How do you go to sleep at night?
When was the last time you went to sleep angry, disappointed or feeling just awful? Here’s a better question – do you think that can affect you in any way? Do the emotions you go to sleep with affect your mental well being and can they affect your future?
One saying that I have kept close to heart, is one that my dad gave me; he always reminded me to “never go to sleep angry”. For a long time I didn’t understand why that was important or why it mattered. Now, after years of practising that idea, I understand the importance behind it.
Think of a baby. I remember reading that when babies and young children go to sleep they work over, in their minds, the days events. It’s during sleep that they begin to formulate the ideas of the day. Think about this – during the day the baby or the child is seeing and listening, with no time to actually think and figure out what’s going on. Infact, our ability to understand things, consciously, doesn’t start until much later, usually after we are 7 years old.
Up to that point we are a sponge taking in everything, learning. The only time we are able to process anything is when we are asleep. That’s when we see the baby and the child smiling in their sleep, a lot of rapid-eye-movement (REM) and making some strange and weird motions, facially and physically. They are processing the days events during their sleep.
You’re still sleep processing
It doesn’t stop just because we pass that age. Infact, now it becomes more important. Why?
Because we now have that cognitive ability, the ability to consciously think, choose our thoughts and understand why we are thinking what we are thinking.
For example, have you watched television until just before you went to bed and had some weird dreams that you could relate to what you watched? Or what about when you fell asleep reading something you couldn’t figure out and not only have you dreamed about it, a bit of a restless sleep, but you woke up in the morning with those same or similar thoughts and possibly a solution to that problem you couldn’t figure out before.
What’s going on? Why does this happen? Science has told us that when we sleep we are no longer in conscious control. We begin to talk directly to our subconscious mind. Unless you are able to consciously interact with your dreams.
It’s the reason why Freud’s concept that our dreams are directly related to our emotions, feelings and experiences has become so important that the science of deciphering our dreams is relevant.
Personally, I have some weird dreams sometimes that make no sense at all. Other times I recognise a subconscious belief surfacing. At other times it’s a strange dream that becomes reality later on – a premonition or a déjà vu. But even a premonition or a déjà vu can be explained as a consequence of a subconscious goal! That’s another post.
Enter the Subconscious
The first and last five minutes of our day, when we first wake up and just before we fall asleep are considered to be two of the most important times of our day. It is at those times, when we are still half asleep and our subconscious is susceptible to conscious influence – in other words, it’s at those times that we can best put an idea into your subconscious because you are still drifting between sleep and awake (see more on sleep at TUCK).
On the other hand you might be like me – as soon as my eyes open I am fully awake and when I sleep I can’t even recall feeling sleepy. It’s a case of moving from sleep to full awareness without a middle ground.
Either way, I always make sure I do two things – I put my mind at rest and any negative feelings I’ve had I have long put to rest. It’s now a habit. The second thing is that prior to sleep I read something beneficial and think about what I want and how my future will be (remember – for your subconscious the past, present and future are the same; there is no distinction).
By doing this I am preparing my mind, specifically my subconscious, for the night ahead and what I want it to take on.
It could be a character trait that you want to take on, a change of life, health, career, job, anything that is to do with you. Thinking about this before you go to sleep, running it through your mind and, just as importantly, feeling how you would feel if it was so (acting as if), you are preparing the soil for the seed to enter your subconscious mind.
“Never go to sleep angry”
This I wanted to share with you because it has had a massive impact on my life. Before understanding how our mind, conscious and subconscious, works, those were just words that I took on faith, because it came from a reliable source and a source I trusted, my dad. I didn’t understand the impact of the meaning behind those words but now I do.
When we sleep with negative emotions our subconscious will process that feeling and those thoughts and will begin to bind them to our daily life, unless we consciously choose not to let that happen and change the process during our day, when we are awake.
But, if we don’t, that anger can turn into other negative emotions. Anger can become hate, jealousy, fear. And if those are feelings that you have for your husband or wife, then the relationship is already on a downward slope. If it’s for your boss or a work colleague, that relationship is on a downward slope.
Whether you realise it or not your behaviour and conduct towards those people will change. And if you try and hide it the energy you will be giving out will give you away – you have felt that at sometime in your life as well.
Choosing to change that state before sleep does two things – it improves your mindset and puts you at rest and it will inevitably improve your relationships. If you messed up during the day, said something you now regret or simply just want to clear the air, do so before you go to sleep. Don’t do it just for you, do it and mean it – your subconscious knows the difference. You cannot lie to your own inquisition!
There is another effect to this, our health. A habit of negative thought will affect us. Our own mental health is directly linked to our physical health, so taking those negative thoughts to bed with us will only have negative effects to our body. Compare that to going to bed thinking, “My body heals me while I sleep” and feeling the sensation of a perfectly healthy body.
What we think is a choice of our own making. Every habit we possess we choose to keep or get rid. The thoughts we take to bed with us are our own invisible bed partner. It can either aid us or hinder us. It can bring things to gather or drive them apart.
Pick your bedtime stories wisely. They affect every part of your life.
As you lie in bed preparing for your nightly slumber, remember that the last thought you have in your mind can last up to four hours in your subconscious mind. That’s four hours of programming from just one moment of contemplation prior to going into your unconscious state.
In a dream, in a vision of the night, when deep sleep falleth upon men, in slumberings upon the bed; Then he openeth the ears of men, and sealeth their instruction…
Job 33:15-16, KJV