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Abolish The Debt With Your Eyes Closed
By Eli Bay   Printer Friendly Version

You get less sleep than you need over a period of time; you begin to accumulate a sleep debt. If you lose one hour of sleep each night for a week, you end up with a sleep debt of seven hours.

Whether it's because of a sick child, noisy neighbors, a snoring bed partner, body pain, pressures at work, we all have times when a small sleep debt builds. Usually, two or three good nights of sleep completely restores us.

For many of us, however, sleep debt is an ongoing issue that may stay unresolved for years. It just accumulates and becomes a chronic burden that we become resigned to living with, just more "rust of life" with which to cope. Over time, sleep debt produces significant consequences.

Researchers have discovered that when competitive cyclists are deprived of only three hours of sleep, their performance appeared normal but their bodies were forced to work much harder and they became fatigued much quicker. With a sleep debt of only eight hours, their work time to reach total exhaustion was reduced by about 11%.

As sleep debt builds, the impact starts to become apparent. People begin to lose their sense of humor. They become progressively more irritable, unsociable and depressed. They begin to feel overwhelmed and become indecisive. They often become demotivated and careless about their work. There is general slowing of mental processes. Studies done on radar operators have shown that the ability to keep attentive to the task at hand is reduced in direct proportion to the extent of the sleep debt. Short-term memory strongly suffers as does problem solving and creative thinking.

In other words, if you are part of the minions of sleep-deprived people in this country (between six and ten million), your performance at work, your relationships with others, and your own joie de vivre are being severely compromised.

The common problems of sleep - sleep-onset insomnia, light sleep, frequent or early morning awakening, racing mind, restlessness, nightmares, etc. - are all highly responsive to the regular practice of the "relaxation response".

One client of mine woke up every hour, every night, for eighteen years. She tried remedial treatment at two hospital sleep clinics but the problem remained. She came to the relaxation with a high degree of skepticism. After all, if the doctors with all the equipment couldn't help, how could just minutes of simple relaxation practice make a difference?

To her astonishment, after investing in just a few hours of professional training and roughly 30 minutes of relaxation practice before sleep (usually with a tape), in less than one month she was sleeping soundly through the entire night without awakening even once. Her face changed. She looked ten years younger. She had energy to burn and, for the first time in years, she felt vital and alive again.

Like thousands of people whom I have taught, she developed the ability to release the tensions from her body and better focus and quiet her mind. This took her past (or through) the impediments, which for decades blocked her from natural, restful and revitalizing sleep.

If you (or the people around you) aren't able to function to full potential because of insufficient quality sleep, I invite you to learn the art and science of deep relaxation. If reams of scientific research and countless testimonials aren't enough to convince you, then let the experience of the relaxation response directly prove to you that there is a natural way to overcome sleeplessness.

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