At the time of writing, technology did several backflips and my site was down, I decided to take the leap into podcasting and audio record what I had written. Podcasting has been a huge learning tool for many years and is something I’ve been wanting to explore.
[podbean type=audio-square resource=”episode=gu2pc-905fe0″ skin=”1″ auto=”0″ height=315 ]
Let’s talk about Sikhi and sleep hygiene, getting a good restful sleep where you feel recharged and ready for the day ahead. Another way to put this is, how to get enough sleep and wake up in the early morning to carry out your spiritual practice or Sadhana.
I firmly believe in getting a night of good sleep and being able to get up at Amrit Vela, it’s so important and doable though I’ve learned the hard way and am still learning, balancing and being able to to do it.
In 2017, as most people probably know by now, was a year that I really got into and embraced Sikhi, I was single, enjoying time away, the sunshine etc. I focused on Gurbani throughout to guide my day and I also diverted off the path a few times. I learned quickly. It was at the end of the year that I decided 2018 I would go ahead for Amrit Sanchar, maybe around Vaisakhi.
I ended up being blessed with Amrit in February 2018 that’s a whole story in itself of how Amrit came to be for me. Just as you can’t connect the dots while on your journey, looking back I can see that since 2016, everything I learned and that was in my experience mattered in some way.
One thing (among other tiny things) that held me back from going for it, were sleep issues. Not that I wasn’t going to get enough of, I would miss my bed or anything like that but that in 2016 I got 5 hours or less sleep a night and it shot my hormones, ripped them to pieces.
Completely gone, nothing, no hormonal activity going on whatsoever.
Though through what I can only put down to Yoga, meditation and reading Gurbani, I was in Chardi Kala.
So from my year of trust and love in 2017 I decided I have to live in love rather than fear and looking at the big picture what else happened in 2016 – I was in a lot of emotional stress, my then partner where at the brink of breaking up then we did part, someone I cared for was dying then died, I was eating really well but being quite rigid in the small amount of gluten and sugar I consumed and overall I weighed the same as I did at 13 years old so of course that’s another factor.
In 2017 my stresses went, I got a job closer to where I was living, ate in a healthy balanced way, got 6 hours or more sleep and my hormones returned from a long overdue vacation of a year, my cycles were back on track and gradually I have put on weight too. Mostly, the app My Flo is incredible for tracking and symptom helper.
So really, it might not have been all about the sleep thing? Yes and no. And it was a risk too, on one hand, if it was to do with sleep and I was committing myself to get up early every day no matter what all because Gurbani meant so much more than anything else, it was the truest form. My cycle which I had just spent a year getting balanced a brilliant again would be gone, not only that but it may have meant I’d had a part in not being able to conceive a child in the future. It felt like a big ask and burden.
However it was really a big act of acceptance and trust, to be able to say – Maharaj I accept whatever happens from here on. I would really like my hormones to be in working order so that one day with my future husband we will be blessed to conceive a child. Though I understand it’s all your will and I’m just going to go for Amrit Sanchar as I feel called to do so.
So, back to my point on sleep hygiene, in the here and now of 2018, 2 months after Amrit Sanchar, what am I learning about sleep and the ambrosial hours? Well, 6 hours is definitely the sweetest time, for me personally. Which was actually quite frustrating too. As you read about Yogis and Sants who get only 3 hours sleep and there’s that saying – eat little, sleep little. All that is very good and I’m sure for some people that works, that’s great.
Also, sleep gets heavily overlooked at camps or Sikhi events, I get that and I’m right there with everyone else on 3 hours kip receiving Asa Di Vaar like my life depends on it for the love of Bani and being in Sangat.
With 6 hours my hormones function at a fairly normal female rate (though everyone is different). The difference between 5 and 6 hours sleep is on 6 I get very few symptoms maybe some backache, chocolate cravings send me to cafes, fatigue the day before like a beacon warning me – SLOW DOWN.
On 5 things are very different, take the other day when dark chocolate became a pain relief, I made it on public transport to London, reading Rehras helped as the bus journey jolted my aching body back and forth. By the end of the day I was laid out on the sofa at Singh’s with two hot water bottles one back, front and wanting another for my legs as I had body ache, headache which felt like I was being jolted every 30 seconds, nausea that was getting worse as the back of my legs were throbbing giving me double nausea, the room starting spinning when my eyes were closed under my heated healing eye pillow making it strangely feel like a bad trip until I finally gave into pharmacy drugs and took a paracetamol then forced myself up to bed to find that I also had insomnia.
Vaheguru. Thank you mother nature for allowing this to happen, though I’m in pain, I’m thankful.
All that could have been avoided I feel, if I had just got a little more sleep as I don’t want to go through that again, though my body may just see me this time next month for another round.
Getting better sleep and waking up tips:
- If your someone who’s body needs it, get 6 hours sleep. Your hormones will thank you. Even if it means napping a little after Nitnem or later in the day.
- Eat to live not live to eat, what you eat affects your whole lifestyle.
- Get everything prepped the night before for what you need the next day and position your alarm enough distance that you have to physically move further out of bed.
- Go for low lighting an hour before sleeping and let the last thing you do be Sohila Sahib, not Instagram.