Transforming Bad Sleep into Sound Sleep



More often than not these last years I wake up more tired than when I go to bed even though I try to follow yoga asanas etc that are designed to relax for sleep. It is just a bad habit that I have gotten into mentally where I feel I wont have any form of rejuvenating sleep. Day is just rolling into day. Even when I dream its not enjoyable anymore and I dont seem to have any dreams of any importance. I am not conscious of being part of them anymore.

Thanks for your advice


—Cyril, Ireland


Dear Cyril,


Problems like yours seem nasty and negative, but at times they are the necessary push for us to change something in our life which otherwise we’d never change. In other words, they might end up being divinely useful.

Inherent in every problem lies its solution, so it is said. The solution in your case, however, is not obvious, as it might be found on the physical, mental, or environmental level. So the best thing seems to be to try various possible solutions:


– I have found that a full stomach is an enemy for sound sleep. Do you eat lightly at night? If the answer is no, try taking only liquid warm food at night, a soup or warm milk.

– Poisons in the intestines can irritate our system, disturbing our sleep and dreams. If that is your case, fasting one day a week, and three days once a month, might be your solution (long-term). Yogananda suggested that kind of fasting anyway, for our health. It can be partial fasting too, on fresh fruit or fruit juices.

– You may try Swami Kriyananda’s sleep potion before going to bed: boil a little chopped garlic in milk, simmering it for ten minutes.

– The body without exercise doesn’t rest well at night. Do you exercise your body daily? If not, try to sweat once a day, exercising. Even only 10 or 15 minutes, but vigorously.

– In your yoga asanas, do you practice them right before sleep? If not, that would be best. Do you use slow conscious yoga? Only such yoga stimulates our parasympathetic nervous system (responsible for relaxation). Concentrate on relaxing tensions in the body. Tensions prevent good sleep. Bend forward, backward, sideward, then add a twist. Always inhale into the stretch, and then emphasize the exhalation, which is connected with relaxation.

– When you are in bed at night, try Yogananda’s 20 body part exercise, focusing on relaxation. Tense individual each body part with medium tension, then relax: left foot, right foot; left calf, right calf; left thigh, right thigh; left buttock, right buttock; abdomen, stomach; left forearm, right forearm; left upper arm, right upper arm; left chest, right chest; left neck, right neck; throat, back of neck. This exercise relaxes, and also balances the inner energy flow, which might help you to be relaxed during sleep.


– You say you are exhausted when you wake up. It is taught that any thought we carry into our subconsciousness as we fall asleep will affect our waking state the next day. So at night never say or feel, “I am tired.” Say, “I am great, and now I give some rest to the body.” Also the bad habit which you describe, which makes you feel you wont have any form of rejuvenating sleep, must be reprogrammed. Watch out for that thought, replace it.

– Might it be that subconsciously you live in a constant current of stress, anxiety, or fear, which come to the surface at night, not letting you sleep? In that case fight those mental enemies with affirmations of peace, during the day, and before sleep. For example: “Peace flows through my heart, and blows through me as a zephyr. Peace fills me like a fragrance. Peace runs through me like rays.” Act peacefully, in a relaxed way, as much as you can. If you often have worries, go on a “worry-fast”: refuse determinedly any feeling of worry for a certain hour each day, then make it two, then three, etc.


– If your head faces West or South at night it might disturb your sleep. Best sleep with the head facing East.

– Sometimes changing the location of our bed can be the solution. It might have to do with water currents in the ground, or electrical currents near the bed.

– Does your bedroom have a restful atmosphere? There should be no work going on there (especially not in bed), no restless music, TV, no exciting colors.

– Air needs to circulate through the room at night. Is that your case? I never sleep well with a closed window.

A SPIRITUAL tip: At night imagine this world, and everything that is happening in your life, as being a big movie. Give the whole “show” and all your responsibilities back into the hands of the “Stage Director.” Detach yourself and say: “It is Yours for the night.” In that spirit, Yogananda recommended the following prayer, to be done at night before sleeping: “Lord, the world has ended for me. I am resting in Thine arms. Thou hast put me here to watch Thy movies of life: tragedy and laughter, health and disease, life and death, wealth and poverty, war and peace – these are naught but dreams to entertain me. Untouched, I rest in the thought of Thee, the only Reality.”

Don’t worry that your dreams seem to have no importance. Most dreams are only subconscious confusion and don’t have much importance anyway.

I wish you will find the right solution soon. Maybe your intuition can help you. As I said in the beginning, the solution is always there, waiting to be found.

God bless you, Jayadev