Birds do it. Bees do it. Even educated fleas do it. Lions spend 15 hours a day doing it. And humans should be doing a lot more of it. Sleep, that is.
Yet more and more people are having trouble sleeping and at younger ages. Nearly 40 percent of Americans complain of sleep deprivation. Even teenagers are becoming dependant on medications to fall asleep.
Obviously, it is a good idea to avoid chugging espressos after dinner or choosing to sleep beside the tarmac of a busy airport. But what if you are lying awake, tossing and turning in the quiet of a clean, dark room? What to do? Increasingly, the answer is to pop a pill. But chemically initiated sleep, while preferable to no sleep at all, is far less beneficial to the brain, in my opinion, than natural sleep.
The key to natural sleep is to get your mind to a zen-like state of calm that comes easily to yogis and babies. This state triggers the cascade of brain events that brings about sleep. However, for those of us who are no longer children and have restless minds that flit from thought to random thought, successful meditation may be difficult. Thankfully, there are ways by which the body can be made to relax, allowing the brain to be lulled into sleep. This brings me to my top 10 list for going to bed naturally.
- Stay fit. The leaner you are, the better the flow of oxygen into you and toxic gases out of you. There is no abdominal fat pressing up against your diaphragm, preventing your lungs from expanding fully. There is less fat in your air passages causing turbulence as fresh air rushes into your chest. This keeps your brain bathed in a nice, constant solution of oxygen, fostering a sound sleep. Incidentally, it also keeps you from snoring, which allows those around you to sleep, reaping the benefits of your good health.