Healing In Your Sleep

August 15, 2017 33 Comments

Ready for something personal?  Gulp! Here we go.

A few months ago, I began to hit a serious dip in my energy levels.  Each day, I would wake up feeling like I had been beaten up in my sleep, rolling out of bed with pain in my muscles and zero energy.

Walking up the stairs felt like a herculean effort—and I’m in good physical shape. This wasn’t like me.

We try to do everything we can in our house to stay healthy.  Eat right, exercise, meditate, work with traditional healing practices, ceremonies—you name it.  After all, this is what I do for a living!

This “new” me felt off, and I was a little worried. As days passed, I began to wonder if something was really wrong.

So I called my friend, Dr. Williams, and asked him to do a full blood panel on me and see if any of my levels were out of whack. When everything came back normal, we did a recorded call where he asked me a seemingly obvious question: “Nick, how much sleep are you getting?”

The answer escaped me. “I don’t know—I’ve been really busy lately, so my sleep is a little off. Maybe six hours?”

“Nick, there’s your answer. When are you going to bed in the evening?”

“Midnight.”

“Nick, six hours of sleep is too low for you, even if your head hits the pillow at the optimal hour of night—which is generally by 10 p.m. at the latest. But six hours, starting at midnight on a continual basis—especially while raising a young family that wakes at the crack of dawn—is a recipe for disaster.”

Duh. How could I have missed this?  Once an expert sleeper, I had derailed myself somewhere along the line, and even worse, the lack of sleep had helped me forget that sleep was even that important. Whoa!

Bad habits can build upon themselves, derailing our discipline in the sneakiest of ways. Take my sleep sabotage for example.

Let’s say you’ve been good about getting to bed before 10 p.m. for three months straight, and your energy levels, personal relationships, and pursuit of your dreams is in full force. Yeehaw, watch out world!

Then something comes along that requires you to put in a few late nights and burn the midnight oil. It could be a professional responsibility, a family celebration, or a much-needed long talk with your partner after the world quiets down. So you decide to put your body’s innate sleep needs on hold for a few days while you attend to your life.

Two days pass, and you’ve taken care of business. Now it’s time to go back to sleep land, except your mind might have grown accustomed to having these newfound couple of hours at the end of the day and finds itself recategorizing this time as fun “loose-end time,” rather than its usual state of Zzzzzs.

It’s not uncommon for the morning after an all-nighter to feel a little rough. Maybe a little more caffeine will do the trick—just this once . . . or twice . . . or thrice.

But everything has side effects, and coffee, black tea, or energy drinks are no different. Aside from the jitters, caffeine can deliver serious energy plummets during the day, begging you to consume more, which if done during the afternoon or evening can keep your brain on overdrive well after normal bedtime hours.

A few weeks later, you may have forgotten about (or justified away) the old “early-to-bed” strategy that you used to hold so dear. Subtle things in your life might start to slip, whether it’s your physical health, ability to “show up” fully in the world with childlike vigor and open-mindedness, or a combination of the two.

Heightened feelings of stress might begin to build during your waking hours as well, which leads to more restless nights.

That’s where I found myself as I spoke with Dr. Williams, fully expecting to hear that I had some nutrient deficiency. And in a way I was right: I was missing a vitamin called sleep.

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Some quick science on sleep:

The vicious cycle of “stress causing poor sleep, which leads to causing more stress, which leads to causing more poor sleep” is a well-documented conundrum that affects many.

When a stressful event happens in your life, whether real or perceived, your body’s built-in fight-or-flight system, known as the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis (HPA axis), is activated.

If you’re being chased by a lion on an African savannah, this is a very handy feature to be equipped with. But most of the time our HPA axis is triggered by a non–life-threatening event or memory multiple times throughout the day, which can lead to all sorts of physical and behavioral challenges.

Recent studies of the past decade show that the arousal of the HPA axis throughout the day, a.k.a. “a stress event,” directly affects the quality of our sleep. The plot thickens with the abundance of data showing that poor sleep makes us much more reactive to external stressors, which arouse our HPA axis leading to more unhealthy sleep patterns.

Bottom line: more sleep = GOOD. There’s no two ways about it. If you feel a little off in life—  like I did—and can’t seem to shake it, try adding a few more hours of sleep each night.

There’s an old wives’ tale that says the hours of sleep you get in before midnight are worth twice as much as those you get after. Modern science has gone to great lengths to debunk this with a fair amount of success, but for some reason, this ancient rule of thumb works wonders with my body. Getting to bed before 9 (and sometimes by 8) is my secret recipe for luxurious, restorative slumber.

It quite literally healed my fatigue and gave me deep clarity in just a few nights. This is another area where we can experiment to find the magic sleep formula that works for us. But whatever you do, don’t forget that shut-eye is as important as food and water to your physical, mental, and spiritual well-being.

A sleep challenge for you: This one is so easy you could do it in your sleep. Actually, you kinda have to. For the next three days, put away your favorite nighttime distraction—sitcom, page-turner, or wine glass—and wrap the night up early. The goal is to be horizontal with eyes closed by 9 pm at the latest.

That’s it!  Try that for three days and please report back to us on how it affects your life. We’d love to hear about your experience.

Stay curious,

Nick Polizzi
Founder, The Sacred Science

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Filed Under: The Sacred Blog

About Nick Polizzi

Nick Polizzi has spent his career directing and producing feature length documentaries about natural alternatives to conventional medicine. Nick’s current role as director of “The Sacred Science” stems from a calling to honor, preserve, and protect the ancient knowledge and rituals of the indigenous peoples of the world.

View all posts by Nick Polizzi

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  1. zili liu says:

    To the needs of our customers, I center, with the times, macro-control, coordination, steady progress, balanced development. I lay a solid foundation for high-end consumption, while stabilizing the low-end consumer market. Текст сообщения: 1, it is necessary for us to begin meditation. If you don’t dare to think about it, you can’t talk about it. 2. believe that all are friends, there is no so-called enemy, so as to start things, there is no psychological burden, it is not afraid of failure. 3, to do things must be confident, successful, hard-working, never abandon, and fight for my own career, rather than for money, and set up their own correct beliefs, things do perfect success, money comes naturally. 4, when I was meditating, friends and relatives around to give a lot of support, if there is no relatives and friends support, must close oneself, so as not to interfere with things you do the confidence, finish your meditation, correct faith, life and values. 5, some people believe that some people don’t believe it. Destiny is in their hands, industrious, confident, smart, witty. Positive energy will naturally be strong, and you will succeed step by step, not predestined. Thank you very much, all the coaches, the teachers, and the creators of this great network project, without you, without today’s success. You are the best in the world. Is the most lovely friend in the world. Special prohibition: I was born in People’s Republic of China independently, a law-abiding citizen of People’s Republic of China, and I love my country. I forbid any words to attack and destroy our great country. Our country is moving towards prosperity step by step. I can understand。 Long for the best of us.I’d like to answer all the questions. But I’m a layman. All the people in the industry still need to make the final ruling. Hard and great days, we have created a miracle of history, complete the sacred mission of human civilization under the condition that nothing is available. I didn’t run away. I was always on the receiving end of the teacher’s call for a great training program.

  2. Delyth says:

    I have always loved my sleep !……last night and most nights Im in bed by 8.30pm. waking up at 8.30am. 10 to 12 hours is my normal sleep pattern, always waking totally refreshed and happy and rearing to go !

  3. marcu ioan says:

    don,t forget that the H>P>A axis is uder the control of the Brain .if an event don,t become conscious .,the hpa axis do not become active and the level of epinephrine,norepinephrine and cortisol don,t grow .so we speak here of a feed-back positive , or ,psychoneuroendocrinology .so all start from the highest level of the nervous system ,that part that make possible the conscious life .think about it .

  4. Barbara says:

    I’ve been going to bed by 9pm every night for 3 or 4 yrs now. I always wake up between 4 – 5am so I usually get 7 – 8 hrs nightly and that’s adequate for me. I usually wake up feeling rested and ready to go for the day. I stopped needing coffee about 1 yr ago. Now I drink a Matcha Latte (Encha brand is organic and I have it on automatic delivery monthly) every morning because it’s tasty and enjoyable. I highly recommend regular sleep hours.

  5. Patty says:

    Thanks Nick…I’ve been getting bed at 9:30 nightly but never fall asleep till 1 a.m. so it’s very frustrating g. I don’t drink caffeine. It’s menopause. How can I fall asleep earlier. I’ve been honestly trying.

  6. jay says:

    Nick good for you.
    And now you know why “secret police” use sleep deprivation on their micro-chipped and
    many other victims of torture!

  7. jay says:

    Good for you Nick.
    And now you know WHY sleep deprivation is one of the favorite tools the “secret police” uses
    to torture their micro-chipped victims.

  8. Whispers of Wings says:

    Dear friends there is so much going on right now…our bodies changing in ways we did not think was possible yet..listen to what it is telling you but also know there are cycles that are occurring and so much occurs at night. Your body elemental is trying to communicate with you more than ever so that these wonderful changes can occur with as much ease and grace as possible. Communicate back with it. It is a part of your “vehicle” and has been with you every time you have had physical life on Earth. This balance of Spirit and physical is critical and needed and as many awaken to the Spiritual being of who they are, the Body Elemental looks to you for wisdom. It knows that the release of much that it has had to hold for you comes from this wisdom. It was created knowing this partnership would eventually occur. It knows that the Spiritual Being can send it the precise frequencies and vibrations that it needs to stay vital. You are its steward. It would be helpful before you go to sleep to ask that your body receives what is appropriate and needed at that time. And go to your heart space, feel the love and then tell your body you love it. 🙂

  9. Nancy Rarick says:

    Hi Nick
    You do a great job, I truly enjoy reading your emails.
    Thanks,
    Nancy

  10. Will Sessions says:

    As a long distance runner and type 1 diabetic, I learned the hard way how important sleep is to my physical, mental, emotional and spiritual well being. I get up at 5 am every morning, EVERY morning, with or without an alarm so getting in bed early enough to get a full 8 hours of sleep is very important to me. Do I always succeed in this? No, I don’t. And when I don’t, the effect is noticeable. Thanks for this article Nick. I will be sharing it with my circles as I’m certain everyone could benefit from it and from getting more rest. Peace in your heart. Namaste.

  11. Kate says:

    It must be wonderful just to decide you’ll sleep. I feel rather resentful at constantly being told I must get more sleep or my health will suffer; I’m well aware of how important it is, but I just have trouble getting a good night’s sleep on a regular basis. I’ve followed all the advice and suggestions, believe me (another cause of resentment when people say “you must do this or that” when I’ve done it and it hasn’t worked!) Nick, you’re absolutely right to say these things to people who could be getting more sleep but just don’t bother. I can’t understand those people, and I hope they listen to you! But spare a thought for those of us who just can’t get a decent night’s sleep. Yawn…

    • Jolene says:

      Kate, I completely agree with you. So frustrating to try so many things to sleep better, and none of it works. I finally decided to let sleep be a “non-issue.” When I wake at 2 or 3 AM (after my usual 10:30 PM bedtime), I do breath exercises (Ujjayii) which are calming, and don’t worry about the fact that I’m not sleeping. Sometimes I get up and meditate for an hour or so, then if I’m tired I go back to bed. I get up between 7 and 8 AM, whether I’ve “slept” or not. Go on with my day, and don’t worry about it. I practice acceptance of whatever state I am in. Worrying about sleep is the worst thing you can do, as it begets more worry, and becomes a vicious circle!

      • Thank You says:

        Nick,

        Nice post, but disagree that one needs a specific amount of sleep everyday. As Jolene says above. The more you focus on getting sleep the less likely one is to fall a sleep quickly, stay at sleep and sleep well.

        Jolene:

        “whether I’ve “slept” or not. Go on with my day, and don’t worry about it. I practice acceptance of whatever state I am in. Worrying about sleep is the worst thing you can do, as it begets more worry, and becomes a vicious circle!”

        Practice being the key word above.
        Thank You

    • Be says:

      A good loving session with lots of orgasms will also help tremendously. Not to be crude, and can’t get any more “natural healing” than that. Works wonders for me when I can’t sleep:)).

  12. Mari says:

    I totally agree Nick! This is a great validation and I needed to be reminded about the caffeine addiction draining our adrenals. That’s a hard one. Much research says a little coffee is good for the
    brain and staves off dementia……?

  13. Deb says:

    All those hours of sleep sound great…unless you’re a farmer…morning chores start at 6am, and evening chores are hopefully done by 10pm, clean up and to bed hopefully bu 11pm. My favorite saying is “My axle is broken and my ass is draggin'” because I am chronically tired…but have to say after 40 years of functioning this way….I can do many things in my half awake state most people can not do with a full night sleep behind them 🙂

  14. Donna McKinnon says:

    I’m with you. I’m usually in bed by 9 except at summer’s peak or if I’m attending a social even. I might read for 30 minutes after getting into bed. I have no symptoms, take no medication and have lots of focused energy. I’m 70. I can miss a couple of nights sleep, usually when travelling, but beyond that I start to become unfocussed, unproductive, unbalanced and unhappy.
    I often imagine all the repair work that is occurring while I am sleeping – roads being paved at night.

  15. Barbara Sinclair says:

    Yay for your revelation, Nick! Sleep is the best medicine. Ayurveda has taught this for thousands of years. The hours between 10 pm – 2 am are the most healing, restorative, and reparative hours for the body (IF we’re asleep), and if we don’t go to bed before 10, we’ll get our second wind and have trouble falling asleep. For those who wake up in the wee hours of the morning and can’t get back to sleep, I’ve found that sitting up and meditating always leads to me falling back into a deep delicious sleep! I loved this article – thanks!

  16. brandy wismer says:

    You are so right! Bad habits sneak up on you and derail the hard won positive sleep habits. I really work on my night time wind down routine including a pre-bedtime walk and yoga session and have an absolute rule to keep books out of my bed. With my husband gone on a trip, first I skipped the walk, then the next night the yoga session and night before last the book came to bed with me and I was up and down all night, pulling out the book and reading. I know better and it only took 3 nights to screw up my sleep and waking up groggy and tired. Last night, back to my routine with herbal tea, quiet walk, restorative yoga, some light reading (NOT in bed) and I slept beautifully and woke up refreshed.

  17. Samuel says:

    How do I heal my heart? My Dr. Said I am wasting away .

  18. Shirley says:

    Why is it that 8 hours of sleep is more important from 10pm to 6am than it would be from midnight to 8am? I’m retired and don’t have to get up early. My body normally wakes up at 8am. I’m not tired til at least 11pm.

  19. Chris says:

    I would love to do this. But the type of job I hold, I usually don’t get off work between 8 p.m. to midnight, depending on what shift I work in. For some reason, my best sleep always comes before 10 a.m. anyway.

  20. Muriel Lindsay says:

    First of all, thank you for your blogs, and your personal sharings. I appreciate you and who you choose to be. In response to your blog about sleep, I have always been one who needed at least 8 hours or I would suffer the consequences. I go to bed at midnight usually because that is a match for finishing up my day, so I would usually wake up in the AM at 8 (naturally, without alarm clock) and feel rested. Then, about a month ago, having to do with a number of things, I started waking up and getting up at 6 AM, even though I was still sleepy and groggy because I discovered the glory of walking my dogs by the marsh when dawn is breaking. “Where have I been all my life” I asked myself as this way of launching the day was so soul nourishing, and my dogs were over the moon about it. I see where the vultures roost, and the egrets and herons start fishing, the woodpecker does his Woody Woodpecker imitation, the pelicans do their flybys, the crickets hum and it’s quiet and the light is sliding up the sky bringing colors in it’s wake. Just glorious. Then I come home, feed the dogs, and then go swim in the river for at least 30 minutes to an hour. Then come home and eat breakfast and meditate. All of this launches my day in the very best of ways. I would not change any of this for anything. However, I do get almost overcome with sleepiness in the early afternoon. I don’t do any caffeine other than mild green tea. I meditate once a day and, out of sheer fatigue, missing those two hours of sleep, I go very very deep (which is not a bad thing). I am experimenting to see if I can adapt to six hours vs. 8 hours of sleep without suffering really big energy drops. I take short naps when I feel I might pass out if I don’t. At this point, going to bed earlier does not feel feasible but . . . if I don’t adapt, I will reconsider. It is all a grand experiment, but how I love being out in nature when the world wakes up.
    Again, thank you for your sharings. You are appreciated, probably more than you know.

  21. Squafdonoboles says:

    Those of us who work till 3 AM cannot go to bed at 9 PM the previous night. I have no trouble getting to sleep by 5 AM and waking up at 1 PM.

  22. P-Daddy Worrall says:

    the book Earthing by Clinton Ober, Stephen T Sinatra, Martin Zucker will give you all you need to know about what happens when you connect with our Mother skin to “skin”.

  23. Erika says:

    Thanks for sharing! I always read your e-mails. They are helpful and inspiring.

  24. Vera says:

    Oh my gosh…I have gone through this numerous times. Staying up late so I can “relax” with wine…and wind down so I can sleep. Dead tired, but all wound up. The trick to going to sleep early is that I need to rise early the day or days before. Have found that a good 8 hours still seem to be required, though I always heard that when one gets “older”, they require less sleep. Not the case for me.

    Thanks for the reminder…I often forget about adequate sleep as well. 🙂

  25. john mchale says:

    Hi Nick Thank you for your email
    Good advice. The only problem is some people work regular night shifts and also the three 8 hour shifts Days Nights and Afternoon. 6 till 2. 2 till ten. and 10 till 6. I did this for 20 years and I was tired of being tired all the time. Even with long weekend breaks i would go back to work tired.
    It is true that shift workers do not live as long as regular day workers, as it upsets the natural rhythm of their body clock. Our early ancestors went to bed when the sun went down and got up when the sun came up. [No electricity in those days] I am retired now after 50 years of enjoyable and not so enjoyable work, and I don’t miss those cold early starts in the morning in the winter. Or propping my eye lids open and yawning my head off in the wee small hours of the morning at work.
    Doing all hours God sends at work makes you more wealthy, but it takes away time spent with your family which cannot be replaced in later years and does not do your health any good either.

  26. Pete Reid says:

    Thanks Nick for an insightful and informative account of what sleep deficiency really does. It chimes nicely with – and helps a lot – my current intention to get over the problem of neglecting sleep as a way of life.
    The so-called Old Wives’ Tale about sleep being better before midnight definitely works in terms of increased hours of darkness and raised melatonin levels – and becoming diurnally attuned to natural light levels outside at the start of your day. I think I’d put direct personal experience before ‘science’ on that one.

  27. Alexandra Seale says:

    I can affirm the every thing you have shared in your article, the result in my case was to experience a stroke which affected my left side. I have learnt a though lesson, now I am working on my recovery. I will heed the 9 pm exercise you mentioned. Knowing that I should have heeded the guidance I was receiving from the Divine realm and not following through is something I have to take stock off. However much we believe we are informed, we sometimes take our physical form for granted and ignore our messages. There are so many lessons one need to embrace.

  28. R Germaine Griffin says:

    My fiance works nights for a 12 hour shift (7 pm-7 am). How can we regulate his daytime sleep? Currently there are no daytime shifts available at his job.

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