Sleep’s Regenerative Capacity III: The Crucial Third Cycle

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            You come out of your third cycle of sleep between 3am-6am, the vast majority of that being REM sleep, where you do a lot of your dreaming. Stage 4 sleep and REM are dominant in this stage. 

If you go to bed at midnight and have to get up at 6am to start your day, you prime yourself to miss your third cycle of sleep, and you end up leaving yourself with time to get through only two sleep cycles. Doing so causes you to lose this crucial opportunity for dream detoxification and memory consolidation, as well as that dominant stage 4 sleep.

You end up waking up with a very active mind that was not able to fully process the demands of the day before, making it harder for you to remember what you need to do in the present. All this builds up to you starting your day on an already deficient state. 

It is in giving ourselves, and our minds and bodies, this gift of going through these three cycles of sleep that we are able to give ourselves what can be properly called “rest” throughout our usual busy days, which is how life should really feel.

There is so much space between the words we speak, and in the events of our days, that go by unappreciated and poorly processed, and this is where the benefit of three cycles of good quality sleep really come into play. In the moments between the meetings and the phone calls, where we’re able to put our bodies into a parasympathetic state, there is a huge opportunity for creative capacity, spiritual wellness, and subconscious processing that is going to be available to us if were able to get that third cycle of sleep.

In missing that third cycle, you tend to be running at the brain, you end up “losing your filter”: saying things you wish you didn't, thinking thoughts that are repetitive and invasive, getting into cycles of self-abuse into your head, and this is where anxiety disorders really get fueled. 

Most subjects that present with sleep disorders are not presenting with a complaint of sleep problems, they come in with anxiety issues. They feel overwhelmed by simple things, molehills become mountains, they feel emotionally on edge, abandoned by everything. Yet, when asked to give an evaluation of their daily life, you find that most are going well, they enjoy fulfilling relationships, they have a handle on their purpose in life—until you go into a sleep hygiene analysis and discover their sleeping habits.

What are we supposed to take away from this? If you’re one who’s been suffering from fractured sleep, or having difficulty staying asleep throughout the night—or staying awake and alert throughout the day, it may be a good idea to consider moving your sleep schedule up earlier to 9 or 10pm, at the latest, and see how well your body responds, and how your disposition adjusts. 

Maybe add to that a conscious effort to take your last meal no later than 6pm, and should you choose to, consume alcohol no later than 5pm, in order to give your body the time it needs to fully metabolize your food intake prior to sleep, so that the body dedicates itself to our body’s restorative processes, and not to digestion, during slumber.

With these practices in mind, our hope is that we all become masters of our own body-intelligence. Through sleep, we gain access our natural healing and regenerative capacities. We can be empowered to generate control over our creative powers, our emotional intelligence, and our mental health, by working with our body and not against it.

The best way we can be of service to facilitate the true and lasting healing of our planet is if we have the reserves of patience, mental clarity, and resilience that is made available to us through the regenerative practice of sleep. We think that’s reason enough to tap into the immense power this simple practice gives.

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