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How Addictions And Sleep Problems Feed Into Each Other and How To Find Balance Again. (Quit Smoking/Drugs/Alcohol More Easily)

    ura soul
    How Addictions And Sleep Problems Feed Into Each Other and How To Find Balance Again. (Quit Smoking/Drugs/Alcohol More Easily)

    In a queue at a supermarket recently I noticed a man ahead of me with a huge belly and reddish skin who had bought about 9 bottles of red wine and some ice cream. My dad joked with him that we would join his party and he replied "You'll have to be quick, I drink these to sleep at night!". I felt sad that he, like me in the past, was damaging himself due to misunderstandings about the body's needs regarding sleep and nutrition - so here's some of what I've learned the hard way about sleep, habits, addictions and health.

    Sleep is a time for recovery and regeneration

    While we are resting, our body redirects it's energies towards regenerating itself and repairing damage caused during the day. Our body can be compared to a computer in some senses and just like how your computer runs many processes that each take up a percentage of it's resources, so too does our body. When we stop eating (fasting) our body can switch from the intensive digestion that's needed to process the food we eat to the alternative process of intensive healing - which is a big part of why fasting is great for health. While we are sleeping, we are also fasting - so it follows that sleep is great for health too.

    The more repair work our body is able to complete and that it needs to complete, the more we will benefit from sleep and ideally the more tired we will be in order to trigger us to rest and thus heal.

    The nature of addiction

    I often see news stories stating that 'researchers shine new light on addiction' and other such ideas, but the reality is that while there are deep levels of chemistry that can be researched and understood - the basic mechanics of addiction have been clear to me and many others for a long time. In essence, we are addicted to behaviours that we think will 'fix' our feelings that we don't like to feel. For example, we might start smoking cigarettes because we tried one and felt the 'lift in mood' that they can cause temporarily. After the effects wore off we might have mentally compared (consciously or sub-consciously) the difference in feeling/mood we experienced during the 'high' of the cigarette to the feelings we now feel - which will typically include a discomfort that wasn't present before we smoked the cigarette, since the smoke from the cigarette has done our body some harm. We COULD decide to recognise in full consciousness that we now feel uncomfortable and that possibly the cigarette was the cause, or we could just 'give in' and smoke another cigarette instead. Typically, younger people are not conscious enough of the need to pay attention here and so just smoke another cigarette.

    Rapidly, this pattern is expanded to include ATTACHMENT to the cigarettes as a means of avoiding the real feelings that are being felt, which may include anger and under that some survival fear as well - after all, smoke inhalation is a serious business for the body which can die fast with enough smoke. If this pattern continues for just a few repetitions, it can be enough to shift the process of 'fixing the feelings I don't like by smoking a cigarette' into a sub-conscious and partially denied process that just runs on autopilot. To the disconnected mind, the smoking has 'solved the problem' of real feelings, but in reality this is delusional since all that has occurred is that the mind has found a way to block out the reality of the situation but at the expense of overall health.

    This basic pattern of avoidance and highs/lows can be found in all addictions as far as I am aware, yet still it is something that most have not fully comprehended due to the MASSIVE level of emotional denial at all levels of society, including those who are the alleged 'voices of authority' on health and addiction. Let's not forget that it was only 2/3 generations ago that Medical Doctors were on TV telling everyone how smoking cigarettes was great for their health!

    The relationship of sleep to addictions

    The more we deny our real feelings and cause damage to our body, the more we will need to rest in order to repair the damage and also give our real emotions some space to express while we are 'asleep'. Emotions that express while we are sleeping can be seen as unconscious movement of the body and the making of groaning and other sounds.

    The problems here really start to get worse because many drugs that people are addicted to will artificially stimulate our brain chemistry to keep us awake long after we would otherwise have gone to sleep. Cigarettes, Coffee, Amphetamines, Cocaine and other compounds will often force us to stay awake - even to the point of total exhaustion - so this is a double whammy for our health in that we are possibly harming our body with the chemicals and then further harming us by preventing our body from healing. Note: Blue light from computer screens and TVs can also keep us artificially awake - so you can look into installing an app light f.lux onto your computer to prevent that problem.

    As our sleep deficit increases, we feel ever less balanced and less comfortable, so our motivation to continue our addictions grows ever further - meaning that we are now locked in to a self destructive cycle that will continue indefinitely until we reach a health crisis, die or change our ways through our own enlightenment.

    Shining your own new light

    It is not enough to simply read that 'a researcher' his 'shined new light' into addictions and sleep issues - we need to understand the situation ourselves internally by increasing our own awareness of who we are and how we operate as a physical being. The most important step, in my experience, is to start noticing more about our experience and asking questions about our own behaviour patterns and the health effects we are experiencing in relation to them. It is only through increased awareness that we can gain access to the information that we have been mentally denying and which we need in order to make better decisions.

    Why do I feel that I need to smoke a cigarette or drink a beer quickly after I wake up?
    What will occur if I stop my habit?
    Is there a way I can change how I feel without continuing the expensive and destructive habits?

    Our minds are electromagnetic and I feel strongly that addictions set up a kind of magnetic attraction to particular thought patterns and behaviours being focused on internally within our own electric mind. So, it follows that initially we need to be aware of this and learn to think more slowly so that we can add in more questioning about our own thought process as we think. This is a very important part of becoming more conscious and also healing/balancing. As we learn more about WHY we think and feel as we do - through an increase in our own receptivity to our feelings/needs - we also increase our own internal light of self and thus experience real enlightenment.

    Practical solutions for addictions and sleep disturbance

    Thankfully, we now have both the internet and a large global community of 'health nuts' who have put many years of their lives into exploring ways to feel better and get healthier that are tried and tested - so you can be thankful that the task of coming into balance will be much simpler for you than it was for previous pioneers. It is now relatively easy to research nutrition and other health factors - plus, significantly, to actually see the body, eyes, energy and experience of many of the people who adopt and promote particular approaches to health via the medium of video.... So now we can assess quite simple whose techniques really do get great results and which probably don't - at least to an extent which can help us to make informed decisions quickly which can then be adapted for our own specific needs.

    I have learned a lot this way and I have lost count of the number of sources I have learned from along the way. Here are some tips that I find work for me:

    1. Addictions take their 'power' from our own dysfunctional emotional states. Increase emotional health to resolve this. I post on this regularly.
    2. Physical exercise stimulates the body through oxygenation and helps us feel stronger and better all round. Exercise also tires us out more which means we will sleep more easily and more deeply. Along with emotional heath, getting the body moving is an absolute requirement here. Yoga is a great way to improve fitness and overall balance.
    3. Remove fixed and controlled patterns from your life. Addictions are inherently rigid and so if we live life by the clock we are feeding that rigidity and also limiting our free will expression and choices in life. When I studied Ninjutsu as a teenager, I learned that the historic ninja warriors would not have any kind of fixed sleep cycle so that they could be awake in any moment at any time, when needed. I have taken this to heart to some extent and the benefits are clear to me, now that I have made space in my life to ensure that I am not making agreements with 'employers' that I will always be at 'work' at a fixed time. You are a powerful creator but you can prevent your power from manifesting by making compromises such as agreeing to work a time schedule that doesn't work with your real needs.
    4. Make sure nutritional needs are being met. If you haven't put considerable focus into learning about the benefits of organic food and what your body really needs, then this is a must and it will make a huge difference to you once you understand how much better you feel when you get what you really NEED instead of what you beLIEve you want.
    5. Sleep in a totally dark room/space. Our brain chemistry is configured to wake us when light enters our local environment and to promote sleep when there is darkness - so it follows that installing 'blackout curtains' will help some people in some situations.
    6. Connect to the Earth's Elements and Sunlight: Our bodies need connection to the planet and to receive a sufficient amount of sunlight. These are really also nutrients in their own right, but since we typically don't think of them in that way - it is worth making the point here more precisely that these are essentials too.
    7. MEDITATION. A busy mind is not a restful mind and so it is valuable to learn how to create a mental stability and peace that promotes rest. Meditation is the traditional and highly effective way to do this and yoga goes hand in hand with it.

    Choices Made From Love

    What connects all of this together is that we are learning to identify decisions which are lacking in self love and changing them to be more supportive of the self respect/nurture/care/love that we need if we are to be healthy. This is a not a 'lame/weak' concept - doing what we love to do and embodying love is the only possible way for us to feel really good and is thus a fundamental requirement of survival itself. If we go through life feeling bad, we will not want to continue - whereas if we feel really good, we will surely want to continue and thus will do whatever we need to survive, rather than give up and die like the majority continue to do, sadly, every day.

    Wishing you well,
    Ura Soul