Sleep, Rest and Rhythm

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By: Sandra Greenstone with Clinton L. Greenstone, M.D.
One of the most difficult things for me to learn has been this business of rejuvenation.  It is the challenge of our times because there is so much to do!  Learning how to find the balance of doing and not doing, breathing in and breathing out, sleeping and waking has taken some effort and discipline.  I’m still practicing.

Deep in our bodies, our organ functions possess a rhythm.  Having a similar daily schedule of eating, sleeping, bathing, and working, helps our bodies stay in balance with these rhythms.  Daily rhythmical repetition also strengthens the spirit, allowing us to be awake and alert as a vehicle for the human personality.

Enough sleep is one of the most important prerequisites to good health.  Children especially need at least 12 hours of sleep each night to allow for full growth and development.  Most adults in our culture also need more sleep than they are getting.

The process of going to sleep, with the slipping away of consciousness, occurs because the soul and spirit disengage themselves from the nervous system.  We repeat this process several times each night and it is supplemented by longer or shorter episodes of rapid-eye-movement (REM) sleep during which an increase in the regenerative activity takes place.

I have found that letting go of the day with a short walk, a bath, or an artistic activity helps me prepare for sleep and I sleep more deeply.  It is also nice to stand back and witness the events of the day in reverse order just before sleep.  It helps to do this at a similar time every day.  It’s a way of slowly surrendering from the awake state of individual activity and transitioning into the regenerative sphere of sleep.

The seven-day rhythm, which is evident in the healing process of many infectious diseases (pneumonia, measles, typhoid) can also be supported by giving the days of the week their own emphasis.  Certain things might be done on Tuesdays, for instance, enabling the weekly rhythm to be imprinted more strongly.  Weekly repetition strengthens the soul as the vehicle for thinking, feeling, and willing or doing.

Monthly repetition strengthens the forces which underlie growth and thinking.  This has consequences for memory and recall capacity.

The yearly rhythm, in contrast, strengthens the physical body.

Many of us already move in accord with these rhythms due to school calendars, work schedules, monthly menstrual cycles, and holidays, festivals, and birthdays celebrated at the same time each year. The shift comes when we bring our awareness and consciousness to these rhythms, deepening them in the smallest ways over time.

Start simply by bringing in a daily greeting here or a short bedtime ritual there.  Then watch over time to notice the effects.  Doing this has had a tremendously positive impact on my sense of well-being.  I feel that it also helps children develop a strong physical constitution and creates in them a deep sense of security and belonging.

Sandra Greenstone is a business consultant and wellness entrepreneur passionate about  bringing Integrative Medicine to the mainstream. She is the author and publisher of Healing at Home – How to Bridge Conventional and Alternative Medicine and executive producer of  Bulimia and the Road to Recovery. She and her husband Leo Greenstone, M.D. live and homeschool their four young children in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

Used with the kind permission from Healing at Home published by Healing at Home Resources by Sandra Greenstone with Clinton L. Greenstone, M.D.

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