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The Joy of (Less) Sleep

Posted Sep 14 2008 3:05pm

One of the most obvious changes I experienced on my path to a 100% living foods diet was the very apparent reduction in the hours needed for sleep every night.


Before going raw, even while I was a vegan, I needed around 8 hours of sleep. I figured that this was perfectly acceptable, and according to popular literature, quite healthy and normal.

"Healthy" and "Normal" should not be grouped in the same sentence. Normal is nowhere near healthy.

So when my eating habits became anything but normal, so did my sleeping habits. I consumed massive amounts of green smoothies and lots of water, and within two weeks, I was waking up completely alert and rested after only 4 hours. I read very little literature on raw foods before this, so I had no clue what was going on. It hit me like a ray of light through the clouds.

I would fall asleep at 2am, well after my roommates, and then proceed to wake up at 6am. I didn't even want to lay in bed because I had so much energy and I just wanted to do something with it. I would watch the sunrise and read, or stretch and listen to success tapes. Laying in bed just wasn't an option anymore.

For me, it is one of the biggest benefits, and if all the 9 to 5'ers started discovering this, I think we could regain our status as a major economic force. I sometimes wish I had an office job (well...not really...) just to be the only one there who is raw and just be completely alert and on point...getting things done effectively.

And if you can go from 8 hours a night down to 4 hours a night, think of all the time you are gaining to create and LIVE. Thats over an entire extra day each week to be productive and enjoy life. Think about that. Why hasn't Wall St. discovered this little gem? They are chugging coffee and taking who-knows-what while they could be buzzing on the natural high, with no crashes and break-downs.

When my sleep hours go down, I know that I'm getting closer to optimal health. This is my path though... it might be different for you. I'm just sharing my experience. Many have said that its not healthy to get so little sleep, but they aren't considering the level of health that many of us have attained through a living-foods diet high in leafy greens. The body doesn't need to use all its energy to digest, and all that nutrition means that the body is healing itself much quicker.

Here are my tips to shave off those hours of sleep, and start adding more LIFE to your life. Again, only my experience here...

1. Eat Early

The earlier I eat, the stronger my digestion is and the less energy my body has to use in order to break down that food while I lay in bed. I usually try to finish eating about 6 hours before bedtime, and then just drink water to keep me satisfied. This may seem difficult at first, but this is a strong habit to adopt. I can only suggest that you try it for a while and then decide if its right for you.

2. Eat Light

A Raw food diet high in nuts, seeds, and other plant fats would make me sleep more. These foods would slow me down. Instead of 4 hours, I would need 6. Still 100% raw, but not as vibrant and totally on point and awake in the morning. Just because we are 100% raw doesn't mean that there is no longer any room for improvement. A diet high in juicy fruits and leafy greens always gave me the best results, especially if I combined these two items together in a green smoothie.

3. Wake with Sunlight

As annoying as it may seem...waking with sunlight on your face will dramatically affect your mood and productivity for the day in a positive way. You will need much less sleep and be in a better mood. Rise with the sun and you can't go wrong. I would sometimes sleep in places that were totally closed off from light and it was so much easier to stay tired and lay in bed an extra few hours. Our brains need the light...don't deprive.

4. Breathing Exercises

I have always felt my best while I was consistently doing breathing exercises. I take 10-20 DEEP breaths before I go to bed, and when I rise in the morning, and by doing so I feel that I am really oxygenating my blood and my brain... therefore giving me that extra "Ooomph" in the morning. How many people regularly take big deep breaths everyday? Hardly anyone that I know. Do you think this could make a positive difference? Would it be worth trying for a week?

5. Daily Moderate Exercise

When we exercise we oxygenate our blood, organs, and of course...our brain. It helps to rid our bodies of toxins, and according to a recent University study, is just as effective at fighting depression as Prozac. Hmmmm....

6. Super Hydrated

Again... It comes down to oxygen.... My homeboy Dhrumil says it best on this post: Better Sleep Part 1 - Dehydration

As for my sleep pattern right now, I usually stay up till 6am, sleep on my yoga mat on the floor, and wake around 930-10am. I sometimes take a one-hour nap in the late evening, but lately I've been so busy with friends and activities that I haven't had time to do so.

Sounds crazy to some, but when you get deep into the methods I listed above, you might notice some striking similarities. Couldn't you benefit from an entire extra day each week to take care of all of your goals and things on your to-do list? Think of what you could accomplish!

And also... if you can sleep near plant-life, or better yet - outside, by all means do so. Oxygen!!!

Experts love to come the public with facts and figures about how we need X amount of sleep because of this or that. But from my first hand experience and the experience this just isn't the case. And you don't need some expert telling you what isn't and isn't possible. I'm here saying try it for yourself! You simply can't sleep anymore when your eyes open up after 4-5 hours. The body wakes up when it is ready, and you just have to trust it. Again, try it and let me know. I've only experienced this on raw foods... if I went back to cooked, I would need 8-10 hours easily. Talk about a loss of quality and quantity of life!

We have the tools now to be more productive, more joyful, and more effective in our lives. And the best part about it is we don't have to wait for some future pill or seal of approval. A new life awaits you right here, right now! Are you ready to embrace it?

Much love always,
Anthony aka Raw Model

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