We spend one third of our lives sleeping. It is a vital time for our bodies as it is a time of toxic removal. A lack of sleep affects the brain, heart, lungs, metabolism, immune function, mood, disease resistance, high blood pressure, cardio disease, diabetes, depression and obesity. It is a big chunk of our wellness. Most scientists believe that we should have 7-9 hours of sleep but many people fall short of that. As we get older our bodies may require less. The average person dreams for two hours per night. This is a time to process emotions. When you are stressed out or with alot of anxiety you may experience frightening dreams.
For Native Americans, it was important to have dream recall as they knew that it was a window into the mind. Almost all religions believe that during sleep time it is the soul that travels into other dimensions. Because our unconscious being can travel, often we will encounter spirits and our deceased loved ones in these dimensional realms. Native Americans would place the intention before bed to go to their ancestors for advice. Dreams are a lot about the symbolism more than the reality so it is important to go deeper into the messages more than what the mind translates. The soul can learn a lot in sleep time, it often travels to places of teaching and teachers. Many mystics have a sleep journal and overtime you can have come remarkable revelations about yourself and your life by keeping track.
Our Pineal Gland is essential to healthy sleep. The pineal gland is the body’s source for melatonin. Melatonin is an important chemical that affects our mood, circadian rhythms, the immune system and our sleep. It is also helpful to manage stress and helps anti-aging and suppresses cortisol. It quiets the mind for access to higher consciousness. Melatonin is produced while we are in darkness and stops when we are in light. When light hits our eyes in the morning it is also the source of serotonin a chemical that we require to wake up! Light enters your eyes and your optic nerves detect it and sends a message to the pineal. A chemical reaction takes place and serotonin kicks in getting you ready to start the day. This whole process is activated by the light hitting the eyes. For more information about activating your Pineal gland you can go here.
I highly recommend preparing a crystal grid in the bedroom. This can be a very powerful way to sweeten your dreams and bring you in contact with the spiritual and angelic realm. In every corner of my bedroom I have a piece of rose quartz. This provides a screen to all the energies that may be circulating around me at night. I program them to allow only those frequencies that align with the heart to enter my sacred sleeping space. At least once a month I will wave some Palo Santo smoke into the corners of the bedroom to release any stuck energies. I also make a sleeping bag! Now this is not what you think but instead it is a lovely pouch that I add fresh lavender to and then pop one or a combination of these crystals: Azurite, Lapis, Amethyst, Labradorite, Kyanite, Danburite, Herkimer Diamond, Iolite, Apophyllite, Selenite, Topaz, Sodalite or Zoisite with Ruby. You can go here and download my full guide of what crystals to use for certain life situations. I will also spray my pillow with Lavender before bed as well. You can also place the bag under the bed as well or create another grid with the same stones there. Another trick with crystals is to drop some amethyst into a glass of water that you drink before heading to bed. Leave the glass with the water in it on your night stand with your intention for the next day written on a piece of paper under the glass. Drink the water when you wake up as your intention potion. It will also help to program your dreamtime to support what you need to wake up to in the morning.
If you cannot sleep, I recommend considering natural herbs before you head to the pharmacy with a prescription for Ambien. Western meditation is all about sedation, but the problem with that approach is that you do not wake up rested.
Here are my favorite herbs to recommend for sleep:
Ashwaganda: It is not a sedative but after taking it for a month or two you will start to see that your circadian cycles will be re-established. It also helps with stress management, anxiety and stress.
Valerian Root: Valerian root helps you get to sleep. The best dosage is to take 1 gram the first night, 2 grams the second night and increase it every night. The only issue with valerian root is that it only lasts around four hours so if you wake up you may need to have another dose if necessary.
Hops flower: This is a wonderful flower that really helps with sleep. Making a tea prior to sleep can be very helpful.
Poppy Seeds: Remember the Wizard of Oz when Dorothy wakes up in a field of Poppies? Poppy seeds are very powerful for sleep, taking four tablespoons can be significantly helpful.
Skull Cap: If you have a monkey mind, this is the perfect herb. It stops obsessive thinking, wound up energy by unraveling thoughts and nervous responses. It also works for twitching or any other uncontrollable energy.
Nutmeg: It should be freshly ground and its potency will last two weeks. Take 1 gram four hours before heading for bed since it takes time to kick in.
Here are some great tips to improve your sleep
It is important to get yourself on a sleep schedule – Try to maintain the same hours every day.
Exercise 20-30 minutes per day and in the morning.
Avoid caffeine, nicotine and alcohol.
Have a relaxing routine before heading for bed, perhaps a soothing bath.
Make your bedroom a sanctuary, fluffy pillows and and a comfortable place with colors that support sleep.
If you can’t sleep, don’t just lie there, get up and read or listen to music.
Ask your electrician to put an internet “kill” switch that you can flip when you head for bed.
Keep the room cool where you sleep. It is always easier to fall asleep in the cold. Set your air conditioner for 65 degrees.
You may also want to consider a tape of binaural beats which help to attune you into the frequencies of sleep.
Get a real alarm clock and leave your phone out of the bedroom.