord, make me hear Thy call, and open before my face the doors of Thy heaven, so that I may see the light of Thy glory and become attracted to Thy beauty. Verily, Thou art the Giver, the Generous, the Merciful, the Forgiving. (Baha’i Prayers, p. 60)
Once you’ve learned to rest well at night, you’ll experience a huge improvement in your quality of life. No more yawning through the mornings and the groggy, grumpy you will be replaced with an energetic person ready to take on life.
So what are you waiting for? Start a relaxing bedtime routine tonight and wake up feeling refreshed tomorrow!
What helps you sleep better?Post your comments here: