Sadhguru explains that what the body needs is rest, and not necessarily sleep. If the body is at ease while you are awake, the sleep quota will go down. He also looks at how the quality of sleep is connected to the quality of life. If you wake up well, you will sleep well he says.
Questioner: No, no, I want more actually. About compulsions and evening person and morning person, I was wondering how can I decrease my hours of sleep and how can I improve my sleep quality?
Sadhguru: You want to increase the quality of your sleep means you want to reduce the quantity, is that what you’re saying?
Questioner: Yeah somehow both; my need for hours I want to decrease and I want to improve the quality. Thank you.
Sadhguru: Okay. See, sleep is not a requirement in one’s life. What the body requires is rest. Sleep is just one form of rest. Lot of people are beginning to think… in Tamil Nadu if somebody says, ‘He is resting,’ means they’re sleeping. (Laughter) Need not be. You can sit and rest, isn’t it? Yes? You can stand and also rest. You’re running – if you stand, doesn’t it feel like rest? You’re standing, if you sit down, doesn’t it feel like rest? There are many ways of resting. The most important thing is rest means you’re changing the energy equation where consumption is lowered, production is going on at the same pace. So after a period of time, you feel rejuvenated because consumption has been lowered. Essentially you’re managing the energy equation. If you’re on acute activity, the consumption is more; whatever you’re producing it’s not enough, after some time you feel exhausted because the consumption has been heavy. If you lower the consumption and increase the production, after sometime you feel energized. Suppose you’re running, if you run a mile, after that you can’t take another step, let’s say. Oh, many of you have been running for Isha marathons, Isha Vidya marathons, forty, forty-two kilometers, all right, whenever – after a mile or two you can’t take another step, don’t eat anything, don’t drink anything, just sit down for ten minutes, again you’re fine, rejuvenated, isn’t it? All you have done is lowered the consumption, production is still at the same level.
So now there are ways to lower the consumption and increase the productivity also. So if you come to a certain state of ease… When I say ease, it’s not something that most people will ever understand because most people are not at ease. If you’re at total ease, if the system is at total ease, everything is at ease; it is well rested, always it is rested. Because it’s so rested throughout the day, if you sleep in the afternoon, do you see you can’t sleep much in the night? Yes? Oh, you’re already experimenting? (Laughter) What Lalitha, you _______ (Unclear) get to sleep in the afternoon? If you sleep in the afternoon you can’t sleep much in the night unless you’re sick or you’re very tired because of something, because it’s well rested in the day, it can’t sleep in the night. So you don’t have to necessarily sleep. If you sit here also, if your body is resting, you will see your sleep quota will naturally shrink.
How to increase the quality of sleep? Don’t try to increase the quality of sleep. The ideal way to live is there is no sleep in my life, but that’s not possible right now, still body has some inertia, so it sleeps minimum, rest of the time it is at ease. If you keep this at ease then sleep does not occur to the body unless it comes to a certain point of exhaustion. So body is never ever asking for sleep but it is definitely asking for rest. If you do not know how to sit here in a restful manner, it’ll try to rest like this… (Gestures) (Laughter) If you can sit here totally at ease, it’ll sit here for hours without falling asleep. Otherwise this is the only way it knows how to rest. (Gestures) So do not try to increase the quality of sleep, there’s no such thing. Just learn to keep your body restful and at ease, consciously. If you sit here now, one simple thing you can do is, you sit down, you come and sit down here, just move your attention from the top of your head, down to your toes and see if everything is lose and easy and relaxed and at ease - are you sitting like this? (Gestures) (Laughter) If you sit, just bring this to ease as much as you can. Not everything is in your conscious level – as much as you can, consciously bring it to ease. You will see suddenly if you are the kind who will fall asleep at ten o’clock, if you simply… one hour if you sit here at ease, you will see your sleep will get postponed by half-an-hour, you won’t feel sleepy at ten, naturally you are awake.
So instead of trying to increase the sleep quality – no, you increase the quality of life. If you increase the quality of life, when I say increasing the quality of life, nothing in your life, whatever you may be doing, from simple breathing to any complex activity that you do in your life, the quality of that will not improve if you cannot do it with ease. Is that so? Hmm? Only when you can do something with total ease… Let’s say you’re riding a bicycle, if you’re riding like this, like this (Gestures) you can’t say you’re enjoying your cycling. If you can ride it with ease, with so much ease that even if you take off your hands, it’ll go only straight, the way you want it to go, you are at ease. Because you’re at ease, the quality of your cycling has improved, isn’t it? Or because the quality of your cycling has improved, you have come to an ease, whichever way. Only if you’re at ease, it means the quality of what you’re doing has reached a certain pitch. The quality of your life has reached… touched a certain dimension only because you’re at ease. So these two things are connected.
So if you enhance the quality of your life, naturally sleep quota will go down. If your quality of your life goes bad, you can’t do anything with ease, then also you cannot sleep. But stressfully you cannot sleep, not because you’re well rested you cannot sleep, you cannot sleep because you’re stressed out. If you do this, you will not live long. If you… if your body does not get enough rest, it will die, it will break… something will go. If you’re not at ease, that means you are in dis-ease (Laughter); you’re heading there. You are in dis-ease means you’re in a certain state of ill-health. But if we say you’re deceased (Word happens to sound as ‘dis-eased’), that means you’re dead. (Laughter) So don’t move into the direction of dis-ease, move into direction of ease. If you become totally ease, sleep quality… sleep quota will come down. Quality of sleep will be good because quality of life is good. You want to increase only the quality of your sleep, life does not work like that. If you wake up well in the morning, you’ll also sleep well in the night. (Laughs)
There’s a whole lot of systems… To give this to people, in the eastern cultures, in India particularly, all these systems are built into one’s life - of course they’re throwing it away because they all became modern. Modern means to be distressed, constantly in tension, agitated, worked up about everything, that means you’re really modern. Otherwise traditionally all these things were built in – from morning when you wake up till you go to sleep, what you should do, how you should handle yourself, all these things were fixed. Till the beginning of this generation, everybody was aware, suddenly they all became English-educated and they become modern and tense. (Laughter) Otherwise this was called achara vichara, what to do, what not to do, everything is built from morning to night, all aspects of life, how to do it. If you do it like that so that you can do everything with ease, as much ease as possible.
So those who were not able to dedicate their life to yoga and spiritual process, for them it was built into natural culture. At least this much ease you know, so that you wake up happily and go to sleep and sleep well. Even today this is a thing that they will say in India, if you… if people say, ‘What’s happened, you know, this happened, that happened in my life,’ they say, ‘That’s okay, but in my life if I lie down I sleep well.’ Hmm? ‘He might have made so much money, it's okay, but I sleep well.’ (Laughter) You see… hear this? People say this, it's part of the cultural expression. ‘I sleep well,’ means, ‘I’m living well. Only because I live well I can sleep well. If I’m not living well, I cannot sleep well. So do not try to increase the… improve the quality of your sleep. Improve the quality of your life, then you will naturally sleep well also. Hmm? You must eat well now. (Laughter) Hmm, please.