The World Health Organization defines health as a resource for everyday life, not the objective of living. In order to create health for ourselves, there are three fundamentals we need to take care of: food, activity, and rest.
In a world of constant activity, we often tend to forget that the basis of activity is rest. Only when we have rested and are feeling healthy and vibrant will our activity be effective in the world. Sadhguru, yogi, mystic and foremost authority on yoga, offers the following tips to improve the quality of sleep or reduce sleep quota and delves into the relationship between sleep, food, and restfulness.
Sadhguru on Tips to Reduce Your Sleep Quota
#1 Don’t Battle With Life
Sadhguru: The body needs rest, not sleep. In most people’s experience, sleep is the deepest form of restfulness they know, so they talk about sleep. But essentially, the body is not asking for sleep, it is looking for restfulness. Your mornings would be pretty bad if your nights were not restful. So it is not sleep but restfulness that makes the difference.
If you keep your body relaxed throughout the day, if your work, exercise and every other activity is a form of relaxation for you, your sleep quota will go down naturally. The problem is that people have been taught to do everything hard – in tension. I see people walking very tense in the park. This sort of exercise will bring more harm than well-being. Don’t go at everything like it is a war. Whether you are walking, jogging or exercising, why don’t you do it easily, joyfully?
Don’t battle with life. Keeping yourself fit and well is not a battle. Play a game, swim, walk, whatever you like. You will only have a problem if all you want to do is eat cheesecake! Otherwise there is no problem about being relaxed with any activity.
#2 Bring Natural Foods in Your Diet
If you are sleeping eight or nine hours a day, one thing to look at is the food you eat. Consuming at least a certain amount of vegetarian material, particularly foods that can be eaten in their natural, uncooked condition is very important for your general wellbeing. When you cook food, a large volume of prana or life energy is destroyed. This is one reason why lethargy can set into the body. If you eat a certain amount of fresh fruits and vegetables, there are many benefits, but one thing you will notice immediately is that your sleep quota will come down.
#3 How Much to Eat
How keenly you manage your energies is what decides your alertness. To meditate, alertness should be not just of the mind but of your very energy. To assist this, for people on the yogic path, it is said that you should eat only twenty-four mouthfuls, and you must chew every mouthful at least twenty-four times. This will ensure that food is pre-digested in your mouth before it goes in, and it will not cause dullness.
#4 Don’t Forcefully Deny Sleep
How much sleep your body needs depends on the level of physical activity you perform. There is no need to fix the quantum of either food or sleep. When your activity levels are low, you eat less. When they are high, you may eat more. The same goes for sleep. The moment the body is well rested it will get up, whether at 3 AM or 8 AM. Your body should not wake up to an alarm bell. Once it feels sufficiently rested, it must come awake.
If you forcefully deny sleep to the body, your physical and mental capabilities and whatever else you have will drop. You should never do that. You must give the body how much sleep it needs.
#5 Don’t Sleep Right After You Eat
There are quite a few people who are in such a mental state that unless they load themselves with food and make the body dull, they cannot fall asleep. You must give sufficient time for digestion to happen before you sleep. I would say 80% of the food that you eat will go waste if you fall asleep within two hours of eating. If you are in a condition where you cannot sleep unless you have a full stomach, you need to address this issue. This is not about sleep, this is a certain mental state.
Sadhguru is a realized yogi, mystic and visionary who has dedicated himself to the elevation of the physical, mental, and spiritual well-being of all people. He is an author and opinion maker who is regularly invited to speak at leading international forums. He has spoken at many prestigious global conferences such as World Peace Summit at the United Nations and the World Economic Forum.
Learn more at: https://www.innerengineering.com/ieo-new/sadhguru/