All life on Earth is determined, directed or defined by rhythms. Many are obvious, such as day and night, the flow of seasons and birth, growth, aging on to death. We see these play out over and over all around us, but we often forget that we, too, are a part of it all.

Caught up as we are in our electronically choreographed schedules in artificially lit rooms and thermostatically controlled airflow, it is easy to lose track of the subtle, yet relentless rhythm that tries to keep us in balance with the rest of the universal life force.

Our bodies, just like those of the birds and the bees, the bass, bison and birch are designed to function in rhythms. As far as sleep is concerned, the most important rhythms are the circadian rhythms. Circ-dia means “about a day”. These rhythms repeat every 24 hours and are generally driven by or in line with the tides of light. We are programmed to sleep when it becomes dark and cool. For nocturnal animals these same changes signal waking and activity.

Our body chemistry changes with the setting of the sun and many important physiologic functions are dependent upon or at least most efficient in darkness and in sleep. Among these functions are tissue repair, hormonal rebalancing, immune modulation and memory fixing. When we try to force our bodies to work against these pre-programmed rhythms we are fighting against nothing less formidable than Mother Nature herself. When we recognize, respect and align ourselves with the rhythms of nature we recruit this same powerful source as an ally.

If you are having trouble sleeping at night or maintaining your energy through the day you may have lost touch with your internal rhythms. Instead of reaching for counterfeit energy in a can of cola or sugary snack try tuning into what’s going on outside. Get out into the yard, a park or a meadow. Smell real air, feel breezes, even rain. At dusk when the natural light dims, dim your lights too. As the activity outdoors slows, so should you. Open your windows to remember how much it cools down at night. To sleep well you need to cool down as well.

Try spending some time in the dark awake, just being still. When was the last time you turned out all the lights when you weren’t going to sleep? If you can sit outside in the dark you may be able to enjoy the stars and let your imagination open up as your active day drops away. Why should dreaming have to wait for sleep?

These simple steps to bring some awareness back to the natural flow of you within the you-niverse can be giant strides toward deep, peaceful sleep and positive productive days.

Author's Bio: 

Patty Tucker is a professional sleep coach and consultant who has helped thousands world wide improve their relationship with their sleep. Patty practiced medicine as a physician assistant for 22 years with the last 10 as a sleep specialist. She believes that healthy rest and sleep are crucial components to a happy, productive and successful life.