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From Insomnia To Sound Sleep

Chiu-Nan Lai, Ph.D.

A person who can eat and sleep is a lucky person as these are the basic conditions for achieving good health. Traditionally, it has been said, “Early to bed, early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise.” However, given the modern lifestyle and environment, many people have insomnia from stress, late nights, noise, as well as pollution from air and electromagnetism. Because the causes of insomnia are complex, insomnia can no longer be cured by the conventional ways of counting sheep or soaking one’s feet in hot water. Some methods that may aid sleep are discussed below:

Regulate one’s life

Sleep is associated with the body’s generation of melatonin. During the night, the production of melatonin increases several times. In the west, melatonin has been used to help people with insomnia. The ideal time to sleep is before 10 p.m. Hence, it is best to relax in preparation of sleep after 9 p.m. If one’s day and night is reversed, the body will find difficulty in producing melatonin.

Have a healthy body

When the body is unhealthy, ailments such as pain, cold feet, and asthma can interfere with one’s sleep. When the body feels pain, it signifies that some parts of the body is not healthy and needs to be nursed to health using a total health approach. People with asthma should avoid milk, and combining bread with grapefruits, oranges at the same meal. If one has been over-pampered when young, the development of the heart chakra can be affected, leading to asthma. One useful way to ease pain and to develop one’s heart chakra is to visualize a blue light shining on one’s entire body or use a blue light bulb. Taking a warm bath before sleep can also help.

Do some deep-breathing exercises everyday

Engage in exercises that require deep breathing. Take slow walks or jog for 20 minutes every day. People who live in polluted cities should install air purifiers (especially in the bedroom) as good air quality can aid sleep.

Avoid electromagnetic interference

Experiments with animals have shown that exposure to electricity (60HZ) can lead to a decline in the production of melatonin, which aids in sleep. Besides reducing over-exposure to television and computers, avoid placing large electrical appliances in the bedroom. Walk barefooted on grass every day to discharge the static electricity in our bodies.

Have a good sleeping environment

Where we sleep should be dark and quiet. The bed should be warm, and the blanket should be made of natural fabrics such as cotton or wool and not chemical fabrics. Noise and light will interfere with sleep. Let the body and mind quieten down. Only when the body is relaxed and not excited, can it rejuvenate.

Obtain sufficient nutrition

The body should have sufficient tnptophan, Niacin (one of the B vitamins), and magnesium. Shortage of any of these three substances will lead to insomnia. Bean sprouts are rich sources of tnptophan and Vitamin B complex. Active yeast (used to make buns and bread) is also a good source; take one teaspoon of yeast with warm water on an empty stomach. Whole grains are good sources of magnesium.

Avoid food contaminated by chemicals

Chemicals used in food are deposited within animal fats. Hence, the people who eat meat generally have chemical levels that are 35 times that of vegetarians (as reflected in the analysis of human milk). The short-term side effect of these chemicals is that they interfere with the nervous system, leading to insomnia.

Have peaceful and relaxed mind

Stress and nervousness can lead to insomnia. Methods to relax include exercising our eyes (roll our eyes to the right three times, and then to the left three times) and visualizing blue light. Another method is to write down on a piece of paper, just before we sleep, things that are troubling us. Do not look at this paper again before we sleep. Read the note the next day and then burn it. Continue for seven days.

Have sufficient space to sleep

Spouses and relatives who share beds should consider whether the bed is sufficiently large. Otherwise, movement or noise from their partners will disturb their sleep (and even energy fields). If sleep is adversely affected over long periods of time, consider sleeping alone.

Avoid over-exerting and over-eating before sleep

Sleeping requires sufficient energy levels. If we are too tired before we sleep, we may toss and turn and not sleep too well. If we feel very tired, we should walk on the grass and practice qigong. The simplest way is to visualize energy levels rising from the bottom of our feet to the tip of our spine, relax the whole body, and smile. We can then sleep when we feel that our energy levels have increased. In addition, try to take dinners early; have simple meals and do not over-eat.

We spend an average of eight hours sleeping. Hence, it is important to adjust the state of our body and mind before we sleep. Besides relaxing our bodies, it is also important to relax our minds before we sleep. Avoid going to bed with anger. If there is any disagreement, it is best to reach some harmonious reconciliation first. If we can sleep with joy, we will not let our moods harm our bodies, and our bodies in turn can successfully engage in ‘repair’ work during our sleep. It is advisable to raise the quality of our consciousness to the highest levels before we sleep – that is, in terms of its limitless compassion, wisdom, and creativity. It is possible to employ methods used in our religion to raise our consciousness to levels we aspire to. In this way, we are making good use of one of the best times of the day.