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Anne Naylor

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Is Sleeping A Good Investment Of Your Time?

Posted: 01/13/10 05:06 AM ET

Sleep that knits up the ravelled sleave of care
The death of each day's life, sore labour's bath
Balm of hurt minds, great nature's second course,
Chief nourisher in life's feast.

William Shakespeare, Macbeth

Does sleeping well and long enough for you pay off sufficiently to invest in it? Are you being selective with how you spend your time generally? Is what you are choosing to do with your time serving you as well as it could?

On the face of it, "investing" eight hours of your time out of 24 might seem extravagant. But it reflects a willingness to take good care of yourself. In being more rested and alert, you may be able to give more fully to the people you care about, projects you are working on and intentions you are holding. Finding ways to sleep well could be a case of enlightened self-interest.

In stepping up to the Sleep Challenge 2010, you are making a commitment that may involve sacrificing certain pleasures - like watching a favorite late night TV program, eating rich, heavy or stimulating foods late in the evening, giving up coffee (for me chocolate), or skyping with a friend on the other side of the world at midnight.

Establishing a new pattern in daily life could require you to give up an addictive, time-consuming habit - watching a 24-hour news channel, compulsive tweeting or texting, a Facebook game, or obsessively checking your emails. Are many of the ways you pass your time more like distractions, rather than rewarding and fulfilling engagements with things you truly love and want to do?

How can the investment to sleep more, or better, be of value to you? Why would you bother to take it on? The benefit goes beyond just getting a good night's sleep. The commitment speaks to me of making powerful choices in your life generally. Getting to the essence of what is most important to you is personally satisfying. You know, deep down, how to enrich your life. Through self-awareness you can find out. Self-awareness takes intention, and a little time.

Technology is racing ahead. But are you keeping up? Through advertising, you may be seduced into buying the latest toy, gizmo or gadget, one that looks attractive and appealing, even time-saving or which seems as though it will give you a certain "experience". But will it?

Some of your best experiences may come through clearing out your stuff, releasing yourself from lesser commitments and being selective about how you spend your time. Getting to know and love yourself better through meditation, for example, may be the simplest route to enjoying yourself more, improving your health at the same time. Time saving? Possibly. You may discover ways to work smarter rather than harder, and with less stress.

In my post last year, 5 Keys For Getting A Good Night's Sleep, I wrote about what I discovered about being more restful, not only at night but it works during the day as well.

A peaceful attitude promotes greater productivity, if that is important to you. You can accomplish more in less time, with more fulfilment. Peacefulness allows for a richer quality in life.

A major challenge we now face is knowing ourselves better and being true to ourselves, in order to rise above the worldly conditions that make us feel like poor victims of others' less-than-wise choices. The news is full of dire predictions about impending gloom and doom. Taking care of your body's need for sleep is one step that puts you more in charge of your life as a whole, and less at the mercy of events out of your sphere of concern that would worry you unnecessarily. I take the view that until something has happened, it has not. So why worry?

You can only live fully in the present moment, right now. Take a deep breath. Where did that last worry go? Without worry, you may become a more vibrant, self-aware and confident person, liberated to make your own wise choices, able to contribute more effectively.

The investment of sleep may give you, through your dreams, information that will guide you to improved outcomes in your waking life. You might make better decisions, gain clarity about an issue you are facing, discover how to overcome an obstacle with greater ease, release a block like self-doubt that is holding you back.

These 15 Interesting Facts About Dreams are worth exploring.

Your vision will become clear only when you look into your heart.
Who looks outside, dreams. Who looks inside, awakens.

Carl Jung

A couple of centuries ago, I could imagine that people might have had little difficulty sleeping. At the end of the day, they would be tired and fall asleep. Not much to distract them from doing otherwise.

Today, we are blessed with a tremendous wealth of choices about how we spend our time. We enjoy greater awareness about ourselves and the rich world around us. Our attention can be led in many directions. What governs the choices you are making? Whatever you value will direct your choices. The loving human spirit that you are is a force for good. Sleeping well may put you more in touch with the magnificence that you truly are, and the guidance that will improve your quality of living.

And if tonight my soul may find her peace
in sleep, and sink in good oblivion,
and in the morning wake like a new-opened flower
then I have been dipped again in God, and new-created.

D.H. Lawrence

What are some of your best experiences of sleep? Do you ever explore life issues through your dreams? Are you happy with the amount of sleep you get regularly?

Please feel free to leave a comment below, or contact me at anne@annenaylor.com

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