As a culture, we are experiencing a dramatic increase in sleep disturbances. Most bedrooms are replete with the requisite television (TV) set and the “indispensable” accoutrement—a DVD player. There are phones, alarm clocks, maybe sound systems, and many people keep their computers in their bedrooms and on (what’s worse is that from the time children are little, they have computer and TV’s and monitors in their bedrooms). These emit electromagnetic frequencies (EMGs), that are man-made and disruptive to the human energy system—sometimes seriously so. Many people fear the dark, so choose to sleep with night-lights on or to fall asleep to the TV. Bedrooms can often become the catch-all of our overabundance of stuff that we do not want to leave out in the public areas of our homes. Whether its papers, books, magazines, or clothes, the more our bedrooms become filled and busy, the poorer the air quality impacting sleep becomes.
Patterns of late night activity, or lack of it, also are powerful contributors to sleep disturbances. Though many are in denial about this, watching media where intense human drama, violence and action are blasted out in rapid-fire images that can be dizzying, affects us energetically and emotionally. Pushing our bodies into the sympathetic nervous system, when we should be gearing down within the parasympathetic system of slowed respirations, heart rate activity and digestion prevents the relaxed state necessary for quality sleep.
Working until late at night to try to make deadlines or to achieve what we think we need to achieve in a day’s time is also a prescription for sleep difficulties since this intensity of output also activates the sympathetic nervous system. Eating late, being on a computer late, have arguments with family, worrying about tomorrow, feeling dissatisfied with life, all are powerful contributors to this national phenomenon.
Ask yourself what behaviors and conditions in your life might be reducing the quality of your sleep? Study after study has indicated that adults are sleep deprived by as much as 1 to 1 ½ hours per night. Sleep deprivation affects judgment, memory and concentration, emotions, speech and thought processes, and often affects hormonal changes that increase weight gain.
Preparing for sleep
When was the last time that you re-lived a favorite bedtime routine from your past? Do you remember the special feeling and aroma of a warm bath, clean pajamas and sheets with a relaxing bedtime story, a cup of hot chocolate or warm milk and graham crackers?
When was the last time that you awakened refreshed, full of energy and ready to go?