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Last Updated on December 18, 2020

How to Get Deep Sleep in 5 Steps Naturally

How to Get Deep Sleep in 5 Steps Naturally
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Why do we need sleep so much? Deep sleep is a blissful state of consciousness and our best beauty treatment. Can we learn how to get deep sleep? Of course!

Many of us have problems of getting quality sleep because of various reasons. The most common sleep disorder is insomnia[1]. Millions of people around the world suffer from insomnia.

Ultimately, deep sleep plays a crucial role for the quality of life we live.

From a biological perspective, a good night’s sleep is important for building a stronger immune system against infections, heart disease, and numerous of other illnesses. It rids our body of exhaustion and pain, frees our mind from any sorrow or worry, and may even prevent diseases like dementia and Alzheimer’s[2].

The Wisdom of Deep Sleep

If you’re wondering how to get deep sleep naturally, keep reading. Sleep is a mental phenomenon. Its subtlety and complexity, especially when it comes to deep sleep, is of a spiritual, metaphysical nature; however, it is impacted by various external factors.

These factors are the physiological and psycho-social aspects of our life that play a main role in sleep disorders. By not exploring the nature of deep sleep and neglecting the physiological and psycho-social aspects of our life, we can create negative habits that cause a vicious cycle that leads to poor sleep.

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Deep sleep is explored and practiced in one of the most concise and most important texts of Indian philosophy, the Mandukya Upanishad. The wisdom in this mystic text is quite compressed and might be ungraspable at the beginning, but it offers the answers on deep sleep and the other three levels of consciousness.

I’ve been exploring this subject matter for over seven years and have discovered that, apart from the physiological and psycho-social prep work for going to sleep, a certain sense of spirituality and a recognition of the ego is necessary.

What Stops Deep Sleep?

The cause of sleeping disorders is most probably going to lead us to the fact of fragmenting the life of “one-self” in two entities:

  1. The social identity = me as individual (Ego)
  2. The external world = as not-me

Deep sleep is determined by behavioral influences. If there is no disruption in the circadian rhythm (sleeping during night and being awake during the day) or environmental factors (quiet, dark, rather cool sleeping room), then the question arises: why do I have problems with my sleep? Is there any mental disharmony (dissatisfaction, anxiety, stress, or depression) within me, that prevents me from enjoying deep sleep? If you want to learn how to get deep sleep, it’s important to answer these questions first.

To naturally transgress from the wakeful state of consciousness to the deep sleep state of consciousness, we need to develop a sleep ritual to ease us into deep sleep.

How to Get Deep Sleep Naturally

Try incorporating these five steps into your routine to prepare your body for deep sleep. By experimenting with each of these steps, you’ll find what does and doesn’t work for you and your consciousness.

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1. Shower at the End of the Day

This is a good way to calm down mentally and to feel comfortable and clean in your skin. If you have no possibility to take a shower, than wash your face and teeth properly. Enjoy this step and start slowly retreating from the day. Make this one of your last physical activities for the day.

Express gratitude that you’re able to retreat peacefully, wherever you are and whoever you’re with. Stop talking, verbally as well as mentally.

2. Shut Down the Mental Chatter

Decide not to think about anything that concerns tomorrow, yesterday or today. Your highest priority is sleep.

Your smartphone and the rest of the gadgets should be switched off, your kids should be tucked in, and everything should be set to hibernation mode. In case something happens and takes you out of this step, step 3 below is the technique to be applied.

3. Soothing Exercises

There are several relaxation techniques you can do to sooth your body before sleep. Stretch your spine by pulling up your arms above your head. Let your breathing lead the body movement in order to relieve tension in your muscles. Gently rotate your pelvis, making circles to the left then to the right. Do this for at least 3-5 minutes.

For another 3-5 minutes, stretch your mandibular muscles by gently opening and closing the jaw. Massage your head, neck, and jaw muscles, gently circulating with your hands. This will relieve this whole area of tension and prepare your body to fall asleep easier and quicker. Again, let your breathing lead the movement of your hands.

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4. Deep Breathing

If you try nothing else before going to sleep, at least give this a go. Slow, controlled breathing can reduce your heart rate, lower stress hormones[3], and relax your muscles, all of which are essential in preparing your body for deep sleep.

Simply pay attention to your breath and breath gently, slowly and deeply. Following the flow of your breath will break down the process of thinking.

This conscious, deep breathing technique is the only natural way to stabilize your heart rate, your body temperature, and calm/cease your mental fluctuations. As a result, the nervous system soothes and stabilizes the production of hormones.

All these factors take you more effectively and more efficiently to the so called N3 stage of NREM sleep:  deep sleep.

5. Meditation

Continuous, conscious deep breathing leads you automatically to a meditative state of mind in which all bodily functions are balanced and prepared to regenerate in sleep. Do the following meditation practice:

Consciously generate thoughts about how your breathing pattern will take you from this wakeful state of consciousness to deep sleep in a peaceful way. Meditate on yourself as a pure being that has no form or name. This is quite abstract, but so is deep sleep. In the state of deep sleep, there is no body, no mind, and no experiencer. So, let your “self” be carried into deep sleep by not analyzing how it’s done.

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When the state of deep sleep has transgressed to the state of wakefulness, the concept of the social identity acknowledges the experience of nothingness.

Once you’ve gained expertise in this step, you will never have problems falling asleep, given that your circadian rhythm and environmental factors remain in tact.

Final Thoughts

Many people have their own specific sleep-ritual approach that involves physiological, psycho-social and spiritual aspects. The bottom line is that, if you want to know how to get deep sleep, you must find a way to silence your mind to the extent where no concepts, ideas, or beliefs can influence your wakeful state of consciousness.

Take this sleep-ritual approach and allow yourself to put everything aside in order to effortlessly and carelessly transgress into deep sleep.

Pay respect to the power of your intelligence that keeps your body healthy every single day, enabling you to enjoy the wonders of life, of which the biggest one is you.

Let go of your dilemmas and look deep inside yourself, where the infinite silence of deep sleep resides.

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More Tips on How to Get Deep Sleep

Featured photo credit: Gregory Pappas via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] American Sleep Association: Insomnia: Symptoms, Causes & Treatment
[2] National Institute of Health: Sleep deprivation increases Alzheimer’s protein
[3] Neurological Science: The role of deep breathing on stress

More by this author

Marcin Gil

Marcin is a spiritual being just like anyone challenging to uncover what we already have โ€“ spiritual freedom.

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Published on July 15, 2021

Shift Work Disorder: 17 Ways to Manage it Better

Shift Work Disorder: 17 Ways to Manage it Better
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Are you having trouble sleeping? Or do you feel like you can barely stay awake when you need to? Are you left tired and irritable, lacking the joy and motivation that life once brought? If these complaints are tied to your long or rotating work schedule, you may be suffering from shift work disorder—a common ailment among professions with schedules outside the typical 9 am to 6 pm range.[1]

Why does it matter? Let’s be honest—being tired stinks. It feels terrible and leaves you vulnerable to many health risks that well-rested people aren’t as susceptible to. Not only that, but it can also wreak havoc on your relationships and quality of life.

The good news is that there are plenty of ways to help manage this, and you can start trying them out today! Some of the solutions may not be what you expect. For instance, you might have linked improved sleep to exercise, but did you know that being compassionate with yourself can also have an impact?

Who Are Affected by Shift Work Disorder?

Twenty-five million people are shift workers in the country, so you are far from alone if you are struggling with this. Shift work disorder is a condition frequently affecting anyone who works a job where their schedule is outside standard business hours. Nurses, police officers, firefighters, and factory workers are common examples of professions with schedules that rotate around the clock.

Rotating shifts naturally leads to a change in one’s schedule, including sleep. As your sleep schedule becomes more chaotic, your body is unable to adjust and regulate itself and can result in having difficulty falling or staying asleep. This inevitably leads to less sleep, which is where some big problems can arise.

What Are the Symptoms?

Sleep is one of the most important (and underrated) aspects of our lives. Enough sleep and good quality sleep are critical to our emotional, mental, and physical health.

Insufficient sleep can lead to a significantly increased risk of physical health problems, such as cancer, cardiovascular disease, and gastrointestinal disorders. Mentally, being tired contributes to having scattered concentration, difficulty processing information, and being more likely to make mistakes or have an accident. Emotionally, the fallout of being chronically exhausted is linked to poor emotional regulation including being irritated more quickly, as well as an increased likelihood of developing anxiety and depression.[2]

Any of this sound familiar? If so, keep reading for some scientifically-based tips to help you manage your sleep better and get your life back.

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17 Ways to Manage Shift Work Disorder Better

Quality sleep, or the lack thereof, impacts us physically, mentally, and emotionally. The most impactful plan of attack against shift work disorder and to regain quality sleep must also reflect that.

I suggest reading through all of the tips and formulating a plan based on what you think will work for you. Start by trying out one thing and build from there as you are able. Remember to construct a plan that addresses your physical, mental, and emotional health.

Let’s start in the most obvious place first:

Your Job

1. Make Your Schedule the Best It Can Be

Randomly rotating shifts has been found to have the worst impact on our health.[3] If you have to rotate your schedule, request to rotate shifts in a clockwise fashion.

For example: work the day shift, rotate to the nights, then to the early morning shift, then start back on the day shift. Sounds silly? It’s not. Studies show that our bodies more easily adjust to changes in schedule when completed in a clockwise manner.[4] This is because of something called our circadian rhythm—24-hour cycles that are part of the body’s internal clock that carry out essential functions. The most commonly known of these is sleep. It has been discovered that our circadian rhythm adjusts forward more easily than it does backward.

2. Speak to Your Manager About Keeping Your Workplace Bright

Special lights have been designed to assist with circadian rhythm. It turns out that absorbing bright light that is most similar to sunlight can positively impact regulating our circadian rhythm.[5]

3. Avoid a Long Commute to and From Work

Having a long drive home after working a rotating shift is statistically not in your best interest. It’s been shown that fatigued/sleepy employees are 70% more likely to have a workplace accident and 33% more likely to be involved in a traffic accident.[6]

To avoid putting yourself at risk by driving when you’re not at your best, catch a nap before leaving work, pull over to sleep, or stay at a friend’s house nearby.

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4. Speak to Your Manager About Your Concerns

Many companies that operate around the clock are willing and able to make accommodations to those working alternative shifts. Whether it’s helping you find a schedule that works best for you or connecting you with other programs designed to support your well-being, being in good communication with your employer is to everyone’s benefit.

Sleep Attitudes and Environment

5. Change Your Perspective and Start Prioritizing Sleep

Here’s the deal: despite some pretty well-known dangerous effects of not getting enough sleep, somewhere along the line, our society began to think of sleep as a luxury. Some even consider it a badge of honor to “power through” without much (or any) sleep. People have been made to feel embarrassed or lazy if they get the recommended amount of sleep each night.

Here’s the bottom line: sleep is not a luxury.

Let me repeat that—sleep is not a luxury, and getting a consistent and healthy amount does not make you a slacker. Sleep is actually when our body does a lot of repair work on itself—blood vessels, muscles, and other organs. Sleep also boosts our immunity.

If we could help people feel as proud about sleeping as we do about them working out regularly or sticking to a healthy diet, people might be a lot healthier.

6. Make Your Sleep Space as Conducive to Rest as Possible

This means tweaking your environment so it’s as enticing as possible for your body to go to sleep. Keep the room dark using blackout blinds, reduce the temperature (our body rests best when slightly cool), limit interruptions (phone calls, visitors, noise), and remove electronic devices.[7]

Set yourself up for success by supporting yourself through your surroundings. If you wanted to lose weight, you wouldn’t frequently surround yourself with cookies, cake, and ice cream, right? Same idea here.

Personal Habits and Choices

7. Stick to a Regular Sleep Schedule as Closely as Possible—on Workdays and Days Off

This is obviously difficult when your schedule changes on the regular, but the more consistent you can keep your bedtime, the easier time your body has getting to sleep and staying that way.[8]

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8. Allow Yourself Time to Catch Up on Sleep

Having enough days off to rest and recuperate is an important aspect of protecting your health. You wouldn’t expect to be able to drive across the country on one tank of gas, right? Filling your own personal gas tank is just as important.

9. Take Naps, but Don’t Overdo It

It’s recommended by the Cleveland Clinic to take a 90-minute nap just before starting your shift and then a 30-minute nap during your “lunch break” at work.[9] Again, this is all about keeping some gas in your tank and not allowing yourself to get to the point where you are running on fumes. Short naps will help you stay refreshed and alert on the job.

10. Limit Caffeine to the Start of Your Shift

Most of us love a good hit of caffeine, especially when we are tired. But overdoing it or having caffeine too late in your shift can negatively impact your ability to get to sleep when you finally have the time to do so. Moderate your intake to help yourself get some quality sleep.

11. Avoid Alcohol Before Bed

Unwinding after work with a drink can be tempting. It can make you drowsy, which many people mistakenly believe will help them get better sleep. Unfortunately, alcohol will actually keep you awake (or wake you up later). This obviously impairs your ability to get the quality of sleep you are looking for.

12. Don’t Smoke

Much like alcohol, people turn to nicotine to “calm their nerves” or help them relax. Also, like alcohol, nicotine has been shown to disrupt sleep.[10] Cut back or cut this habit out as able.

13. Eat Well and Eat Smart

Choose convenient nutritious meals and snacks. Nutritious food is the foundation from which our body creates the needed chemicals for quality sleep. Foods high in saturated fat and sugar have been shown to have the worst impact on sleep.[11]

Also, timing is everything as they say. Eating too much or not enough before your shift can cause you to feel tired.

14. Get Regular Exercise

According to numerous studies, exercise can be as effective in treating sleep disorders as prescription medication.[12] Yes, you read that correctly—regular exercise is the bomb!

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This one can be tricky to convince people to do, especially if they are already tired and short on time. If you don’t have the time to hit the gym, take a brisk walk, dance around your living room to your favorite song, or mow your lawn. Despite feeling tired, getting up off the couch and moving around (moderate to vigorous exercise) is best for reducing the time it takes to get to sleep and improving the quality of sleep.

Mental and Emotional

15. Establish Consistent Practices That Help You Relax Before Bed

This can include yoga, deep breathing, a warm bath, progressive muscle relaxation, guided imagery, meditation, and hypnosis. These are designed to reduce physical tension and quiet your mind from thoughts that are keeping you awake. There are lots of great apps and free videos that can help you with this.

16. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, or CBT as it’s known, works by helping you to identify thoughts and behaviors that make sleep worse and then developing new habits consisting of thoughts and behaviors that promote sleep. There are psychologists and life coaches who are specially certified in CBT that can help you with this.

17. Show Yourself Some Compassion

Sounds silly? Well, it’s not. A seven-year study conducted at the University of Mannheim concluded that the daily practice of self-compassion positively impacted people’s quality of sleep.[13]

The concept of showing ourselves compassion is foreign (and uncomfortable) to many of us. Try going easy on yourself for being grumpy, and give yourself some credit for the efforts you are making in tough circumstances. What would you say to your best friend if they were struggling with the same situation? I routinely ask my clients this question as it’s sometimes easier to be compassionate to others than ourselves. This tip might take some practice, but the effort could result in a better night’s sleep.

Final Thoughts

Okay, there you have it—17 different ways you can help yourself manage shift work disorder, feel more rested, more like yourself, and enjoy life again. To get started with your plan, pick out a few tips that you can implement today, but remember to choose a well-rounded approach—addressing the physical, mental and emotional.

Be patient with yourself. It takes time to build new habits. And show yourself some compassion and kindness—you might just be able to sleep better when you do.

Featured photo credit: Yuris Alhumaydy via unsplash.com

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Reference

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