SLEEP IS REVITALIZER #1
BECOME AN ABSOLUTE EXPERT AT IT!!!!!!!


Draft form, read the key article on this site cited below, as it has sufficient sleeping prep and practices information.
CONTENTS

Key points
The extreme importance
What it does
The cost of a bad night's sleep
Absolutely worth mastering
The sub-skills
Preparation for sleep
Read also
Resources
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This is mandatory, mandatory, mandatory and absolutely essential that you make sure you sleep deeply, effectively - and that you are fresh, sharp, and fully rested every morning.  This is vital, essential, of the utmost importance, a top, top priority.  Do it well, and it will have a huge, huge payoff.  In fact, you should become a master at this key component of life and tolerate no compromise!

                                                               The BuddhaKahuna

Being skilled at this will benefit you more than 20,000 times.
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OVERVIEW POINTS

Sleep

1.  allows the body to repair itself and to increase its immunity strength
2.  allows time for the mind to "integrate" occurrences and learning, increasing psychological resilience.

Two key factors:

1.  Quantity - minimum of 5 cycles, about 8 hours (can't get away with less)
2.  Quality - time actually asleep (not awakened) without body energy drawn aside to change temperature or tension or uncomfortability or light or noises, starting with enough Melatonin or body won't repair (cut off blue light before sleep - see prep for sleep, below)


WARNING!

You cannot "get away with" not sleeping enough.  Sleep deprivation puts one at the same level of functionality of a legally drunk person.  You try to make up for it all day, feeling not as well as you could feel, having "periodic shutdowns" that you are not aware of (as the body turns itself off for blinks of the eye as a way to rest), not thinking alertly, not being sharp, functioning less well in relationships, and a drop of at least 30% in productivity.  Oh...and you'll gain more weight.  Your confidence will be lower.  And your immune system will be compromised, while you DNA will be likely not to replicate well, causing cancer.  And so on and on.  You can't afford not to do sleep adequately!

Zombies, even if not high on the scale of zombiehood, do not do well in life!

Be sure that you live your life honoring the process to maintain a high functioning homeostatic balance at all times!


KEY POINTS

Having less than 7 hours of sleep or more than 9 hours damages the balance of your hormones and throws off the body's functions.  Plus one eats more when one hasn't slept enough!

Having irregular schedules of sleep, throwing off the natural sleep rhythms, causes both fatigue, erratic body function, and psychological unrest (anxiety) plus the inability to think logically - not good!!!!  One must avoid destabilization no matter how much effort and discipline it takes.  See the piece on Destabilization.

Trying to function when the arousal system and the resting system are in a dead heat causes one to feel tired and to be unproductive.  This occurs in the afternoon, and should be charted by you.  Taking a nap (just as many countries have learned) will increase your cognitive alertness for about the next six hours - a tremendous payoff in itself, with a large physical stabilization effect (blood sugar, etc.).


THE EXTREME IMPORTANCE

It is seemingly grossly obvious that sleep is of the greatest value (and necessity), yet most people take it for granted and do not honor it for all its vital importance for one's life, emotionally and physically.

We cannot function well without sufficient, reliable, consistent energy supply. (Duh!)


WHAT IT DOES

Your body shuts down and repairs itself.   Your major organs are restored.  Your immune system recharges. Old cells are replaced with new ones.  Your mind relaxes and orders its thoughts, creating a healthy mental state.


THE COST OF A BAD NIGHT'S SLEEP

A bad night's sleep is costly:   Feeling not so good, not functioning as well, not thinking as well, being less productive, raising likelihood of diabetes, causing "sleep drunk" (as Don Colbert, MD, calls it), endangering others lives, being more susceptible to disease, eating more, and relationships not going as well.

You'll eat more and are more likely to gain weight.  You will not function well on the job nor in interpersonal relationships.  Your psychological well-being will suffer tremendously, as well as your losing "strength" to handle life itself.


ABSOLUTELY WORTH MASTERING

Logically, it seems eminently obvious that one's effort in mastering sleep would have a huge, unquestionable payoff.  But most people only read the occasional article and then follow good practices for a short period of time, drifting off into neglect and forgetfulness. 

In the mastery of any area so complex as sleep, it is vital that one master the most important sub-skills (skills which are also useful elsewhere in life).  The sub-skills lie in doing the opposite of "awake" behaviors.  Calmness versus alertness.  Serotonin vs. norepinephrine (adrenaline, etc.).  Dark vs. light.  Relaxation vs. tensing for action.  No thought vs. lots of thoughts.  No activity vs. hyper activity.

Do not stop short of becoming an expert at this, for it is done more than 25,000 times, which would multiply your errors, or, if you do it more right, it will multiply your benefits.  DO NOT STOP SHORT ON BECOMING AN EXPERT!

Implement each piece on the Sleep Checklist!!!!!.

[If you spent 100 hours perfecting all the pieces, you would easily gain back more than 10,000 hours, a 100 to 1 return for your efforts!]


THE SUBSKILLS

All the subskills have to do with lowering activity and thought levels.

Relaxation

Meditation

Peace Of Mind

Napping  (less than 45 minutes to avoid going into stage 3 sleep) will often restore the body dramatically - and it will help one to sleep better.  Note that a body that is sleep deprived is in a state of exhaustion and thus also tension, which are both the opposite of what we want in order to go to sleep, as the body does not function well being that far out of balance.  It is imperative through the use of napping or other relaxation skills that you rebalance the body and not tolerate it being out of balance for very long (in fact, it is acceptable only in dire emergencies).

Keeping one's blood sugar stable, avoiding any whipsawing that damages the body.  See Nutrition And Mood.

It is vitally important that you do not compromise on these essential skills and practices.


THE PREPARATION FOR SLEEP (See The Sleep Checklist.).

If you exercised, ate alot, engaged in a competitive game, shined a bright light in your eyes, you would being doing the opposite of what works.

The most obvious rule for creating what works is always doing the opposite of what doesn't work. 

Turn off computers, TV, and all sources of blue light two hours before bedtime or wear blue light filtering lenses.  (Specific recommendations are in The Sleep Checklist.)

Lower your body activity level by ramping down for an hour before sleep.  A hot bath (as it relaxes, which is of course good, and it also starts the cooling down process afterwards that coincides with going into sleep). 

Use the meditation and relaxation skills that put one close to the brain wave levels of sleep (as the transition is easier if you're right next to the sleep level!). 

Don't exercise within 4-5 hours of sleeping.  But do exercise regularly, as it calms and conditions the body.

No nicotine, caffeine, or alcohol within 5 hours of sleep.  8-12 hours is how long caffeine stays in the system, so if you have any difficulty sleeping, stop caffeine accordingly that long before sleep.

Don't eat a large meal later than 3 hours before bedtime.  Eat more carbohydrates (but no high glycemic foods as those create sleep problems) and almost no protein.  But do eat a small complex carbohydrate snack before bedtime, as it helps generate serotonin, which calms one.

No exciting reading (and most people recommend not reading in bed at all, though I find it a great way to slow down).  No TV an hour before bedtime

It is important, especially for poor sleepers, to set a specific regular bed and wake up time and to stick to it as if it were life or death (or at least a major determinant of the quality of life).

Herbs that relax one (though they may not be proven): Valerian, chamomile, lavender, hops, and passion-flower.


READ ALSO

See the data on how to sleep in Sleeping Better And Sleeping Less.

For the standard stuff read this Sleep leaflet (from the Royal College Of Psychiatrists).


RESOURCES

Sleep leaflet - From the Royal College Of Psychiatrists

Interesting, From A Different Point Of View:

Werner Erhard takes this one step further. Werner asserts bringing love and kindness to sleep ie bringing love and kindness to bear on the being you are in sleep, transforms sleep. And it's possibly even more than that. Bringing love and kindness to sleep ie bringing love and kindness to bear on the being you are in sleep, transforms tiredness, the waking experience of the autonomicity of sleep, as well as sleep.
                                                  From Sleep After Transformation (IV)  






Outside sleep "pamphlet": Sleep leaflet - From the Royal College Of Psychiatrists

Books out since I wrote this

Sleep Smarter, Stephenson

Thrive!, Huffington
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MAKE SURE YOU ARE DOING THIS:

The rules!

I have a simple "sleep rules" box, to refer to for me.  See the checklist below, sidebar on this page:

Sleep Checklist - I follow each of these.

Tools and resources

Sleep Tools And Resources 

Definitely related!

This is also a chief component of the super-big need to attain and maintain a high functioning homeostatic balance in order to live life well.

Significant:

Melatonin
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RELATED

"I'm Not Sleeping Well" -
    "Barbara"

Thought Handling, Calming
   And Relaxing To Sleep

Insomnia

Napping 

Energy Management
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Energy Rest Contents/Links 

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Careful on statistics!

We often assume that if two things are true about something that one might have caused the other.

In studies, it turns out that people who sleep 6.5 hours, instead of 7.5 or 8.0 hours, have less chance of dying in any current year.

So, some people might conclude that they should sleep less in order to live longer.

But that is erroneous thinking, as a causal relationship has not been established.

What is probably true is that there is a co-relation ("correlation"), where both are caused by the same cause: a person being in better health or in less stress so that they need less repair time. 

An incentive to become more healthy could be that it will allow you to sleep less (but better so that the needed repairs and integration are done completely enough to feel refreshed with good energy all day.