"I'm not sleeping well" is a common complaint.  Weather, current events, time changes, and internal body changes can contribute to interrupted sleep.  Some people even think sleeping 8 hours is a waste of time!

Most people sleep in one of these positions, yet report that they are not refreshed, or experience aches when arising.

Research shows that in many illnesses a change of diet and regular sleep habits create the ability to heal.  The eight hours of sleep are not being wasted; rather, because of those eight hours, you are able to stay awake for sixteen hours. Otherwise you would not be able to stay awake all that time.  Also, the position in which you sleep contributes to the restfulness and re-harmonizing of the body.  The photos above are typical of how many people sleep, but their bodies are not being supported for restorative energy.

During those eight hours of sleep, life-energy is accumulated:  your life gets revitalized, the centers of your brain and heart calm down, and your life functions from your navel center. For those eight hours of sleep you have again become one with nature and with existence. That is why you become revitalized.  It is very important for a meditator to see to it that he sleeps properly and enough,, otherwise meditation becomes a nap. Understand— right sleep will be different for everybody, according to age and to many other elements.

Research also says that there cannot be one fixed time for everyone to wake up. It was always said that to wake up at five o’clock in the morning is good for everyone.  It may be good for some people but it may be harmful for other people. During each twenty-four hours, for about three hours, the body temperature of each person goes down. Those three hours are the hours of deepest sleep. If the person is woken up during those three hours, his whole day will be spoiled and his whole energy will be disturbed.

For most people these three hours are between two to five in the morning, but it is not the case with everyone, especially those who go to sleep after midnight. For some people their body temperature is low until six o’clock, for some it is low until seven. For some their temperature starts becoming normal at four in the morning. If someone wakes up within these hours of low temperature, all twenty-four hours of his day can be spoiled.  There will be harmful effects, such as losing focus or mental acuity, carrying greater amounts of stress and being unable to digest food well or breathe properly. Only when a person’s temperature starts rising to a normal level is it time for him to wake up.

Some wake up with the rising sun, because as the sun rises everyone’s temperature starts rising.  For some, it may be necessary to sleep a little later than sunrise, because each individual’s body temperature rises at a different time, at a different pace. Each person should find out how many hours of sleep he needs and what is a healthy time for him to get up.  For the right sleep, the deeper and the longer you are able to sleep, the better.

Sleep is also enhanced by the following:
1.  A dark room.  Even the glow of the alarm clock can affect the pineal gland, the Master Gland, that signals appropriate hormone functions for the day.  The pineal gland is affected by light, so add in a computer power light blinking, the red button from the TV power signal, night lighting from outside coming in through the window and pretty soon the pineal is thrown off.  Turn appliances away from your bed, but a cloth or post-it over the red dot, place the computer in another room, place your phone in a drawer, use room darkening curtains or shades.  If it is still light enough to see you way around the room, get a sleep mask.

2.  Have a nighttime routine.  Most of us as children had a routine that occurred at the same time in the same way.  Dinner, play, bath, book and snuggle, lights out.  As a grownup, create your own routine in the evenings, allowing an hour for the brain to unwind from LED stimulation by turning off the TV and computer and taking a 20 minute warm (not hot) bath or shower, followed by a foot massage or scalp massage.  The massage will direct the nervous system that it is time to relax, and let your body know you are caring for its well-being.

3.  Place your pillows in a supportive position, close your eyes and deep breathe, releasing the tension from every part of your body.  The following instructions show you how to place your pillows for restful sleep positioning.  With proper support, you body stays in one place and restores rather than is restless, tossing and turning.

Below are the 3 common sleep positions for a non-pregnant person, with adaptations for a more restful sleep, followed by pregnancy positioning for better health for mom and baby.

Normal:  Most common positioning to fall asleep is on your back.  Usually used for better breathing, less wrinkling of face and chest; however, partners complain of snoring, and sleeper reports neck pain upon arising, and body wakes in different position without proper support.  Note how the red lines are angled:  head and neck at 60 degrees (neck pain, compression on esophagus for acid reflux, and palate affected so that snoring occurs while  breathing through open mouth); chest slumped into mattress (poor exchange of breath due to diaphragm compression); hips at 30 degrees (stagnancy of venous and lymphatic circulation, can lead to sciatica, constipation).

BETTER:  Adjust thickness of pillows so that curvature of neck is similar to that when standing.  This may require a wedge that also ends under shoulder blades, good for reflux and snoring, or experimenting with several kinds of thicknesses of pillows to find the right thickness.  Place another pillow or rolled towel under knees and lower legs to allow circulation from toes to lungs.

Normal:  Red lines show different angles to which body is broken up, resulting in neck, shoulder and low back aches; with feet angled, can result in poor circulation.

BETTER:  Flatter pillow support under face (try no pillow or a towel folded once), thicker pillow under belly, from below ribs to hips, and rolled towel or medium thickness pillow under ankles.  This results in straighter line from skull through glutes, enhancing digestion, breathing and muscle balance

Normal:  Side lying in almost fetal or fetal positioning.  Neck is crooked, upper shoulder falls forward, upper hip and leg forward, legs bent at hips and knees.  This  puts extra pressure on leg veins, pulling hips and shoulders that were most probably held forward during the day with sitting, carrying loads, and deskwork.  These sleepers report puffy faces, wrinkling on pecs, shoulder aches and leg pains.

BETTER:  Pillow smaller, supporting cervical (neck) spine.  Use a Body pillow; the length supports shoulders and upper hip at a right angle.  Bottom leg should be in straight line from head, shoulders and back (see below).  Red line shows spine is straight.


Pregnancy has its own challenges as the growing uterus and its ligament supports pull on areas that may not have been in good alignment to start.  The wedge pillows illustrated are available for purchase from Deborah.

Normal:  Mom has neck bent, so that chin almost to chest, uterus resting on two main vessels-aorta and vena cava-so that Mom’s circulation becomes worsened as uterus grows, ankles flat on bed, can contribute to swelling overnight.

BETTER:  First photo shows smaller pillow under neck, and small wedge pillow under right hip, tilting uterus slightly off the two main circulating blood vessels.  Second view (below) shows pillows or wedge supporting neck and upper back, wedge under right hip, and support under lower legs.  Could be why pregnant women nap so well in a recliner chair.

Normal:  Unless your health care provider has determined that yours is a high-risk pregnancy, studies have not found that sleeping on one side vs the other is more beneficial.  Rather it is the accumulated fluids, circulation, ability to breathe and positioning that contributes to a poor night’s sleep.


BETTER:  As with back sleeper, wedge under growing baby to support pelvis.  Then appropriate width pillow under neck, body pillow for shoulder through knee, resting upper arm and leg at right angles (90 degrees) from body. (see below) Spine should be in straight line from skull through hips, with bottom leg continuing the straight line.  As pregnancy progresses, and uterus grows, add one or two pillows under upper arm and upper leg; a second body pillow may be more convenient.  Note how shoulder extends straight from back, allowing for full expansion of lungs, and relief of pressure from enlarging breasts.  Upper leg extending at right angle allows uterine ligaments to relax, without extra pulling from the sides.