By Polly Guerin
Willy Shakespeare had it right when Hamlet said, “To Sleep, Perchance to Dream,” (Act 3, scene I). And “I have not slept a wink,” complained Pisanio in Cymbeline (Act 3, scene 4). When it comes to sleep such phrases surely mimic our own sentiments. Sleep deprivation deprives us of vitality, our concentration takes a downturn and we muddle through the day. “What’s the matter,” someone may ask. “I haven’t slept a wink,” is the typical reply. Women have often been told that getting the right amount of zzzz is their beauty sleep. Indeed it is for anyone who wants to maintain their good looks and avoid bags under their eyes. To many people, a good night’s sleep is an elusive luxury, but don’t reach for the sleeping pills yet. Edgar Cayce had some good advice and in his readings remarked that lack of sleep can contribute to a wide variety of stress related disorders and health problems including high blood pressure, depression, and heart disease and in some cases even death.
Lack of Sleep In Cayce’s readings he was most sensitive to the effect of stress on people, and never dismissed anything as ‘just nerves.’ He gave detailed analysis of the two nervous systems and a great deal of importance to their delicate mechanism. Cayce said, “The strain between the physical and mental, with the spiritual attributes of the individual, finds expression not only in the brain itself, but in that of the sympathetic (nervous) system for the brain manifestation of soul forces in the body. (4566-1) COUNTING SHEEP As we lie sleepless by the hour, reproducing images in our head of unhappiness or we try to work through problems our fretful attempts to get to sleep remain unreachable, the hours wear on and we toss and turn in the bed disarranging bed linens and blankets. In this sleep deprived process we are left frazzled and exhausted. No wonder, daytime fatigue sets in and it impairs one’s work performance. Personality changes can include memory problems and crankiness and depression. Such behavior can even lead to losing your job and on the home front it can create friction in the home and alienate your family.
THE BEDROOM SANCTUARY
THE BEDROOM SANCTUARY
Steps can be taken to avoid a sleepless night. The main objective is to de-clutter your bedroom and make it a sanctuary for sleep, where gentle music may lull you to slumber like a babe. Reading a book that does not tax your mind may induce sleep as well. Exercise equipment that beckons for attention should be removed from the bedroom. After all this is your peaceful oasis, an island of sorts, where dreams may enhance your life. To further abate the sleeping process, do not keep electronic devices by the bedside like a cell phone or any other communication tool that will stimulate and disturb your sleep. Removing the television from the bedroom is another good idea. It will prevent you from watching the late news which can disturb your mind. Another sleep trigger is to avoid watching late night movies (except on weekends when you can sleep late) because they rob you of the 7 to 8 hours of sleep that you normally need each night. A warm bath or shower before going to bed is relaxing and sleeping in a well ventilated room encourages slumber.
MILD EXERCISE, GENTLE YOGA
A light gym session, gentle yoga or exercise at home performed early in the evening before nine o’clock can also promote sleep, but if you’re training for triathlon do that earlier in the day. Meditation or prayer can also calm down your brain and prepare it for sleep. A patient once asked Edgar Cayce, “How can I overcome the nerve strain I’m under at times? Cayce advised, “By closing the eyes and meditating from within. Quiet meditation, for a half to a minute, will bring strength---will the body see physically this flowing out to quiet self, where walking, standing still, or resting. Well, too, that oft alone, mediate in silence—as the body has done. (311-4)
A HEALTHY DIET
The old adage, ‘never eat after 8 pm’ is good advice because meals too close to the hour of sleep are disruptive and may be the cause for weird dreams or nightmares. Always achieve balance in your diet by eating natural organic food, fresh veggies and fruit. Avoid caffeine either through coffee or sodas as it remains in the system for a long time. It’s too stimulating and can give you a false impression of being awake. Natural slumber can also be had by sipping a mild sedative like chamomile tea, which helps to calm anxiety, soothes and relaxes the mind and body. Some people prefer a warm cup of milk to soothe and help them fall asleep. If all else fails, summon up the child within and ask your mate to read you a bedtime story or sing a lullaby just like your mum did when you were a child. BEAUTIFUL DREAMER
Taking a nap is nifty way to catch up on sleep, but how many of us have the luxury of napping from one to three in the afternoon? However, it could be a weekend luxury to put on your agenda, but be sure to set the alarm clock so that you do not miss an important evening date. Even if sleep does not come just lying still and relaxing can be a refreshing tonic. If you have a slant board, a fifteen minute break, resting with your head down and your feet higher up also has restorative powers. Cayce said, “Remember that the body does gradually renew itself constantly.” (1548-3) So heeding his advice let us go gently into the night sleeping peacefully like beautiful dreamers.