Be Healthy, Happy and Holy — Sleep by 10 pm

By HH Mahanidhi Swami

This short essay based on scientific research, is presented to help aspiring transcendentalists recognize the need to take rest early each night (latest by 10 pm) and to rise by 4 am each morning in order to chant the Hare Krishna maha-mantra and attain the perfection of human life.

Special thanks goes to Kirti Mataji for Internet researching the topic of sleep and providing the printed scientific reports and conclusions which form the basis of this article. After conducting hundreds of experiments on sleep and health, the world’s leading scientists have discovered that to keep optimum health, one should sleep early and rise before sunrise. The best hours of sleep for your body are between 10 pm and 6 am. Going to bed at 11 pm, 12 pm or 1 pm is extremely harmful to human health and is a direct cause of many modern “killer diseases” such as heart disease and cancer.

Nature acts and moves according to precise rhythm cycles influenced by the rotation of the earth, sun and moon. Daily the sun rises and sets, the seasons come and go, the moon waxes and wanes, and the ocean tides rise and fall. The function of sleeping and wakefulness is part of this natural rhythm. In Nature, one finds that the animals and plants are awake and asleep in tune with these rhythms. Human beings also have natural rhythms.

Our human bodies, like Mother Nature, function according to natural cycles, body rhythms commonly called the internal body clock or the biological clock. Disruptions of the natural functions of our biological clock due to improper habits and incorrect sleeping patterns cause many different diseases. When our bodies are out of balance and not functioning in harmony with nature, nothing seems to feel right. This is because hormones, chemicals and neurotransmitters that determine our energy levels, vitality, and how we feel, sleep and eat are out of sync. In other words, we are imbalanced and out of tune with our biological clock and going against the natural harmony established by Mother Nature. Prior to the widespread use of electricity, as seen in Indian villages fifty years ago, people would go to bed shortly after sunset, as most animals do and which Nature intended for humans as well. The best hours of sleep for your body are the hours of 10 pm – 6 am.

These hours and what your body is naturally programmed to do during these hours (see chart below), are governed by the movements of the sun and the 24-hour natural rhythm cycle of your internal body clock – both of which are beyond your control. During these times (10 pm – 6 am), human body is designed to be at a state of rest, repair, detoxification (elimination of waste products and poisons) and rejuvenation. Our bodies are produced by Mother Nature. If we act foolishly and go against the natural order and design of our body, we will pay the price by getting various diseases and problems. For example, if your body is overtaxed digesting a heavy late meal or you are up late (after 10 pm) working, playing, watching TV or computer, your vital body energy is focused there and not available for rest and rejuvenation.

The biological clock and your internal organs, the main internal organs of your body work according to a “Time Schedule.” Knowing how your body works can help you regulate your schedule in order to attain the optimum level of health and well-being.

§  9.00 pm – 11.00 pm: At this time, your body eliminates toxic chemicals from the immune system (lymph nodes).
*It is best to be sound asleep by 9 pm or 10 pm for your body to properly execute this important function.

§  11.00 pm – 1.00 am: This is the time your liver eliminates poisons and rejuvenates itself.
*It is best to be sound asleep by 9 pm or 10 pm for your body to properly execute this important function.

§  12.00 midnight – 4.00 am: this is the time your bone marrow produces blood.

§  1.00 am – 3.00 am: This is the time your gall bladder eliminates toxins and rejuvenates itself.

§  3.00 am – 5.00 am: This is the time your lungs eliminate toxins and rejuvenate themselves.

§  5.00 am – 7.00 am: This is the time your colon eliminates poisons and rejuvenates itself. This is the proper time to empty your bowel.

§  7.00 am – 9.00 am: This is the time that vitamins, minerals, proteins and nutrients are absorbed in your small intestines. You should definitely eat breakfast at this time.

Global scientists have concluded that everyone should go to bed early (falling asleep by 10 pm) to obtain quality sleep, which will ensure proper physical regeneration. When you co-operate with your internal biological clock and allow Nature to take her course, you will feel refreshed, joyful and energized when you wake up (by 4 am, of course!). Going to bed before 10 pm is essential to keep the human body in tune with Nature and to remain healthy, happy and holy.

One who sleeps more than 6 hours a day, is under the influence of tamas.

Besides, all sincere devotees want to follow the teachings of the scriptures and saints like his Divine Grace Srila Prabhupada, who said, “In this Krishna conscious movement we request everyone to rise early in the morning, by 4 am” (NOI Pg. 34).

Someone may think that Srila Prabhupada’s phrase, “Krishna consciousness movement” refers only to ISKCON temples and the devotees living therein, and it does not apply to anyone living outside the temples, in their own homes or apartments. This is incorrect! Actually, Srila Prabhupada is saying that, “Everyone should rise by 4 am.” In other words, if you are conscious, alive and serious about moving towards Krishna and attaining pure love of God, then you are, regardless of where you live, in the Krishna conscious movement.

Aspiring practitioners of Krishna consciousness and initiated devotees should remember that rising by 4 am and chanting the Hare Krishna maha-mantra between 4 am and 7 am is an absolute requirement. Everyone must follow this golden rule to be mentally happy and progress nicely in spiritual life. It is a fact – early to bed, early to rise, makes one healthy, wealthy and wise. Of course, to rise by 4 am or before, you must sleep early. Practice makes perfect.

You have to try sincerely to change your schedule and work towards this goal of taking rest by 10 pm and rising by 4 am. We hope this short essay will help the devotees understand the extreme importance of sleeping and rising early in order to realize the full potential of this rare and valuable form of human life. Our heartfelt desire is that each and every one of you will live long healthy life full of Krishna conscious happiness, and attain the ultimate perfection of Sri Sri Radha Govinda’s eternal loving service.

Tips for good rest

1. Cave-like darkness: The bedroom should be pitch-black so you can’t even see your hand in front of your face, which means no bright lights, clock lights or any light coming in from the windows. Why? When we sleep in total darkness, the human brain produces a hormone called melatonin. Melatonin is an important antioxidant that protects our DNA structure and prevents cancer. Tests show that even a small amount of light hitting the skin almost immediately shuts off the production of melatonin. Therefore, scientists say, never turn on the light should you need to get up from sleep and go to the toilet.

2. Daily go outside and get natural sunlight: This helps regulate your biological clock and increases the production of melatonin, which promotes well-balanced sleeping patterns.

3. Daily exercise: At least thirty minutes a day will help improve the quality of your sleep.

4. Avoid bright lights: One should avoid keeping bright lights on inside the house before going to bed. At this time, bright light hitting the eye disrupts the bio-rhythm of the pineal gland and shuts off your melatonin production.

5. Hot shower before bed: This relaxes the body and helps you fall asleep quickly.

6. Sleep as early as possible: You should be in bed and asleep by 10 pm.

7. The bedroom should be free from electromagnetic fields: Do not keep a TV, computer or any other electronic item in your bedroom because they create strong electromagnetic field which disrupts the quality of your sleep.

8. Fresh Air: Open the window at least a crack to get fresh air to circulate while sleeping.

9. Avoid fluids: Do not drink any fluids two hours before sleep.

10. Sleep Regulation: Get up and go to sleep at the same time every day. If you are up late one night, still rise at your usual time and nap later in the day.

11. Daytime nap: If one needs to take a nap in the day, it should not be longer than one hour for optimal rejuvenation, rest and repair. If you nap longer, it will disrupt the night-time sleep quality.

12. Avoid noise: Sound sets the subtle body in motion so it can’t rest.

13. Hot water bottle: To relieve tension and anxiety, place a hot water bottle between the navel and the bottom of your ribcage.

14. Head massage: To relax before sleeping.

15. Foot rub: Rub ghee or sesame oil on the bottom of your feet to promote restful sleep.

16. Read sastras before going to bed.

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About BVG Janaka dasa das

The counsellor, trainer and lecturer of Balanced and Healthy lifestyle, body, art, music, trance etc philosophy, psychology and psychotherapy. The leader of personal development and team building groups and private practice of psychotherapy.
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