Sleeping is healing

When we try to cram as much stuff as we can into a 24 hour day, sleep is a luxury we can’t afford to cut down on to make it happen.

The human body takes so many hits from outside and inside sources during the day, and sleep is the time we need to heal those hits. Hits come in the form of environmental toxins in the air we breathe, chemicals in the food we eat, genetic causes, emotional stress, injury, disease, bacteria, etc.

I don’t mean to be an alarmist, but it makes logical sense to me that the human body can have a tough time dealing with so many destructive factors on earth every day.

If we want to protect and defend ourselves from harm, we can go back to basic methods of self care, such as good nutrition, regular exercise, sleep, and stress management. Whatever we do during the day is what we choose to do.

During sleep however, the body takes over and does its best to heal itself and make it whole.

For anyone undergoing cancer treatment it’s even more important to get adequate sleep. The body needs extra sleep to heal from the offense of surgery, the toxins in chemotherapy, and the effects of ionizing radiation. Unfortunately many cancer patients are so stressed out that sleep is elusive to them.

When I was going through chemotherapy, the only way I could get to sleep was to play a certain tape which promoted deep relaxation. The tape by Dr. Emmett Miller started off with him saying: “Let your body be in a comfortable position….”
It was a long tape, but after a while I just needed to hear that first phrase and I was asleep. This worked for me to have several naps a day, and to fall asleep at night; obviously I needed more sleep than usual and I allowed myself the time to do that.

For many years after chemo I could still hear Dr. Miller’s voice and if I was unable to fall asleep right away, I would make sure I was in a comfortable position, take a few deep breaths and be asleep in no time.

Deep breathing is one of the main keys to help us sleep, relax, rest, and heal. Anyone can benefit from deep breathing anywhere, anytime, for no cost other than focusing our thoughts on breathing and taking the time to do it. The pay off from deep breathing to help us get much needed sleep is huge.

In our busy lives today, it’s crucial to remember our basic human needs. I believe that sleep and deep relaxation are among the most important building blocks which help us to cope with our daily “busyness”.


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