October 20, 2010

Simple Pleasures: Sleep

Before the invention of the light bulb 131 years ago, people slept about 10 hours per night. Dark meant time to go to bed. Today the world is always on, and sleep experts warn that the majority of us are sleep deprived.

Fatigued Americans getting some shuteye behind the wheel cause 100,000 motor vehicle accidents per year. Lack of sleep is clouding our brains, and in some cases is killing us.

The Dalai Lama knows that sleep is a great way to clear your head. It has to do with "grosser states of awareness going dormant and the more subtle state of purely mental awareness becoming evident". That makes sense - the only time most of us non-meditators shut down is during non-dreaming sleep. All the other time our minds are going at the same pace as the rest of life - full speed ahead.

Living a more simple life has taught me about slowing down, and listening to my body. And my body has been telling me I need a good 7 - 10 hours of sleep every night. Especially now that the seasons are changing and we begin the rapid slide into winter. The early setting sun upsets internal rhythms, and the old bio clock needs to be reset. That requires sleep. Lots of sleep.

Do yourself a favour - kill the lights, and sleep like it's 1860. It will do you good.

My new favourite simple pleasure is sleep. I am glad it's free. Good night. Click.


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