Sleep Your Way to

Better Health


by Carol Deppe


More and more Americans are sleeping their way to better health. A regular sleep program can increase your physical fitness, reduce stress, and improve your overall state of mental well-being. Sleep can even improve your sex life. Recent studies have shown that people who sleep together have better sex lives than people who don't. Sleep can also be an important part of a weight control program. When you are sleeping you are not eating, so sleeping helps you to avoid gaining weight. Sleep is enjoyable. It's good for you. It can be done almost anywhere, at any time of the day or night, and with little or no expensive equipment.

In today's hard-driving society, most people just don't get enough sleep. Many of the world's problems would be solved if people slept more. People who are sleeping are not out stealing hubcaps or mugging other people or destroying the environment or building bombs. We need to return to the way of life that Nature intended for us. And what Nature intended was for us to sleep, and to spend time doing other things only when absolutely unavoidable.

Human beings are designed to sleep. Anyone can see that the human body, arranged as it is in a long flexible rod, is not really designed to be erect. It's meant to be prone. We learned to walk upright only recently, and do so only with considerable stress to the feet, ankles, knees, hips, back, and nearly everything else. Jogging and running are even more physically traumatic than walking. Just standing can lead to back problems, circulatory problems, sore feet, and varicose veins. Man was clearly intended to spend most of his time lying down sleeping.

Woman was intended to spend even more of her time sleeping. This fact accounts for a number of hitherto inexplicable secondary sex differences between human males and females. Women have large pillow-like buttocks which are especially handy and comfortable for sleeping in a sitting or partially reclining position. In addition, women have a substantial layer of subcutaneous fat that cushions them when they lie on rough ground and serves as an insulating layer-a blanket-in cold weather. Neither of these characteristics can be adequately explained except as unique adaptations for more efficient sleep.

Men lack special built-in pillows, cushions, and blankets. They are also more muscular than women-better suited for strenuous physical labor. In short, men are meant to do all the work and women are meant to sleep in the sun.

Sleep is good for everyone, however, whether male or female. Most men can get just as much pleasure and benefit from a sleep program as women. They should start in at a little lower level, however, and take care not to try to progress too rapidly.

Getting Started: Before you embark upon any rigorous sleep program you should consult your doctor and have a complete medical exam. That way, if something goes wrong, there's somebody else to blame.

When and Where to Sleep: Almost anywhere and anytime will do. As a beginner you'll probably start out doing most of your sleeping in bed, and at certain times of day. But as your experience grows, you'll start to recognize opportunities for sleeping everywhere.

How Much Sleep? More is usually better. Most people should try to get at least 16 hours per day. Experts do more than 20 daily. Marathon sleepers, who can sleep walk and sleep talk, routinely approach 24 hours per day, day in, day out, though at that point it's a little hard to tell.

What About My Job? Most jobs are lots more bearable if you are asleep. Look around you. When was the last time any of your coworkers acted as if they were actually awake? If they can sleep work, why shouldn't you?

Set Realistic Goals: It's important to realize that not everybody has the opportunity or ability to become a marathon sleeper. Evaluate your own abilities and situation and design a sleep program that's right for you.

Then jump into bed and start sleeping your way to better health.

Recommended Reading:

What To Do When You Cross the International Date Line in the Wrong Direction and Lose a Whole Night's Sleep, by Marleen Hunter.

Hibernation, by Susan Jurrey.

At Dawn We Slept, by Gordon Prange