Is This Why We’re Chronically Sleep Deprived?
One in three U.S. adults don’t get enough sleep, according to a recent study conducted by the CDC. Sleep is critically essential to our health, as our bodies do their repair work while we’re in dreamland. (If you’re curious how much sleep is enough, the CDC says we need about seven hours of shuteye to recharge our batteries at night.)
It doesn’t take a scientific study to tell us that not getting enough rest just makes life miserable. From new parents to those with shift jobs, teenagers whose classes start far too early for their biological clocks, and those of us who just can’t seem to turn off the light, not getting enough sleep can feel like a domino effect taking us deeper and deeper into late-night frustration that spills over into the next morning.
No rest for the wicked
One reason we don’t sleep enough might be that our screens are always tempting us to check out just one more thing. (Thanks Apple.) However, that screen brought forward an epiphany for me this week. As I scrolled through Instagram, reading up on #selfcare, this caught my eye:
“My mama says the reason we can’t sleep is that sleep requires peace.”
That stopped me in my scrolling tracks. It’s so obvious. So many of us are chronically stressed, and the result is that we’re chronically sleep deprived as well.
Falling asleep requires us to turn off all our distractions and then drift off. When we’re anxious, stressed, or fearful about what’s going on in our lives, the quiet space in our minds starts to fill up with all those tensions and holds us hostage when what we really want is to find rest so we can work on changing things for the better.
We might hardly be “the wicked” who apparently don’t deserve rest, but all of the stress we feel today keeps us from finding the rest we need to feel good and share our best selves tomorrow. It’s completely unfair.
The proven connection between stress and sleep
In fact, the findings from the CDC seem to corroborate what was said by the wise Instagram mama, noting that:
“People who reported they were unable to work or were unemployed had lower healthy sleep duration (51 percent and 60 percent, respectively) than did employed respondents (65 percent). ”
The science has spoken. Stress kills sleep. Those of us who are working hardest just to make it are having the hardest time finding the rest we need to fuel up and make good changes happen in our life. This just isn’t fair. But there are tools that can help us fix it.
Can’t sleep? Get some guidance
If you’re struggling to sleep, there are tools to help you. Yoga nidra is basically “the yoga of sleep.” In fact, the word “nidra” means sleep in Sanskrit, an ancient Indian language. It’s often said that an hour of yoga nidra equals three or four hours of sleep, and while no studies have been conducted on that claim, many people who regularly practice yoga nidra guided meditation will probably tell you that is true.
Yoga nidra is a guided meditation experience that you do lying down at rest, just like sleeping. Typically, people work up to staying aware during their nidra practice, while letting their body rest deeply. That can take time though, and often, people who are new to the practice fall asleep the first few times. If you need rest, your body will do what it can to get it, so it’s not unusual for busy or stressed people to fall asleep during every practice.
Since yoga nidra is guided, it helps us listen to the call to connect with peace that’s inside all of us. A guided yoga nidra journey can help you tune out all the anxious voices and instead begin to connect with your own internal power to heal.
It’s ironic how powerful yoga nidra can be, since on the outside it just looks like a delicious, lazy yoga nap. On the inside, it’s common to experience deep, transformative healing that reconnects us to the peace that is essential to sleep, not to mention feeling okay about life in general. With regular practice, you might not even need nidra, because you’ll heal all the hurt that keeps you from finding peace when you close your eyes.
Practice your way to peace
Curious to give it a try? We share free yoga nidra guided meditation for everyone on our supernova yoga nidra Podcast available on our website, as well as our YouTube, Spotify, Apple and Google Podcast channels. We usually share insight journeys in honor of the supernova yoga nidra lineage and tradition, but this week, we’ll be working on a special, slower practice designed to help you find sleep if that’s been elusive for you. Stay tuned for that brand-new experience publishing on Friday.
If you know anyone who could use a good night’s rest, please, share this work so that we can all help each other heal. Our world needs more love and light, and getting the rest we need will help us all find the strength we need to make positive, powerful change happen.