Have you ever had trouble sleeping after watching something disturbing on TV?
Compulsive consumption of mental junk food may be preventing you from getting a deep restful sleep each night. Sleep deprivation then becomes one of the biggest obstacles to staying spiritually awake during the day.
It is easy to get a “buzz” from consuming mental junk food because it has similar side-effects as drinking coffee or cola.
This buzz is the result of triggering the “fight or flight” response in your nervous system. Your body and mind enter a state of peaked alertness when the brain releases stress hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol.
On a spiritual level, the ego is in full attack and defend mode because the survival of its opinions, beliefs and separate identity are at risk. Like a frightened cat backed into a corner, the ego is puffed up and bearing its fangs.
Stimulants include: the news, glossy tabloid magazines and dramatic TV shows. Technology tempts us with Facebook spying, trivial Tweeting, YouTube schtick, opinionated online forums and distracting each other with texting.
Watch out for subtle forms like gossiping about friends and family. What happened the last time you were in a group that was judging and comparing different spiritual teachers or techniques?
Turn the channel, change the subject or leave the room. One of the first techniques that I teach my “better sleep” clients is to shut down their cell phone and computer each night. This removes the anxiety that comes with anticipating the next call, text message or e-mail.
It takes 25 minutes for your nervous system to transition from “fight or flight” into the “rest and digest” response. Set aside this time for a soothing sleep ritual that includes breathing, meditation and relaxation.
This is one key to resting in deep sleep every night so you can be more spiritually awake during the day.