You know me. I like to discuss all kinds of weird esoterica, but then I’ll bypass the most basic tenets of health and well being under the assumption that you have these already.
A majority of people have trouble with sleep and I want to address this basic, but intensely important facet of life. Fortunately, Jim McElwee, the Rudolph Steiner of brainwave entrainment has taken care of this for me.
Below, Please find the three part series of his dissertation on sleep (with my personal embellishments) in order to help you maintain health and well being. Then later, we’ll talk more about the weird stuff with a clear mind. OK?
BTW: There’s a link to a free sample from the Unexplainable Store near the bottom of this post, before the web widgets, that is good until 3 October.
Today I’d like to explore a topic that is all too often ignored in our lives, but directly affects the quality of our happiness, memory, concentration, and general health. Sleep is often the first thing sacrificed in our struggle with stress.
A shocking statistic by the nonprofit Better Sleep Council revealed that 65% of those studied did not receive adequate sleep due to stress alone. When we take into consideration caffeine intake, environmental factors such as noise, and general discomfort the statistics are even more staggering.
Importance of Sleep
The truth is, sleep is just as important as breathing or eating when it comes to our survival. Asthma sufferers often relate how desperate their bodies feel when they are not receiving enough oxygen. The stress on the body felt due to insomnia is very similar, though unlike asthma it feels less urgent. This quiet desperate fatigue lasts for hours and sometimes weeks if you aren’t getting the right quality of sleep. Some people forget entirely what it feels like to be refreshed.
Sleep actually does more than rejuvenate our minds. All stages of cancer are fought as cells repair DNA and defenses are bolstered to terminate possibly malignant cells. Minor scrapes and wounds on the outside of the body regenerate, but more importantly internal wearing on the organs and muscles heal during this time as well. The body needs this in order to survive long-term, meaning there is no alternative to a good night’s sleep.
Proper Sleep Entrainment
Because so much of our thinking is long term now, we spend an inordinate amount of time worrying about the future. This worry is not part of the body’s natural state. The goal of our entrainment therapy is to take the body from this unnatural state into the pre-stages of sleep which cannot be ignored.
Our entrainment tools have been specially designed to guide the brain, letting it coast from the alpha down through theta and finally arriving at the much sought after delta brainwave pattern that soothes you to sleep. If you want to know what the perfect night’s sleep feels like, you can find our entrainment tools like the Sleep Isochronic Package.
Establish a Regular Sleep Pattern
But there are some important tips to remember while using these recordings. On weekends we’re tempted to stay up late if we have nowhere to be in the morning. Instead, try to make sure you go to bed at the same time every night. This helps ensure your circadian rhythm (your day/night sleep cycle) is never confused or disrupted. Take some time before you go to sleep to perform your nightly “winding down” rituals.
Establish a Relaxing Ritual
It’s important not to watch tv less than a half hour before actually going to sleep as television perks your brain into an alert yet passive state, and can also have a negative effect on dreams. A lot of worrying just after going to bed comes from transitioning from a stressful state to a sleeping state too quickly. Wind down with a book, some relaxing music, or a pleasant no stress conversation.
Establish a Healthy Diet
It’s important to monitor your diet too. We’ll cover this more in-depth in the future, but it’s worth noting here that caffeine will last in your body far longer than you might think. An afternoon cup of coffee may rob you of sleep several hours later, and affect the quality as well.
I hope you enjoyed our introductory guide to a better night’s sleep. Next, we take a closer look at sleep induction techniques such as breathing and positioning. Did you know there is actually a cardinal direction that you should face for a good night’s sleep?
Establish a Healthy Physical Fitness Regimen
Here’s one that Jim missed. Even for people who are infirmed, it’s important to have some kind of fitness regimen to keep the blood/oxygen circulating in order to remove toxins from the body and keep all the organs healthy.
People with a regular exercise regimen’s have an easier time to fall asleep since the body craves sleep in order to rejuvenate tissues; it’s also easier for people who are physically fit to maintain regular, peaceful sleeping patterns and remember their dreams.
Athletic people are particularly good at visualizing and following through with a plan because their minds are so clear from the excellent circulation, but anyone can have visual clarity (in the mind’s eye) and good memory with regular exercise.
Body Position to Entrain Sleep
Sleep is one of the most important activities you can engage in to maintain and ensure proper health and functioning in both the mind and body. It is essential you not only get enough sleep, but that you get the right kind of sleep as well.
Today I’d like to help you start getting the right kind of sleep. There are several aspects of your nightly ritual you might be overlooking with the stress of work and family. Many of these are subconscious tricks your body uses when it’s relaxed, but a stressed mind won’t think about.
First, check your positioning. When you wake up in the morning, what position do you wake up in? This is most likely the position your body finds comfortable. If you’re going to sleep in a vastly different position than you wake up in, this suggests a lot of frustrated movement while you sleep. If, for example, you wake up on your side and go to sleep on your back, this suggests at least once where your body’s position interrupted some much needed rest.
While a few seconds might not sound like a lot, it actually can have a profound effect on your daytime energy levels if you interrupt REM or dream sleep. This interruption can actually cause your REM cycle to be cut short making seven hours of sleep feel like five. When using our entrainment therapy to help you reach sleep, position yourself in a way where the headphones will feel comfortable on your ears. And sleep is most effective when your head is pointed to the North (like a compass needle? If so, then Jim means to orient your whole body with your head pointing north. Move the furniture…).
Breath Work (QiGong) to Entrain Sleep
Second, let’s take a look at one of the most important aspects of relaxation – breathing. After you’re done getting ready for bed, between the time your head touches the pillow and you begin the first stage of sleep, focusing on breathing can be particularly helpful to quieting your mind and works in perfect conjunction with our entrainment therapy. Don’t forget to check out our comprehensive Sleep Package.
To focus on your breathing, inhale gently through your nose and exhale through your lips. The movement should be fluid, gentle, calming, and quiet. As you inhale, picture your lungs filling with positive life affirming and pleasant energy that passes through your whole body. (White Light is good enough. Surrounding yourself with gold light while breathing in the white is even better.)
And when you exhale, picture your breath as the grip you have on daytime cares. As you exhale them, you are releasing the grip you have on them and subsequently releasing the grip they have on you.
Think in positive mantras as well. “I’m feeling more relaxed with each soothing breath,” is good as well as, “Each breath takes me deeper into relaxation.” With each breath you should soon be feeling more relaxed and more ready to enter a soothing world of good dreams.
This brings up an important point as well. Negative dreams often come from tension and negative emotions we take with us to bed. By releasing the tension we feel during the day and taking the time to relax just before sleeping, we actually improve the quality of our dreams.
If you’ve ever been awakened by a nightmare in the middle of the night you’ll know how much havoc it can wreak on your restfulness for the whole next day. Not only is it a guaranteed interruption of REM sleep, it makes getting back to sleep difficult as well. With this simple positive relaxation technique and our entrainment therapy, we can help you keep away bad dreams and ensure you get the kind of sleep you need.
I hope you enjoyed this guide on proper sleep and relaxation. In our final installment, we look at foods to avoid if you’ve been having trouble getting to sleep, and include some good foods to include to ensure your brain gets exactly what it needs.
Eat to Sleep = Eat to Live
I’d like to finish up our manual on proper and effective sleep by talking about the nutritional aspect. Because food is not always interpreted the same way by our bodies, there are some specific foods to avoid right before going to sleep and others that will help sleep come more naturally.
To get a proper night’s sleep you’ll need to be aware of a few foods to keep an eye on. Foods higher in carbohydrates help the body relax if there isn’t also too much protein present. If you’re planning on having a high protein dinner, don’t have it right before bed. The same goes for fats as well.
If your body is filled with fatty foods it will still be digesting by the time your head hits the pillow. This will largely reduce your ability to relax. What you want is a relaxing end to your day. After keeping in mind the other aspects of winding down, you’ll find it easy to avoid getting keyed up. After that, put on the headphones, relax, and you’ll be having pleasant dreams before you know it.
Now let’s talk about the amino acid tryptophan. You may have heard that turkey contains tryptophan (an amino acid), which is why people so often feel sleepy after Thanksgiving dinner. This is partially true. Turkey does contain tryptophan, but the powerful somniferous effect is also from the amount of food eaten.
Since we can’t eat a whole turkey every night, some other foods to consider for tryptophan are eggs, whole grains, rice, tofu, milk, cheese, and lentils. While they’re not necessary, these are foods that will have relatively high levels of naturally occurring tryptophan in them.
But tryptophan isn’t reliable enough by itself to make you fall asleep. (But I’ve seen my brother in law pass out in buffets after eating.) Remember, our entrainment therapy works with your mind to provide a long restful night’s sleep you can ease into comfortably. Check out Stress Release and Sleep.
Substances to Avoid if You Want to Sleep
Now let’s take a look at important things to avoid right before going to sleep. Obviously caffeine is going to give you a difficult time with sleep. But how long does it stay in your system? An adult can have difficulty sleeping due to caffeine in their system up to (and in some cases exceeding) eight hours after drinking a cup of coffee.
Coffee contains approximately 100 to 125 milligrams of caffeine in it while caffeinated colas have approximately 35. If you go to sleep at 10:00pm, you may want to be aware of any caffeine intake after 2:00pm. And if you’re up till midnight, you’re usually going to be safe until 4:00pm. Keep in mind the importance of your day night schedules and try not to shock your system with too many different bedtimes. And caffeine is one definite way to disrupt your circadian rhythm.
Are there other substances that can interrupt your sleep? Absolutely. Nicotine addiction can cause a disruption in sleep patterns as the body metabolizes the drug often long before a sleep cycle is over making you more tired when you wake up.
Medications can sometimes have a similar effect or even contain stimulants. (Drugs) should (state) side effects on the label.
Also, spicy foods are good to avoid shortly before going to sleep. Spicy foods will often cause sleeplessness or heart burn and can also contribute to bad dreams. (like Scrooge?)
I hope you found this lesson on sleep and diet helpful. Keep in mind just how important sleep is, and how much you need it to maintain a happy and stable life.
Have a safe and enlightened journey!
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