According to an American study, lack of sleep is the most common threat to public health. Anyone suffering from a sleeping disorder will know, how debilitating lack of sleep can be. Often, it leads to other health problems, like caffeine addiction, nervousness, depression, fatigue, premature ageing, low immunity, and a host of psychosomatic complaints. Once our organism has been exhausted, chronic diseases can take hold in the system.
On the other hand, we also know how amazingly refreshed we can feel after a night of divine sleep!
Like every other living organism, human beings are experiencing biological rhythms. The subtle body in charge of our thoughts and emotions (Astral Body) is withdrawing during the night to give our life-body (Etheric Body) time to repair, to regenerate, and to rest.
During the day, our thoughts and emotions penetrate and grasp the Etheric, - we virtually consume it and we wear it out.
The night is the only chance for the Etheric to recover and be prepared for another days demands, as the Astral leaves it alone: We loose consciousness, what a relief!
For a healthy and successful life, the Astral needs a strong Etheric to rest on. Otherwise, we will experience the above-mentioned conditions. The question I would like to look at in this article is
How can we adjust our lifestyle and our environment to support healthy sleep?
I met a Malaysian businessman a while ago, who told me that he regularly went back to his place of birth, a small village without running water or electricity, to sleep himself healthy. He described vividly, how he comes out as a much younger, more energetic and with it person, ready to meet the high demands of his job with enthusiasm again.
Other professionals take mental health days, when they feel to be at a point where they will get sick, if they wont give their Etheric a break.
Some of my clients tell me that they are getting plenty of sleep, but they still wake up feeling exhaustion or pain, because they are not sleeping well.
What contributes to a good night's sleep?
When I advise my clients about their home environments in my practice as a Building Biologist, I place a major emphasis on the bedroom. We have purpose-built offices, kitchens, lounges, . The bedroom however tends to be where the dirty washing sits in one corner, the clean in another, waiting to be ironed. Then there is the exercise bike, the TV, the computer, - and take a look under the bed to see everything that you thought you had lost!
Remember that you are spending a third of your life in this one room. The philosopher Rudolf Steiner said once, that you should take a look around your bedroom and ask yourself one question: Would an angel come and visit me here?
In terms of Feng Shui, it is really important to honour the purpose of your bedroom and to make sure it is ready for the angels to visit. Create a sacred space for yourself. It should be only for sleeping and love-making, without electronic entertainment, or clutter of any kind. Think simplicity. All we need for great sleep is a divine bed, and a clear space.
Colours should be gentle and harmonious, in pastel tones. Mirrors have a cold, metallic quality and should not face the bed.
The bed should be made of solid timber, without metal or wood products containing glue, like particleboard. It should ideally be treated with natural wood oil (based on linseed oil), not with petrochemical paints and solvents, which will out-gas.
As with the bed, metal should be avoided. Inner spring mattresses can become magnetised (simply pull a compass across and see if the needle moves), or might pick up electric fields from the wiring around the bed. Futon becomes hard after a while, and most people seem to move towards latex or latex/coconut-coir layered products, which are available from natural bedding shops or most big bedding stores.
Preferably, all furniture should be natural, solid wood, treated with plant based oils or paints.
If youd like a carpet, choose a woollen one, but make sure to steam clean it after laying, to wash out the insecticides and other treatment agents. An excellent vacuum cleaner with a HEPA grade filter is essential.
The human body had 300,000 years of evolution to adjust to its environment. We developed our senses and our brain to deal with just about any situation, until we created modern civilisation, bringing us energies that we can not perceive with our senses. Our brain assumes that only sense-perceptible things exist, and tells us not to worry about anything else.
However, our bodies are in actual fact dealing with a host of environmental stresses, which can place considerable stress on our Etheric and prevent it from the essential nightly regeneration. Such stresses need to be assessed with instruments or laboratory tests.
q Chemicals out-gassing from furniture, carpets, paints, -even mattresses. Volatile Organic Compounds like Formaldehyde are very common, and their health effects are a concern.
q Biological contaminants like mould spores or dust mite faeces force the immune system into hard work every night.
q Electro-magnetic energies from home wiring, appliances, mobile and cordless phones place a constant burden on our organisms.
What to do?
Chemicals can be controlled by choosing the right furniture, as I mentioned above. Prefer mechanical termite treatments to chemical ones (steel mesh, granite granules, ventilation).
Biological issues can mostly be addressed by cleanliness and moisture-control. Older premises often have moisture coming up the walls, or seeping into the home through over-flowing gutters. Air cleaners and ionisers are often used to improve indoor air quality.
To analyse indoor air, low cost do-it-yourself tests, like the Bio Check range, are available.
Electromagnetic pollution is a complex issue, but in most cases the installation of demand switches (they are placed in the fuse box and disconnect the power while no electricity is needed, cutting out any electric fields), and giving up on water beds, electric blankets and clock radios can make a difference to your sleep and well-being. If there is no Building Biologist close to you, instruments are available to help you measure your exposure and the effectiveness of your countermeasures.
I also recommend caution with magnetic blankets, pillows, etc. Even though they appear to help people suffering from chronic pain, they are highly magnetised and place a stress on the system. Only recommended as a therapeutic device. None of the manufacturers has done long-term research to prove that their product is safe from side effects.
The atmosphere in a room determines how people feel inside. It is not just created by external energies, but also by subtle ones.
It is therefore important to honour the purpose of the bedroom by not having arguments or even domestics in this space.
Once a year, the bedroom (and preferably the whole house) should be cleared from any negative imprints, to give you a healthy sleep. Suggestions on how to do this yourself can be found in Karen Kingston's book Creating Sacred Spaces with Feng Shui. Clearing is a most joyful and empowering activity, which really enhances the relationship between you and your home. Professional clearers are available, but it would be a shame to miss out on the fun, yourself.
q Keep it cool
q Insure adequate ventilation
q Use a warm doona in winter, to avoid breathing the dry heating air
q Keeping your bedroom dark supports your bodily rhythms and your regeneration
q Consider using aromatherapy: Burn an appropriate essential oil.
q Don't eat heavy meals at night, or allow plenty of time for digestion.
q Stay clear from caffeine (coffee, tea, cola, chocolate). Try hot milk with honey, instead.
q If your mind refuses to give you a break, take a preparation of valerian, hops, and/or camomile.
q Pack things for the coming day before going to bed; make a to-do list for the next day; this enables you to sleep in peace, knowing that everything has been prepared, that can be prepared.
q Accept that there is nothing you can change during the night by worrying. The best you can do is to rest and be ready for a new day. We actually solve many of our problems by working on them during the sleep.
q Trust nature, trust your Spirit: Let go!
About the Author
Joachim Herrmann is a Building Biologist. He offers home and office consultations to assess the indoor environment and to improve health and productivity, and also works as project manager in the design of healthy buildings or renovations. For further information and many home-health enhancing products, visit the Web site http://www.buildingbiologyservices.com, or contact 02- 4784 3734; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org