How to Sleep Well – 6 Tips From Sadhguru
Sadhguru looks at the role of sleep and the importance of sleeping in absolute relaxation. Sharing six tips to help you sleep well, he also speaks about the Shambhavi Mahamudra, which blurs the line between being asleep and awake.
Six Tips on How to Sleep WellSadhguru: Do you find that one day morning when you get up, without any reason you are just feeling ugly? If it is happening even two or three times a year, then you must do certain things before you go to bed. It is very important.
You can unconsciously incubate a lot of either negative or positive things in sleep. You can incubate either pleasantness or unpleasantness in an uninterrupted way very effectively in sleep. You can also incubate it during the day, but there are so many interruptions that it does not happen very efficiently. But if you have a tendency to go to bed in a certain way and you wake up in the morning feeling really nasty for simply no reason, that means you are incubating bad eggs in the night very efficiently.
This is not just about psychological disturbances; it can cause major physiological problems over a period of time. It is important that you eliminate these things from your life. So before you go to bed in the night, there are certain things that you need to take care of.
Tip #1: Take a Shower
Always shower before you go to bed. It will make a lot of difference. Maybe cold showers are difficult in cold weather, so take a lukewarm shower, but do not go for hot showers in the night.
A cold shower will keep you alert. You will sleep twenty minutes or half an hour later, but you will sleep better because it will take away certain things. When you shower, it is not just the dirt on the skin that you are taking away. Have you noticed, if you are very tense and anxious, after taking a shower, you come out feeling almost like a burden has been taken away from you? It is not just about washing the skin. A whole lot of things happen when water flows over your body. Taking a shower is a very rudimentary bhuta shuddhi because over seventy percent of your body is actually water. If you run water over it, a certain purification happens which is beyond cleaning the skin.
Tip #2: Don’t Sleep Right After a Meal
If you are eating meat and other kinds of meals, it is best to eat at least three to four hours before you go to bed so that the digestion is over. Before going to bed, drink a certain amount of water; you will see that it gets taken care of.
Tip #3: Light a Lamp
One more thing you can do is just light an organic oil lamp. Use a cotton wick, do not use something else. You can use linseed oil, rice-bran oil, sesame oil, olive oil or any organic oil with a cotton wick. Just light one little lamp somewhere in the room where you sleep and you will see that these things will completely disappear.
Tip #4: Remember That Time Is Running Out!
Keep this in your mind that you are truly a mortal. Not just in words, really see that you could fall dead right now. I will bless you with a long life, but it is possible that you or me could fall dead right now.
Please be conscious of this. This is not to create fear or paranoia but just to know the reality. If you know, "I am truly mortal and my time is so limited," you will have no time to be angry, to quarrel with someone, or to do anything that does not really matter to you. If you are conscious of your mortality, you will do only what you truly care for in your life.
Before you go to bed, sit on your bed with the thought that this is your deathbed and you have just one more minute to live. Just look back and see, what you have done today, is it worthwhile? Just do this one simple exercise. And when it really happens, who knows whether you will be sitting on your deathbed or lying in a hospital with all kinds of things sticking into you. So enjoy this every day that you sit on your deathbed, look back and see, "Today, the way I have handled these twenty-four hours, is it worthwhile because now I am dying?" If you do this, you will live a worthwhile life, believe me.
Tip #5: Keep Things Aside
Just do this before you go to bed. In the last three minutes, keep aside everything that you have gathered – the body, the content of the mind, and the small things. Do not ignore small things; these small things are big things. I have seen how people are carrying their own private pillow because it is very important. Your pillow, your footwear, if you have relationships, everything that you have gathered – keep it aside and sleep.
If you manage to sleep like that, you will wake up with something else altogether different. You will wake up with much more light, energy and possibilities than you have imagined possible. Just sleep as life – not as a man or woman, not as this and that. Simply keep everything down.
Tip #6: Do Not “Head North”
If you put your head to the north and sleep during the night in a horizontal position, then slowly the blood will get pulled towards your brain. When there is too much circulation in the brain, you cannot sleep peacefully. If you have any kind of inherently weak aspects in your brain or if you are of old age, you could die in your sleep. One can have hemorrhage because extra blood is trying to enter the brain where the blood vessels are hairlike.
Something extra is being pushed because of the magnetic pull of the planet. When you are in a vertical position, this is not so. The moment you become horizontal, this pull on the head is strong. This is true only in the northern hemisphere. If you go to Australia, you should not put your head to the south. If you are in India you should not put your head to the north. It is okay if you put it any other way.
Question: I tend to have a lot of visions in my sleep. I was wondering if you could talk about that?
Sadhguru: Once, a burglar was caught stealing and he was taken to the court. On the surface, this man was well-to-do, so the judge asked him, “You have enough in life. Why are you stealing from other people?” The burglar said, “Well, you know, the wise have always said, ‘Whatever a man may have, he always wants more.’” The judge looked at him and said, “Okay. I give you 10 years. If you want more, tell me.”
At least in sleep, do not look for more. It would be fantastic if you did not look for more in wakefulness either – simply be. If that is not possible for you right now, at least in sleep, do not ask for more – simply sleep. You can make sleep into a phenomenally productive process so that you will need less sleep. If you sleep in absolute relaxation, the gene expression and other processes in the body will happen more quickly and more efficiently. That means you will wake up sooner.
If you are inefficient in wakefulness, it is not good, but we will bear with you. But if you are inefficient even in sleep, death will be the only answer, because that is the only area where you cannot be inefficient. When you die, you die. If you learn to simply sleep, to “simply be” in wakefulness will be the next step.
Sleep is a state where you are on the edge between the world of sounds and the world of silence, but you can only move into the world of silence when you are aware. You can move through the world of sounds and forms unaware, but you cannot move into the world of silence, which is devoid of any vibration, devoid of any forms, in unawareness.
How to Improve Sleep Quality
We want to use sleep as a platform for awakening, to become one with all that is real – not as a way to become inert, dead, and away from all that is real. Improving sleep quality does not mean sleeping like a stone. But actually, a stone is the wrong example, because in my experience, stones are very alive – a lot more alive than many human beings. “Sleeping like a log” would be a better expression, because a log is dead – it is not a tree anymore. This is not about sleeping like a log, but about sleeping in a live manner – being awake and asleep at the same time. If you bring even a small percentage of this element into your sleep, you will naturally become meditative over a period of time. Meditation, not as an act but as a quality, will become a part of your existence.
We have tried to bring this aspect into people’s life in so many ways, starting with the Shambhavi Mahamudra. Shambhavi means twilight – you are between day and night, night and day. Twilight means you are asleep, but you are awake; you are awake, but you are asleep. Changing the quality of our sleep – not the quantum – is the necessary foundation for someone to become a Yogi. In wakefulness, you must be fully awake but if you check the parameters of the body, it must be asleep. In sleep, your body should sleep, your mind should sleep, but you must be awake.
Sleep – Your Way to True Aliveness
Aliveness is not an acquired state – it is your nature. “Just being” means being absolute life – not a mind, not a thought, not an emotion, not an ideology, not a philosophy, not a belief system, not a gender, not a race, not a caste, not a creed – just life. If you touch life on this level, you will know by experience that life and the source of life are packed inside each other.
If you sit here just as a piece of life, there will be no separation between yourself and the Divine. If you cannot simply be yet, at least when you are asleep, simply sleep. It will do many miraculous things. If only you could be awake and asleep at once, you would be in the lap of the Divine for always.
As there is nothing that
I truly call as mine, neither
this Body nor Anybody, neither
this World nor the Other
Neither Friends nor Foes belong.
No fear of Losing, no anticipation
of Gain. Here i am a Transparence
without Substance. A Presence
without Persona. A Being
Hence activity has become Stillness
The Din of the world my Silence
The very Cosmos my Being.