The following sleep design tools are based in scientific evidence + more.
- sleep before 11 pm
- wake at the same time every day
- ILLUMINE Day to Rest before sleep
- 15 minutes maximum in bed not sleeping
- fast after 8 pm or earlier
- peace after 8 pm or earlier
- glutathione, calcium, magnesium
- ILLUMINE yoga nidra or dream lullaby
Sleep before 11 pm
- CIRCADIAN RHYTHM aligns with your body via gorgeous and delicate cells in your retina that pick up on certain colors and wavelengths of light. These melanopsin M cells send messages to glands that are placed in your brain like little jewels of wisdom to run the show - your pituitary and hypothalamus and pineal glands. You want these M messages to represent what you need. If activated, they say "don't sleep". If not activated, they tell your brain to turn up the melatonin and release the serotonin for a deep night's sleep. In addition, the pineal gland is your spiritual super power center. Treat it like a temple. When you do this, you also reset your tiny messenger molecules, your neurochemicals and neurohormones, to set the stage for a gorgeous day the next day. The reset of these chemicals improves memory, keeps mood stable, and reduces anxiety. When you sleep before 11 pm, you enter a deeper stage of sleep, which is the stage of sleep in which astrocytes are most active. Also, you need to avoid blue light, which is present in iPhone and computer screens, TV screens - any screen really - and fluorescent lighting. Let lighting in the evening be natural, to allow your M cells to accurately tell your body and brain that the time for sleep is near. They need about a 2 to 3 hour start, to get to the place where melatonin brings about a slumberous state.
- SLEEP FOR AT LEAST 7 HOURS IDEALLY 8 to honor your brain + body. Five hours of sleep or less per night will lead to difficulties with short term memory, poor reaction times, and predispose you to accident and injury. Cognitive scores on sleep deprived people look like those of people with dementia. Intense executives who burn the candle at both ends risk early onset of dementia in their 40's. While you enter a deep stage of sleep, beautiful star shaped neurons called astrocytes - astro meaning star and cyte meaning cell - clean your brain, removing the waste from metabolic processing and take this to the blood stream for the liver to clear and then tag for exit from the body. You can support the astrocytes also by eating foods rich in glutathione, or taking the glutathione precursor, NACC, to give them the fuel they need to detoxify the brain. As they signal using calcium, you may also want to ensure you have adequate calcium intake. Magnesium is helpful also, and can be added to baths, taken internally as a supplement or powder, or applied to your skin via a lotion.
- ARCHITECTURE PROTECTION of your sleep is important. Chemicals that compromise sleep architecture include alcohol + caffeine + sleep medication + adrenaline self-produced from stress or late evening exercise in some people. Sleep architecture is the pattern that your brain observes as it oscillates between deeper stages and lighter stages of sleep. The best sleep architecture is that allowing for deeper stages of sleep in the earlier part of the night. Later, REM increases and dreams increase. Protect your brain architecture by meditating before going to sleep. Ensure that you meditation involves going into alpha or delta or theta brain rhythms to prime your brain for a beautiful night's rest and restoration - guided meditations or even simply daydreaming can bring you into at least the alpha brain wave state. Guided meditations:
Wake at the Same Time Every Day
Out of all of the sleep stimulus control and sleep hygiene recommendations, waking at the same time every day is the key to a good sleep. Waking at the same time sets a sleep pressure, so that, by the evening, you feel an intense need to sleep that is very enjoyable and natural and drifts you off to a contented sleep. This sleep pressure is worth a day of sleepiness, according to scientific studies, and this is what is recommended at sleep clinics also for appropriate patients - however, sleep deprivation is not recommended if you have certain conditions, so check with your doctor before waking early and spending a day sleep deprived. One of the benefits of waking at the same time, is that you then start to do this naturally, without the need for an alarm clock.
As mentioned in the summary, other key points of sleep care include spending very little time in bed when not sleeping (or having sex). The brain has a marvelous region called the hippocampus, that remembers every place that we locate our body in. There are specific place cells that register the place. So, when we lie in bed, and don't sleep, these place cells are aligned with the brain thinking, oh, look, this is the bed where I don't sleep. Instead, make your bed where you DO SLEEP by only spending time in it when you are sleeping or about to sleep (or having sex).
In addition, fasting and peacefulness in the evening, is so helpful for you to engage n a deep and restful sleep. Our digestive system is an incredibly large portion of our being, forming so much surface area in the interaction between us and the environment. During my medical training, I had the opportunity to see this beautiful part of our anatomy in real time. Amazingly, the small intestine is the most delicate pale pink structure, with a color like the color of pale pink roses, and it undulates with the gentlest of rhythms. So, you want this beautiful delicate area, to rest so that disruption in it, does not disturb your sleep. So rest it, by taking a break from food in the hours before sleep. That will also give you parasympathetic nervous system, the system that is active when you are relaxed and that is also paralleled to improving digestion, time to allow any food from your evening meal to be digested properly. Then the mitochondria can also rest while you sleep, having had time to process all the new fuel coming their way from the evening meal.
Peace, or joy, or pleasure, or happiness, or gratitude, are super beneficial emotions to experience before you sleep. Keeping any negative emotion or stress from your evening, and re-scheduling it to the following day, allows for your nervous system to tone and prepare for sleep. Positive emotions, such as compassion, and especially the emotion of unconditional love, towards your self or another, brings the heart's electromagnetic field into a beneficial state. Recharging the heart's field, will actually protect you from heart disease via a mechanism recognized scientifically as Heart Rate Variability. In addition, the mitochondria in your heart are lined up in a power grid. If some areas are weak due to less mitochondria or more energy demand, this power grid takes over and supports the weaker areas. If we simply apply the logic of physics to the heart and this power grid, its pretty easy to conclude that a good electromagnetic field will support the mitochondrial power grid, and thus support your heart health. Also, the heart's field is the largest and most powerful in the body, more powerful than the brain's, so it may help your brain sink into the peaceful brain waves of a deep sleep.
ILLUMINE Day to Rest
Before you go to your bed, take a moment in another area to contemplate, or reflect on, your day. Be sure that you can be quiet, and without interruption - wear headphones that surround your ears if this helps. Start reviewing your day in a backwards fashion - from what you just finished doing, to what happened before. Pay attention to areas of high energy or potency whether this is positive or negative.
If positive, allow the energy or potency of that memory to bathe your neurons and your energetic field and notice that natural feeling of gratitude that suffuses the body. If negative, notice where in the body the discomfort arises. Notice that you are so much more than this discomfort and see the discomfort from the center of your core star self. Ask for your deep intelligence to shine on this overlying discomfort and show you the nature of the discomfort. Name it, know it, assign it sensory details like color, sound, smell, feel, or taste. See it as separate from you, like a cloud that passes across the sky, not a part actually of the clear sky but just a cloud that is temporary + transient. Ask for the lesson it has to teach you, and allow this lesson to enhance your light. Allow your light to dissipate the discomfort. If this is difficult, ask for help. If the discomfort is connected to another or yourself, deepen acceptance, deepen forgiveness. Forgiveness is a deeply powerful tool and will heal your heart's magnetic field.
Continue to go through the day. If there is something that needs to be done, assign it to the image of a briefcase, and know that you will remember it in the morning. After you have put the Day to Rest, contemplate the possible beauty of your dreams and future life.
ILLUMINE Yoga Nidra or Dream Lullaby
Yoga Nidra is named for the "yogic sleep", a "sleep" within which a yogi remains fully alert. The technique of yoga nidra is deeply relaxing and recharges you with sankalpa, which is Sanskrit for your heart's deepest desire. After listening to the above audio several times, you can begin to practice yoga nidra on your own. The process is breathing relaxation, then a body scan, followed by connecting with your heart's deepest desire, and followed by a landscape through which you travel in your mind's eye. Practicing this every night, can bring your dream life into existence.
If Yoga Nidra does not suit you, you can do a process I call "Dream Lullaby". Before you go to sleep, take a moment with a pen and paper beside you. Ensure that you have at least 15 minutes to dedicate to the Dream Lullaby just before you slip into bed. Allow any left over problems or questions or disruptions from the day to disappear like clouds scudding across a sky, into a small suitcase in your mind's eye, and close the suitcase to be opened tomorrow when you wake. Then take at least 10 minutes, to think, write, or draw your ideal life in the future. Notice details on all sensory parameters - sight, sound, touch, smell, taste - of you future dream life.
Allow yourself to begin to daydream, floating your mind from idea to idea of what your future dream life is like. Savor the future vision in your mind's eye. Allow your consciousness to drift, to flow like waves at a shore or crossing a channel, gradually growing and dissipating in strength, to reflect on this dream image of your future. Imagine how it feels to have that dream future occurring right now. When you are done, lie down and allow yourself to drift into sleep, with the visions of your future dream life sifting through your mind and body. Feel the gratitude and honor that your being allows you to imagine and picture and daydream of this beautiful future.