Throughout the centuries many things have changed. We are living in rapidly changing times. But, one thing has not changed–and that is the human physiology.
The human physiology continues to be in tune with the rhythms of nature. Our basic physiological needs have remained constant. Sleep is, and always has been a necessary source of nourishment for the physiology.
Our modern culture supports an erroneous belief that if you snooze, you lose. Many people cut back on sleep so they can pack more activities into their waking lives. Is this wise? The ancients didn’t think so and modern science validates their thinking. Human beings often erroneously believe that sleep is a detriment to success. In truth, it is losing sleep that comes with a high price tag.
The mind-body suffers untold ailments if we accumulate a sleep debt. Mild depression can be a signal, telling us that it is time to wake up to reality and sleep more. A bout of major depression, on the other hand, is our physiology’s way of taking its due. Rest is a most powerful antidote for depression: it prevents and cures it.
From the cellular level to the subtle spirit realm, sleep provides a number of healthful benefits:
Give your cells a refreshing bath.
Sleep allows a for a change in the chemicals that bathe all of the cells of the body, thus enabling the process of renewal. In other words, sleep maintains our vitality by promoting the repair and renewal of tissues.
Rebuild neural networks.
The saying “Sleep on it and you’ll see things differently in the morning” is based on hard facts. Basically, while you sleep, new brain patterns are created.
Clean up your act.
While you sleep “Cleanup crews” collect and discard toxins and cellular debris. During sleep your digestive fire burns off the toxins in your system. With toxins (ama in Sanskrit) the drama of depression is gone. Unimpeded by gunk, the delivery channels in your body will be able to carry your life force, or prana.
Give a lift to your spirit.
Sleep provides the mental clarity you need to develop self-awareness. It adds depth to your thinking, allowing a great appreciation of the richness of the abstract aspects of our lives—-that which we can only see with the mind’s eye.
Heal a broken heart.
Sleep deprivation creates ill health. In order to stay awake, your body is forced to continuously activate your sympathetic nervous system. It is as if you are keeping your foot on the gas pedal and revving up the engine even when you are parked.
The connection between sleep and heart health is especially significant. The long-term effects of revving up the body to counteract a lack of sleep can be very negative. Sleep debt can cause the following–and these easily harm the heart.
- Raised blood pressure.
- Weakened immune system
- Increased blood levels of stress hormones, especially cortisol, resulting in your body feeling as if it is constantly under siege.
- Feelings of fatigue and sickness. The body encounters difficulty in regulating its energy level.
- A disturbance in the electrical impulses that create the rhythmic beating of your heart. An unsteady heartbeat leads to inefficient pumping.
Literally, lack of sleep can break your heart. Sleep debt challenges our resiliency. Good spirits do come in a bottle, but sleeping at night is definitely the healthier way for them to be engendered.