Longevity logo

Sacred Sleep

by Velonna Patrick 8 months ago in advice · updated 8 months ago
Report Story

Sleep as a Sacred Ritual

Image from Sleep Paralysis Support Group, Wordpress.com

Breathe in. Breathe out. Ah. Relaxation. It's so difficult to achieve with the world being as chaotic and messy as it has been in the past year. It's no wonder thousands of people in 2021 want to seek out articles that help them figure out how to fall asleep faster, relax easier, and find their center to be present. In 2022, I know there will be thousands more seeking articles that will help them prioritize their rest as their News Years Resolution.

That's why I've written this article, to help motivate you to prioritize your rest. So, where to begin?

I should probably cover the scientific aspects of sleep, and how beneficial it is to our health, and also how detrimental it is to neglect sleep. Something that should be brought to our attention immediately before going fully into this article is that we are the only mammalian species (humans) that willingly delay sleep. All other animals honor sleep in the night or day (depending on if they are nocturnal or not) and do not stop it from occurring within themselves. Delaying sleep is really dangerous because you are twice as likely to get into a car accident or doing something hazardous with only six to seven hours of sleep, compared to if you get a full eight hours of rest. Compared to the benefits of sleep, it is a worthy commitment to make to dedicate time to rest.

Alternatively, issues with falling asleep not related to purposeful sleep delay may be caused by mineral and vitamin deficiencies, as a 2018 study showed that a vast majority of the American populations were deficient in magnesium and Vitamin D (respectively). It may be worth your time, if you are one of those individuals who has trouble falling asleep, to ask your doctor for a full work up. A full work up is where they can take a blood test for you and tell you your vitamin and mineral levels, and what levels you need to raise in order to optimize sleep quality. However, I am not a health professional, and this is simply a suggestion, not a word of advice.

While there are huge stakes in not getting enough sleep, getting lots of sleep has various health benefits, including a boosted immune system, preventing weight gain, strengthening the heart, bettering the mood, reducing inflammation, increased productivity, increased exercise performance, improved memory, among many many other benefits.

With there being more benefits to getting sleep than there are not, it makes no sense that people would choose to not create a sacred ritual around their sleep. And this is why I argue that sleep should be considered a sacred ritual, a spiritual practice, and a daily (or nightly) commitment.

So why do I argue that sleep be a "ritual" instead of a "habit" or "routine"? Sleep, as a ritual, is a concept I learned from a teacher on one of my meditation apps called Insighttimer. I'd highly recommend getting it, as it has taught me a lot about the sacredness of sleep, and just how spiritually centered it truly is.

How is sleep sacred? It's the only time of the day where we lay down, slipping out of our present consciousness, and into the world between spirit and body. Sleep is how we "plug in" and "zone out". Much like how our phones are recharged by energy, we are too, by plugging into the energy of the Earth and Cosmos.

Our main issue of why we keep delaying sleep mostly resides in the fact that we have to remember to plug in. The remembering is usually bogged down by our tasks for the day that are floating through our heads, or our daily issues and problems that exist at work, or school, or within the family. Those things distract us from remembering that we have the ability to plug into the universe in the first place.

So, here are some ways to remind yourself to practice sleep as a ritual rather than a habit, and "plug in" to Universal energy on a nightly basis:

Set a Sleep Schedule:

You've probably heard this already, but consistently waking up and going to sleep at the same time every day helps us remember that our sleep is sacred, and deserves it's own set time. Sleep is the ultimate form of true self care. We must remember to make time and space for it, just as we must remember to make time for other things that we worship, such as our holidays, our deities, or other spiritual practices.

Meditate:

If you're having a bad day already, and things in your life are making it worse, meditation, particularly deep breathing, can help us remember to reconnect with the Universal energy that energizes us during sleep. This allows us to fill ourselves with energy to take on the rest of a difficult day. Meditation and breathing are a form of rest. Taking rest breaks during the day, even for maybe a minute, can truly help us feel more rested and purified of negativity.

Take Short Naps:

While it sounds counterintuitive, taking short naps doesn't disrupt our ability to sleep at night as we are lead to believe. Taking naps actually allows us to re-energize and purify our energy much like meditation does. It allows us to relax, we feel less fatigued, we have increased alertness, improved memory, and improved mood after we take naps. However individuals diagnosed with insomnia may find that taking naps during the day may make nighttime symptoms worse.

Build a "Wind Down" routine:

Ever had a hard day of working and when you walked into your bedroom in the evening you just can't seem to quiet your brain? Building a "wind down" routine before bed can really help. Restorative yoga. Ocean sounds. Reading a calming book. Watching a calming show. Drinking a cup of sleepy time tea. Melatonin gummies. Breathing exercises. These things can be considered part of your "wind down" routine, and can help your brain slowly calm. Figuring out how long it takes for your brain to relax can really help with this. It may take a minute, or ten. Be patient while you explore this. As you practice and get to know your body and brain, you will learn what type of "wind down" routine works for you, and how long to implement it in the evening.

Evaluate the Sacredness of Your Bed:

One of the things we often underestimate in sleep is how we choose our beds, and how much influence a bed has on our quality of sleep. One cannot practice something sacred unless we have a sacred space. In this case your bed should be considered a sacred space; the space where you explore spirit, where you make love, and where you are the most vulnerable. The way to evaluate the sacredness of your bed is to ask yourself these questions: how comfortable is my bed? Does it feel like a cloud or like a wooden board? Can I truly relax in my bed? Is there a TV in my room that is distracting my ability to relax and reconnect? Are there any constant noises or distractions that prevent me from falling asleep? And most important, how can I make myself feel more comfortable in my bedroom right now?

My recommendations for comfortable, sacred beds, is to purchase a memory foam mattress from mattress companies like Lull or Tempurpedic. These companies sell the highest quality beds for your highest quality sacred sleep. Or, a cheaper alternative, purchasing a high quality mattress pad from either company can serve just as well as a full mattress, and in some cases may serve even better than a new mattress altogether. Explore. See what works for you.

Think of Sleep as an Adventure into the Spirit:

Sometimes, just the idea that someone could explore their own spirit through sleep and meditation can motivate someone to get more rest. Sleep is the main way we access spirit, and are able to explore the spiritual subconscious in order to heal or discover more about ourselves. It is also a good way to communicate with our loved ones who have passed on into the spirit world. Dreams of speaking with our loved ones are often our loved ones accessing our spiritual subconscious when we are asleep, to help us heal, and to let us know that they are still with us even after death. These dreams can bring great solace, but it can only bring great solace when we dedicate time and space to allow this type of communication to occur.

Have a bit of fun before bed:

If all else fails, we can never underestimate the power of fun. Fun allows us emotional release, especially after a hard day. Fun activities like playing a complex board game, having a gentle pillow fight, or a small dance party provides us with a bit of mental and physical exercise, which can calm the body and mind before bed. Additionally, you go to bed with a smile on your face, and happy memories to enjoy later in life.

My hope is that my article will have helped people in some way. My suggestions are a bit unorthodox, and somewhat uncommon. I did this on purpose because sometimes, the advice that is given over and over, may not work for many individuals. I wanted to offer something different, and hopefully that uniqueness will help someone, or various people, out there.

My Work Cited:

https://health.clevelandclinic.org/22-facts-about-sleep-that-will-surprise-you/

https://www.sclhealth.org/blog/2018/09/the-benefits-of-getting-a-full-night-sleep/

https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/adult-health/in-depth/napping/art-20048319

https://www.purewow.com/wellness/magnesium-oil

https://lull.com/cl-03-01?c=1000&scn=gbrd&sca=crex&scs=lull&lcx=eyJzY2hlbWEiOiJpZ2x1OmNvbS5sdWxsL2FkL2pzb25zY2hlbWEvMS0wLTAiLCJkYXRhIjp7ImFkSWQiOjQ2MCwiYWROYW1lIjoiR29vZ2xlIEJyYW5kIERlZmVuc2UgLSBDb3JlIEV4YWN0IE1hdGNoIn19&src_id=125723609972&gclid=Cj0KCQiAk4aOBhCTARIsAFWFP9HVtJ2IuyYzAE9k37LsTrXE04gSmvUnHo_1X0uXaEpSAls0oh_6TKMaAo2-EALw_wcB

advice

About the author

Velonna Patrick

My credentials: BA in English Literature with an Emphasis in Creative Writing

Two minors: Psychology and Chinese Language and Culture

Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing

Instagram: @velonnapatrick

Reader insights

Be the first to share your insights about this piece.

How does it work?

Add your insights

Comments

There are no comments for this story

Be the first to respond and start the conversation.

Sign in to comment

    Find us on social media

    Miscellaneous links

    • Explore
    • Contact
    • Privacy Policy
    • Terms of Use
    • Support

    © 2022 Creatd, Inc. All Rights Reserved.