by Mark Tassi

Sleep is one of the most important ingredients to health, not just physical health either, and one of the biggest pitfalls in the journey of health is not getting enough sleep. Sleep is absolutely essential to good mental health as well as anyone who has been sleep deprived undoubtedly knows. Sleep is more important than eating, as important as drinking and almost as important as breathing. Sleep recharges the physical battery and organizes the mental apparatus. Without sleep, we find ourselves soon being unable to function properly, even more so mentally than physically.

In this modern age of technology and alarm clocks and ambition, capital gains and schedules, adequate sleep is often overlooked. The one who “sleeps in” is regarded as unambitious, lazy, unfit for modern society. “Burning the midnight” oil has, in this modern era, been associated with the hard worker and what we call a “go getter.”

But what about sleep? What about recharging the battery? We’re all too enthusiastic about charging the iPhone but not generally nearly as enthusiastic to charge the apparatus which we inhabit, which we use every day all our lives. When I mentioned to a friend of mine, God bless him, that the alarm clock was an “evil” invention, it was met with ridicule. Why? Because if we need an alarm clock to wake up, then we haven’t slept enough. They now even have apps which are specially designed to help you to force yourself from a sound sleep. If forcing yourself from a sound sleep seems natural to you, then you’ve undoubtedly become indoctrinated by modern times. I’ll go even farther and say that you’ve been bamboozled by it!

Our body’s natural clock is set to the natural cycle of Sunrise and Sunset. When it gets dark, the body begins to produce certain hormones which encourage sleep. At dawn, the body stops producing those hormones. That’s why that if you get up at night and turn a light on, it’s often difficult to get back to sleep. The light fooled the brain into thinking that it was time to get up. One time, I accidentally shined a bright flash light in my eyes while camping at 2:30 in the morning. That was the end of my sleep for that night.

Keep in mind that the homeland is the tropical forest. The nearer we get to the equator, our natural home, the closer is the length of the night and day to one another. On the equator, our origin, nights and days are about 12 hours in length year round. At the equator, the Sun rises at around 7:30 and sets at around 7:30 year round. Before the advent of technology, light bulbs, candles etc., darkness in the tropical forest would allow for us to do little else other than sleep. It would have been dangerous never mind impractical to do much else. In these modern days, 12 hours of sleep is regarded as excessive, but if we look back to more natural times, that would have been just routine.

Early nights and waking up when the body naturally wakes is what our bodies are designed to do. We are diurnal creatures designed for activity during the day and inactivity at night. The best hours of sleep come before midnight, but certainly when it is dark, completely dark. The best sleep, the best rest comes when it is completely dark without any hint of light as it would have been in the forest at night under the tropical canopy.

Today, I didn’t have to get up at any particular time. Last night I went to bed fairly early. So I slept until I naturally awoke. Today I am absolutely super charged. Admittedly there are more factors in this feeling of unlimited energy than just sleep. Proper diet, a diet which does not usurp much of the body’s energy for unnecessary digestion, proper hydration, Sun shine, deep breathing and physical activity are essentials. But all of these things mean much less without enough sleep.

Sleep friends. Sleep. Get early nights, nights early enough so that we awake naturally, without the aid of an alarm clock. Recharge that battery! Don’t let so-called ambition or downright disorganization interfere with one of the most important factors in being the human dynamos that we naturally are!