Friday, April 1, 2011

Sleep as a Spiritual Practice

Here's a fun project for the weekend. Try to get some extra sleep.

Getting enough sleep is a critical part of our well being. And the sad truth is that most of us don't get enough.

Too little sleep has been linked to problems with the immune system, with mood, with learning and memory.

I know when I'm tired, I'm just not a very nice person. I'm cranky and defensive. I'm worried so much about getting through the day that connecting, being present, simply being here seems to drop to the bottom of the list. I get so focused on the body, I forget all about the spirit.

When I don't sleep enough it starts a destructive cycle. I turn to to caffeine and sugar to pick me up, and then alcohol later to come down. Then I sleep badly the next night, too, and the cycle repeats.

I and those around me suffer because of it.

I've begun to prioritize sleep over lots of other things that used to grab my attention in the evening, like TV and the Internet. Those "downtime" activities really just keep our brains buzzing later in the evening than they should. I'm getting better at saying "no," and would like to make even more progress.

I'm beginning to feel more like the present, alive person that I aspire to be. I hope you will, too.


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