When to sleep and how long to sleep are questions that most people have battled with at some point in their life. Sadhguru explains to us the difference between sleep and relaxation and that it is not the quantity, but the quality of sleep that is important. He also tells us how the practice of yoga can help reduce a person’s Resting Heart Rate.

Sadhguru: The fact that you sleep at night makes some difference between your mornings and evenings. Your mornings would be just as bad if you did not rest well at night. So what is making the difference is not sleep, but the level of relaxation. A good morning is a good beginning, but you slowly lose your cool as the day progresses and you get stressed. It must be understood that the stress is not because of your work. Everybody thinks their job is stressful, but no job really is. It is your inability to handle your own systems that makes you stressful.

How do you keep your system free of stress, so that you are at the same level of relaxation and enthusiasm, morning or evening? In medical terms, if you take my pulse after I have had a good lunch, it would be somewhere around 47 to 48 or near that range. If you take my pulse on an empty stomach, it would be in the range of 35 to 40. Physiologically, this implies that I’m in a state of deep sleep. I am awake enough to do any type of activity in the world, but my body is in deep sleep. So when you are constantly sleeping, there is no question of stress. When there’s no stress, why would you be any different at 4 A.M than at 9 P.M?

So what is necessary right now is to keep your system in such a way that it is relaxed by itself, and activity does not take a toll on it. You may be physically exhausted, but you need not be stressed. It is necessary to keep the system this way. You can’t slow down your system at the cost of activity. But you’re so relaxed that you can’t do any activity – that’s no good either. For this, there is a technology; there is a whole system to make this happen. If you start certain simple practices of yoga, I would say that within 3 to 4 months your pulse rate would have dropped by at least 8 to 20 counts. The body would run more efficiently and at a relaxed pace.

Your body should not wake up to an alarm bell. Once it is rested, it must come awake…

What time you go to bed depends on your lifestyle. What matters is the number of hours of sleep you need. I know there is a lot of talk that you must sleep for eight hours a day. What the body needs is not sleep, but restfulness, relaxation. If you keep your body very relaxed and loose throughout the day, if your work, your exercise, are all forms of relaxation for you, your sleep quota will go down naturally. People want to do everything in tension. I see people walking in the park tensed, you know. Now this kind of exercise may be causing more harm to you than well-being, because you are going at everything like it’s a war. Why don’t you walk easy? Whether you walk or jog, why can’t you do it easily, joyfully?

Don’t battle with life; keeping yourself fit and well is not a battle, you know. Play a game, swim, walk, whatever you like. If you don’t like to do anything except eat cheesecake, you know there will be a problem. Otherwise there is no problem about being relaxed with any activity.

So how much sleep does my body need? It depends on the level of physical activity that you are performing. There is no need to fix either food or sleep. These many calories I must eat; these many hours I must sleep – this is a foolish way to handle life. Today your activity levels are low, you eat less. Tomorrow if your activity is very high, you eat more. It’s the same with sleep. The moment the body is well rested it will get up, be it 3 A.M. or 8 A.M. Your body should not wake up to an alarm bell. Once it feels sufficiently rested, it must come awake.

If the body is somehow trying to use the bed as a grave, it won’t want to come out. Somebody has to raise you from the dead. It all depends on how you are handling your life. If you are in a certain mental condition that you want to avoid life, sleep is a good way. You will naturally tend to eat and sleep more.

Right now a few people are in such a mental state that unless they load themselves with food and make the body dull they cannot fall asleep. Digestion should happen; you must give it sufficient time before you sleep. I would say 80% of the food that you eat will go to waste if you fall asleep within two hours of eating. If you are in a condition that unless you have a full stomach you cannot sleep, you need to address this issue. This is not about sleep; this is a certain kind of mental state.

So how much sleep? Just as much as the body needs. Food and sleep – let the body decide, not you, because you will not make the right decision about it. The best way to eat and sleep is to go by what your body wants. It is about the body, isn’t it?

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POSTED IN:Lifestyle, Health & Fitness
TAGS: Sleep
  • johnny

    dear guruji
    Sleeping is a mental condition that allows body to rest. If one has many mental tensions how can we induce ourselves to sleep and allow our body a rest.

    • http://ajithkumar.cc/ Ajithkumar Chandramouli

      Hi Johnny.. This is the modern myth about stress and stress management.. why do you need to manage something that you don’t want? We need to manage wealth, time and resources because we need them.. We don’t need to manage stress or tension. Hard work doesn’t mean stressful work.. No one needs to teach us this.. Simple Pranayama, done correctly everyday will tune our body to reject stress and work smoothly..

      As far as other mental tension goes.. There is one simple teaching of sadhguru which cures it all.. it was so very simple but very powerful. He said “Accept all the responsibilities”, then you will be in control of your life and not some third party.. only when we shrug off our responsibilities we start to blame third parties for our ills, and this is the single major source of mental tension. If we accept that, whatever happens to us is our responsibility then we will become great people..

      • Gopal Dhillon

        I understand exactly what you’re saying, when you say Pranayama…. what swami ramdev ji shares with the world… pranayama? or is it a little part of pranayama?

        Namaskaram _/_

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000727359118 Cheeti Abhilash

    For this, there is a technology; there is a whole system to make this
    happen. If you start certain simple practices of yoga, I would say that
    within 3 to 4 months your pulse rate would have dropped by at least 8 to
    20 counts. The body would run more efficiently and at a relaxed pace…….But what is the technology to be followed

    • Sachin

      Cheeti, even I was looking for a detailed answer in this regard. Can some enlightened one put some light on this for the mere mortals like us ?? :-)

    • Suri

      Oh God! you didnt get what technology Sadhguru is talking about. Its is exactly for the same purpose Sadhguru created the Inner Engineering Program. Read about it you will understand the technology.

  • TJ

    more on this topic! more detail!!!

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Ramya-Suresh/100002289891471 Ramya Suresh

    i do yogas,it does keep me relaxed ,but it does not burn the calories i get eating cakes and parottas.Sadhguru give us a simple and fast technique to burn body fat as u can see most of our tamil women are becoming perfect drums!!!:).I am just not motivated to take care of the body as I think……what in the world we’re going to die one day.How to keep ourselves motivated.???

    • http://ajithkumar.cc/ Ajithkumar Chandramouli

      Firstly eating cakes and parottas is an extremely bad habit. Just do a bit of googling about Maida.. It is created from wheat after bleaching and using an agent called Benzoyl peroxide.. This is the agent used in labs on rats to make them diabetic for researching diabetes. It is completely banned in China as well European union.. Even Kerala is contemplating to ban it..

      Tamil women used to be the most beautiful, because they had a perfect lifestyle, everything they did during the day was done with full awareness and resembled yogic postures.. they had very healthy food..

      Everyone has to die.. but we should die peacefully, naturally and happily.. and not in bed struggling to even move our body and looking for support from everyone around.

      • http://www.facebook.com/ram.siva.5070 Ram Siva

        Hi Ajith..thanks for the information..I addict to these stuffs too.You placed a spark..

      • ramana padmasola

        everyone has to leave the body which we call a death. All the effort in spirituality is that of knowing this truth before we …….

      • http://www.facebook.com/ilakkiya.appavoo Ilakkiya Appavoo

        thank you for the information on maida

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000617989070 Sanjeev Sharma

    Master Technician at work again, Simply opened all nuts and bolts of Myth of Sleep. It is amazing that normal heart rate of sadhguru is around 40, Here is a master yogi who walks the talk.

  • ramana padmasola

    articles r wonderful for a sadaka

  • preetha

    Now I know why my heart rate has become very low in the past few months. Was worried about it. Thank you Sadhguru.

  • http://www.facebook.com/kalyani.nirmalraj Kalyani Nirmal Raj

    This is great relaxation Sadhguru

  • adaikkalam

    fantastic explaination for sleep and relaxation. it is my long time question in my mind

  • Harini

    Sadhguru is awesome as always

  • Nikole

    Sadhguru, you are simply amazing. Not only do you talk about spirituality but you also open up your ideas about health. I like the part where you said that our body does not need an alarm clock because if it has gotten the rest it needs it will wake up–very well said.

  • Sushant SubhaSh

    thank you… i think i have seen the video