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Fatigue is epidemic. Take a look at grocery store shelves that are stocked with Red Bull, Five hour energy drinks, and No -Doz Pills. These are just a few of the many products on the market to keep us pumped up and wired. It makes me wonder, have we all forgotten how to rest and sleep? What about honoring our bodies? Why not sleep when we are tired and rest when our bodies tell us we need to slow down. Have we all lost our siesta sense?

We all know we need lots of sleep, yet we fight it with stimulants. Often we are so charged up, that we toss and turn night after night. During the day we think how much we love our beds, eat sugary donuts and wash it down with caffeinated beverages. Anything to keep going.

Where does this leave all of us? Sick and tired. And as I am sure you can tell, from looking around at your friends and family members,  that most us are not getting enough of rest.  Sleep, an essential component of good health has largely been ignored. There is no substitute for sleep, and many feel it is a waste of time. But, please remember that  it is an essential part of your daily life. It is a a time for rejuvenation,  insights and other healing processes.

So, if  you woke up this morning, less than well rested, you are not alone. It has been estimated that between 10 and 34 percent of Americans suffer from insomnia. Ok, brace yourself for this one. Pharmaceutical companies spent more than $329 million dollars in 2005 promoting sleep aids. Americans spend $2 billion dollars a year on sleeping drugs and $20 billion dollars on other sleep related products.

Everyone needs sleep. In fact,many Americans falsely believe that rest and sleep are a waste of time and energy.  This is the opposite of the truth and may be the most ignored cause of disease next to bad nutrition. Sleep is an integral part of excellent health. For example, during sleep the brain and body undergo a number of restorative processes such as  retaining memories and learning skills. Nerve cells connect by sending signals and are strengthened by sleep. Lack of sleep has also been a factor in the rising obesity epidemic in this country.


As a general rule, most of us are using up our energy and our bodies faster than we can rebuild.  This reverses at night, when our bodies are able to rebuild during rest and sleep.  If we do not allow enough time to rest and sleep, the rebuilding process is impaired until it will eventually cause premature aging, disease and early death.


Here are guidelines for the best sleeping experience. It has been shown that the  hours before midnight are far more valuable for rejuvenation than those after midnight.  Some say they are two or three times more useful for healing the body and mind.  The hours after midnight are less conducive because the energy of the earth has shifted and the new day is starting.  This brings a crescendo of solar energy that can tend to cause lighter sleep in many people.
When To Go To Sleep. Thus, going to bed early is the first rule of ideal sleep. Try to get into  bed between eight and nine PM every night. According to Dr. Wilson, while this may seem early, it is the way primitive mankind slept before there was electricity, and it is one of the reasons that primitive peoples often enjoyed and continue to enjoy superb health.  It is also the reason these people are more intuitive and aware, as adequate rest and sleep are essential for these subtle mental faculties.
How Long To Sleep. If you go to bed early, less sleep time is required.  Eight or more hours of actual sleep is usually enough. However, today many people have a ‘sleep deficit’. The longer you go without sleep, the greater the debt, and the only way to pay off the loan is to sleep for longer periods of time. It can take several sleep periods over days or even weeks to catch up on a significant sleep deficit. Therefore,  you might require much more rest at first, often for several years until you renew your body by using nutrition, meditation, saunas and other healing modality.

For those people who are ill, you may require  12 hours daily for two or three years.  Most of that can come from resting at night, while napping is also excellent to make up for a sleep deficit.


Many People Are Exhausted. Fatigue is widespread.  Studies by American, British and Australian Traffic Safety Agencies report that 20%-30% of traffic fatalities involve a fatigued driver.  Fatigue may be due to lack of sleep, or to illness, nutritional imbalances or other causes.  If you need coffee, soda pop, chocolate, anger, worry or other stimulants to get going in the morning or keep going, you are not getting enough sleep.

Prolonged fatigue contributes to nutritional imbalances that may not be so easily undone by just sleeping.  However, rest and sleep are still important steps as part of a total program including nutritional balancing and sauna therapy to recover from chronic fatigue syndrome and many other conditions with fatigue as one of the symptoms.

If you skimp on regenerative activity by not sleeping enough, physical and mental performance suffers, as well as one’s work and relationships.  Illness develops because there is not enough time to repair damaged tissues in the body.  If you have a chronic illness, you definitely need extra rest and sleep.

You may envy those who seem to have lots of energy yet get by on little sleep.  Let go of this envy. Those individuals are either:

*   Burning themselves out.  Many of them don’t know it, or they know it and don’t care, or they care but do not know what to do about it.

*   Using stimulants.  Their energy is false.  One of these days it will catch up with them and they will become ill.

Cleansing and Rebuilding the Body Require Energy. Elimination of toxins, an issue for everyone, occurs primarily at night while the body rests.  The removal process requires energy and one’s energy is finite.  If you use most or all of your energy running around all day, you will not detoxify well.


There are  many excuses why more sleep is impossible.  Here are some common ones:

1) I don’t have time. If this is really the case, then it is time to restructure your life.  Schedule naps, nap with your children after lunch or even after all meals, get help so that you are freed up, take on fewer projects or otherwise restructure.
2) Sleep is a waste of time. I hope I have demolished this excuse .  Sleep is an absolute necessity.

3) I could sleep for days and sleeping more doesn’t make me feel better, so why bother. Most likely your body chemistry is out of balance . However, not sleeping will only make the problem worse.  Get at least 9-10 hours of sleep.

4) I’ll miss my favorite television programs, movies, parties, etc. It is possible to leave parties earlier, schedule parties and movies earlier and record late television programs.

5) I can’t go to sleep earlier.  If I do, I’ll be up at 3 AM. This is a common excuse.   The section below regarding  sleep difficulties may be helpful.  Many people are stimulated by toxic substances in the body that prevent them from relaxing thoroughly.  Blood sugar imbalances may also prevent one from sleeping through the night.

6) I have loads of energy. Occasionally, this is the case.  A few people are healthy enough to get along on less sleep.  Most often, however, one is out of touch, stimulated by toxic metals in the body or using stimulants that irritate the nervous system.  It only appears one has loads of energy.  If this is the case, you will eventually become exhausted.   You might as well slow down now, before complete burnout occurs.

7) I just love staying up. Many people are night owls.  They enjoy the peaceful feeling at night when activities slow down.  It is a pleasure for many sensitive souls.  Sometimes creative work is easier to do at night.

However, depriving yourself of sleep is not the answer.  You may need to live in a quieter environment so you can experience  peace during the day.  Otherwise, arrange your schedule so that if you stay up, you can sleep in the morning or nap so you get enough sleep.


Sleep problems can be related to diet, lifestyle, the sleeping environment, biochemical imbalances, ones temperament and other factors.  Here are suggestions for improving your sleep.

1) Reduce your salt intake, if you are eating a lot of salt. Salt, even good quality sea salt such as Himalayan salt or Celtic salt, can be very stimulating.  This is why many people love chips, dips and a lot of junk foods such as French fries, pickles, relish, ketchup and more.

2) Eat dinner early. Eating late may leave undigested food in the stomach that interferes with sleep, especially if the food quantity is excessive or you have gas or other symptoms of indigestion.

3) Avoid sweets, juices or chocolate, especially at night. Sugar upsets body chemistry and may cause one to toss and turn or to get up hungry in the middle of the night.

4) Avoid stimulants, particularly in the evening. Stimulants just whip your body.  They always result in more tiredness eventually.  These include coffee, tea, caffeinated soft drinks, chocolate and sugar in any form.  More subtle stimulants include anger, hatred, resentment, worry and fearfulness.  Remember this next time you listen to the news or watch a violent movie.

5) Reduce mental activity in the evening. If you have trouble sleeping, it is wise to forgo intense intellectual effort at night.  Relax, do light reading or other activities that do not overstimulate the mind.

For example, decide that you must turn off the computer at 6 PM and will only read or watch programs that are relaxing or engage in social activities after 6 or 7 PM.

6) Avoid vigorous exercise in the evening. Better to exercise in the morning or during the day.  In the evening , limit exercise to perhaps a gentle walk, an excellent way to end the day.

7) Be sure you are warm enough. This includes your feet.  Wear socks if needed or heat your feet with a heater.  A warm bath or sauna before bed is also excellent.

8) Make sure your bedroom is dark and quiet. Install black velour fabric behind curtains or use other methods so your sleeping area is dark.

9) Let go of physical tension in the body. One can use natural therapies such as massage, chiropractic, rolfing, jin shin jyutsu and other techniques to reduce tension.  At home, one may rub the feet, breathe deeply and do other simple procedures before bed to release tensions.

10) Let go of fears and worry at bedtime. Do your best to leave all problems and concerns behind when you go to sleep.  A simple affirmation can be helpful, particularly if repeated for a while so it becomes part of your lifestyle.  It could be something like “This day is complete.  I now release all worries and concerns to the holy spirit or the higher self and I rest peacefully.  I release this day.”

11) Fresh air is helpful and even essential for excellent sleep. Be sure the room is not stuffy.  Open a window so that fresh air can enter the room.  Cool weather also assists sleep for many people.

12) The type of bed, mattress and pillow can matter a lot. Many mattresses are available to choose from and it is wise to experiment if sleep is a problem.  Old sagging mattresses are often the worst.  Some can be corrected  with a bed board.  Most cannot, however.  Beware of all natural beds with latex.  I bought one but it was too soft.

Newer types of mattresses offer many sleep options.  I do not recommend water beds, although many people like them.  I don’t think it is ideal to be sleeping on water.

Watch out for toxic mattresses like Tempur-pedic and the copies.  These can outgas for months.  They bother some people much more than others.

Silk or plain cotton sheets may be a little better than synthetic sheets.  Use a Dacron pillow if you are allergic to feathers and foam rubber.  Keep pillows clean, as they can accumulate dust mites, germs and more.  Place in the washing machine or replace when dirty.

13)If traveling, many people sleep better by bringing their own pillow and even their own sheets or sleep pack if you are not sure how clean the sheets will be.  Also bring earplugs, which are great all the time if you need them, and an eye covering device to make sure the room is dark enough.

14) The size and shape of pillows can make a difference. A pillow should not cause undue strain on the neck.  Cervical pillows and other types are worth experimenting with.

15) Avoid becoming overtired. When one is overtired, the adrenal glands are overstimulated.  One may need to unwind before going to bed in this case.

16) If possible, sleep in in the morning. This one may sound unusual.  Here is the explanation.  The adrenal glands become active about 5 AM.  Many people awaken at this time and want to get going. However, this prevents the adrenals from resting more.  It is best to go back to sleep if possible and get up after 7 AM, when the adrenals are less active.  One may feel more tired at first, but it will help rest the adrenals.

17) Sleep away from wifi, cell phones, TV sets, computers and all other sources of EMF (electromagnetic fields). Keep these away from your sleep area at least 10-20 feet away.

For example, use battery powered clocks near your bed.  Turn off electronic equipment and listen carefully as many radios, boom boxes, tape decks and more have transformers that stay on even if the device is off.  These will disturb sensitive individuals and are not healthful for anyone during sleep.

Wifi should not be near your bed.  Move the router, modem and other components to other parts of the house or apartment.

House wiring. In some cases, sleep will improve radically if you make sure the electric power is off in your bedroom.  This is because even the wiring in the wall gives off powerful EMF and RF frequencies.  This is more work t install a special switch or circuit breaker, but I know people for whom it hass made a lot of difference in their rest.


Adult Sleep Needs. Most adults needs at least 8 and preferably 9 or 10 hours of rest and sleep each and every day.  There can be no exceptions for holidays, weekend parties or anything else.  If one must party late at night, then at least sleep in the next day, although going to bed early each night is another key to having excellent energy.

Going To Bed Very Early. This idea is upsetting at first, but most people adore it once they have gotten used to it.  Small towns are far easier to do this in, as there is less “night life”.  It is really just a waste of time that is often designed to stimulate people so they will be able to keep awake later.
For subtle reasons, the hours before midnight are worth about twice as much as the hours after midnight in terms of restful sleep.  Therefore, the earlier you can retire at night, the better.  Retiring before 10 PM is excellent.  Before 9 is even better, but difficult for many to accomplish on a regular basis. Nevertheless it is best.
This goes especially for teens and children, who need even more rest and sleep, in general.

Children and Teens. Children and especially adolescents need 11 hours or more of rest, though a little of that could be rest time in bed but not strictly all sleep.  Again, there should be no exceptions for sleepovers, camping trips, late movies or other distractions.

College-Age Students. College students are often the most sleep-deprived, due to too many outings combined with studies and other distractions at this age.  They also have more natural or hormonal activity in most instances, so they “get away with it”, as they say.  This is a lie.  They just develop problems and illnesses as a result.

Sleep Enhancers. You may be able to get away with a little less sleep if you make sure your sleep is not disturbed in any way.  Here are examples of ways to enhance your rest and sleep each night, at home and on vacations as well.

1. Electronic gadgets. Keep them away from your bed, even 110-volt clocks, away from your sleeping area.  Computers, televisions, and even wireless boxes, are best turned off at night.  Some people even turn off the circuit breaker electricity near their bed area.

2. Quiet is the key. Noise is a great enemy of sleep.  Wear earplugs if your resting area is noisy, or a partner snores, or car noise is audible in your bedroom.

3. Separate beds is a wonderful idea, though it sounds horribly unromantic to some.  It is better energetically for many people, and it assures that a partner’s visits to the bathroom, or just random tossing and turning will not wake you up.

4. Keep the room darkened completely. Use blackout curtains and shades when needed.  Also excellent are eye covers if the room cannot made totally dark.

5. Drink more earlier in the day. Drink water in the morning and not after 6 PM so you are not having to get up many times to urinate at night.  This is quite disturbing to your sleep in some cases, especially if you do not fall asleep easily.

6. Use sleep remedies if needed. Sleep is so vital that there is no reason not to use calcium and magnesium supplements, warm milk at bedtime, foot reflexology on yourself, using achi machine to relax, valerian root, chamomile, hops, homeopathic calming remedies, and other natural methods to enhance your sleep and rest.  Check health food stores and the internet for other simple, safe, inexpensive sleep aids.
Drug therapy for sleep is not usually needed if all the above is used.  If, however, you have tried all of them to no avail, sleeping pills can be helpful until your body chemistry is corrected so your body will relax enough to rest.


Electronic gadgets have overtaken many teenagers’ bedrooms, damaging their health due to lack of sleep, according to a British survey.

The Sleep Council warns that “junk sleep” could rival the unhealthy junk food craze as a major lifestyle issue for parents of teenage children.

Their poll of 1,000 teenagers between the ages of 12 to 16 revealed that 30 percent got only four to seven hours of sleep. And almost 25 percent said they fell asleep while watching TV, listening to music, or perusing some other electronic gadget.

About 40 percent said they felt tired each day, and some 20 percent of the boys admitted their quality of sleep was affected by leaving their TV or computer on. However, only 11 percent said they were bothered by the lack of quantity, or quality, of sleep.

Dr. Chris Idzikowski with the Edinburgh Sleep Centre stated, “What we are seeing is the emergence of Junk Sleep – that is sleep that is of neither the length nor quality that it should be in order to feed the brain with the rest it needs to perform properly at school.”

The Sleep Council Press Release

The Sleep Council Teenage Sleep: Facts, Figures & Tips

Scientific American August 28, 2007

Do you have any tips on how to sleep better? Please share them.

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5 Responses to “Catching those ZZZZZ’s”

  1. Thanks Joy for the helpful tips. My kid’s Dr. also told them to move electronics from room at bedtime!

  2. Joy Feldman says:

    Hey Elyse,
    So glad you liked the article. I like your doc’s advice. Thanks for commenting.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Wow, what a comprehensive article! I’ll definitely tell my friends your suggestions!

  4. pc-veryslow says:

    Thank you for this post ! It was really usefull !
    Could you provide me some extra info regarding this subject?

  5. Dorothy Skirzenski says:

    My kids will never have TV’s in their room. Not only does it reduce sleep it takes away from family time. Sleep is very important. Thanks for the article.

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