Book review: How to get sound sleep

I bought this book with a lot of expectations; hoping it will make me a sound sleeper so much so that I can part the knowledge to others in my family and help their sleep deprivation as well. Although that was certainly not the case, I do notice a lot more people are complaining about lack of restful sleep. It makes me wonder when did we as a society transition from inventing things to keep us awake to now inventing things to put us back to sleep! We are never satisfied and always seek what we don’t have; even something as fundamental as sleep.

I still thought the book had some nuggets of wisdom worth sharing; especially if you know anything about the author and his world famous organization. The book is written by a an erstwhile spiritual leader of India named Swami Sivananda who along with his disciples started Sivananda Yoga centers all around the world. This organization is often credited for spreading yoga in the western world. I love practicing at my local NYC center as I feel it’s the truest form of yoga practiced which incorporates proper breathing exercises, prayers, yoga stretches interspersed with rest periods. Try it out if you are looking to start a yoga practice.

Coming back to the book, below are the main learnings I wanted to share (in no particular order):

  1. Relax the body and mind when you go to sleep
  2. Give up planning for the next day
  3. Give up any ill feelings you have against someone or something and focus on pleasant thoughts
  4. Quality of sleep is much more important than quantity of sleep
  5. Once in the morning and once in the afternoon, take 10 minutes relaxation breaks. Just sit and do nothing- no talk, no phone, no browsing, no listening to music. Just sit. Close the eyes. Make the mind blank.
  6. Avoid fatigue by adopting a correct standing posture. Keep the knees and heels close together, this makes a strong pillar on which the body can rest. The weight of the body is not thrown on one leg or the other but distributed evenly.
  7.  Best hours of sleep are between 12 and 2
  8. More sound sleep one has, the more healthy the person will be. Sleep is nature’s tonic for a healthy life.
  9. Keep the same time of sleep everyday
  10. Wear lose clothing
  11. Don’t cover yourself with too heavy a blanket
  12. Try not to sleep on the back but on the left side. Food will be digested well
  13. Do not sleep in rooms which have no windows
  14. Do not take a heavy meal before going to bed
  15. Finish your evening meal by 7-8 pm and make it a light one

Bon nuit (good night)!

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