Sleep is an essential phase of our life. We need it to achieve a restorative rest that prepares of for the new day. The hours of sleep permit us to flush trivial worries and integrate our outer experiences so we can awaken refreshed and ready for the challenges of the new day.
Sleep is a very important state of consciousness for all of us.
Because sleep is so important, we need to prepare for it to ensure that our sleep will be restful and effective. While the process is automatic for many, others need help in quieting their worried mind, calming anxieties, and adjusting expectations. so that we rest our mind from our challenges and concerns as well as our tired body.
Effective meditation is an ideal way to achieve this relaxation of the mind and body.
Sleep disturbances come in many forms
Difficulty falling asleep
Waking up several times at night
Waking up too early and can’t return to sleep
Low quality of sleep—restless even in sleep
Sleep may be unbroken, but still wake up feeling tired
The Value of Quality Sleep
There are healthy and unhealthy forms of sleep. Healthy sleep is one in which sleep is largely unbroken except perhaps for a quick visit to the bathroom. Waking up reasonably refreshed and ready for the day is the primary sign of healthy sleep.
The larger value of healthy sleep occurs because sleep is one of the primary methods our body uses to restore and renew itself in terms of its basic physiological functions. That is, our body needs rest to provide full attention to clearing toxins through the liver and other organs. Our innate healing and immune mechanisms are able to work at maximum efficiency when we are no longer active in our usual daily duties. Deep rest is one of the most healing resources we have to cope with illness and physical injury.
Our personality also benefits from healthy sleep. With the conscious mind asleep, our usual concerns, frustrations, and worries are also partly turned off. This gives our subconscious mind the freedom to sort through our experiences to integrate them with our strengths, expectations, and progress. The results is the equivalent of digesting our multiple experiences. People experience this as greater calmness as we go about our daily tasks, relatively free of conflicts or the fear that we are losing control of our life.
Healthy sleep is also a time when we have some degree of connection to our higher intelligence and creativity. It is not unusual for people to “sleep on a problem” only to wake up with fresh ideas or dreams that help them solve problems, make sense of ongoing issues, or otherwise sense a new degree of hope and confidence. Sometimes our sleep-time connections to our Higher Self does not provide direct answers, but the mental footprint of them remains as a new sense that we will succeed or prosper at the issues that concern us.
The problems that can result from poor quality sleep
A greater sense of stress
general irritability/anxiety depression
partial retrogression to more immature focus and attitudes
difficulty staying focused… more easily distracted
tendency to go on autopilot… zombie mode
lack of concern about long term goals, consequences…live day to day
chronic low vitality… bad for body…slows healing
weakening creative thought and acts
a general move to survival mode of living
with less concern for sophisticated interests & aspirations
There are many problems that can cause poor quality sleep…some may need special attention, such as:
Chronic recurring anxiety and depression especially when there are feelings of insecurity, lack of safety, chronic pessimism, the overactive inner critic
Wounded sense of self & self-image from old traumas
Perfectionism with unrealistic expectations
lack of trust for our own ability to make good decisions and care for self
other physical illness…
Managing the symptoms of poor quality sleep or lack of sleep
Active Meditation provides two avenues to help you improve your sleep. We have produced several short meditations that may provide some symptom relief for anxiety or depression. These may be useful if you believe one of these symptoms are preventing a good night’s sleep.
If you want additional help beyond the assistance with symptoms, then there is a need to define and begin to manage the problems at the root cause of anxiety and depression. This may involve working directly to manage the deeper causes that are listed in the topics described above.
These deeper issues may be addressed by practicing the full guided meditation courses offered for free here. These deep meditations can harness the full resources of our Higher Self, and enable us to begin addressing the causes rather than just the symptoms… the problem behind the problem.
How understanding your sleep cycles can help you nap better
If you're having trouble sleeping, if you are fatigued or if you're simply looking for a way to relax, you'll probably feel like taking a nap. However, napping at the wrong time or for too long can actually work against you. Here's a helpful guide to understand how to make naps work for your schedule!
15 TO 30 MINUTES...
Short rest periods are a great way to recharge during the day. If you keep your naps to 15 or 30 minutes you will remain in lighter stages of sleep, won’t wake up feeling tired and can get right back to your day feeling refreshed.
MORE THAN 30 MINUTES...
Naps longer than 30 minutes might leave you sluggish. This sluggishness can last up to 30 minutes after waking. If you need to be alert immediately, we suggest the 15-minute Quick Nap or the 30-minute Power Nap. If this is not an issue for you, the longer naps will provide the same benefits as the shorter naps.
A 60-minute nap will provide a deeper sleep. You most likely will need a short time to get back to full efficiency after an hour nap, as the effects of a longer nap could be more pronounced. A longer nap might also have an effect on your ability to sleep at night.
A 90-minute nap gives you a full sleep cycle—from the lighter stages of sleep all the way to REM (rapid eye movement). A nap of 60 to 90 minutes can improve decision-making skills and even enhance creativity. At this length, make sure to nap with care. You don’t want to disrupt your regular sleep schedule or keep yourself up at night by napping too long during the day. Sleep inertia may also be more of an issue.
Sleep and Binaural Beats
Active Meditation™ audio tracks are produced with binaural beats to enhance the verbal guidance by entraining the brain to specific brainwave states. For our sleep meditations without guidance we configure the binaural beats to assist you in moving through the sleep cycle. Each 90-minute Sleep Cycle exercise will take you through a full sleep cycle. You may also loop the exercise to take you through multiple sleep cycles throughout the night.
We also employ binaural beats for the 15, 30, and 60 minute naps. On our sleep playlists you will find the meditations organized to give you options depending on your day and the time you have for napping:
“Quick Naps” for 15 minutes
“Power Naps” for 30 minutes
"Super Naps" for 60 minutes
and "Sleep Cycles" for complete 90 minute sleep cycles.