In June 2014, I wrote a 32+ page zine called How To Sleep. I’ll send it to your for free if you want it! It was handmade with love and I hope you enjoy it.
You can also read the whole zine below! If you like what you see, consider getting the zine because there are some special things in it that can not be expressed the same here online. 🙂
How To Sleep
The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.
Part One: What You Need
Part Two: Steps on How To Sleep
My name is Neik Glasshouse and I would like to share with you my personal guide on how to sleep. You may think to yourself, “What the hell? I already know how to sleep.” True, I can’t argue with you on that. Sleep is a basic human need and we sleep like eating, drinking, and breathing.
With this guide, I go deeper into the beauty of sleep and how you can use it to grow. We spend a third of our lives sleeping, why not use something you spend so much time on to get the most out of it? There has to be a profound reason that we spend so much of our life sleeping, don’t you think? Knowing the potential you gain from the act of sleeping is the first step. The next step is to take action and use your amazing abilities to take your awareness to another level.
This guide may be good for you if any of the following applies to you:
- I want to sleep better.
- I want to remember my dreams.
- I want to learn how to wake up without an alarm.
- I want to grow in self-awareness.
- I want to make the most out of sleeping.
I’ve been a lover of sleep and dreams since my teenage years. For about a decade I’ve been able to master my internal alarm clock. Not having to rely on an alarm clock and taking my sleep and dreams to another level has allowed me to grow in awareness. I’m really excited to share my passion with you!
As you read this zine, you’ll notice I do not get into much of the scientific explorations of sleep and dreams. Instead, I walk through my personal opinion and experiences of practicing certain techniques that have developed naturally for me through the years.
This guide is not meant for everyone (or even anyone) to follow. I simply wrote this because I enjoy sharing my passion and approach to something that is vital to me. You may or may not choose to connect with it, but if you happen to get something out of it, awesome!
You are reading the first edition of this zine. I plan on making updates and creating a second edition one day. This is mainly because I am also constantly growing, learning, and improving my sleep “skills” and I would love to continue to share my thoughts with you.
For more information on sleep, dreams, and some other stuff that I think is pretty damn cool, please check out this site I created: consciousfloat.com. You can also buy more copies of this zine on the site.
I hope you enjoy reading as much as I enjoyed sharing. Please let me know what you think!
Love and kisses,
Step One: What You Need
I personally enjoy a lower bed. I found a great bed set at the perfect height at Ikea a few years ago. I can sit on the edge of my bed like I am sitting on a low chair, which is much more comfortable and cozy than having a high bed. The bed set only requires one mattress so I only had to buy one. This allowed me to use that extra money I saved to spend more on that one perfect mattress.
Keeping clean sheets and washing them at least once every other week should go without saying, but I’m going to say it anyway. Wash your sheets regularly!
Another thing that keeps my bed comfortable is that I don’t sit or lay on my bed if I have “outside” clothes on. Don’t lie on your bed with work clothes on or clothes that you went out clubbin’ in. I will only get on my bed if I have my home clothes or pajamas on. This keeps the bed clean and the icky energy off. If you have pets, I highly recommend you don’t let them sleep on your bed. Not only can they disrupt your reflection and meditation time, but they also bring in dander that spoils the sheets a lot faster.
I also believe a home would be a happier home without wearing shoes in the house, but if you “must” at least don’t wear shoes in your bedroom. Just imagine for a moment all the shit the bottom of your shoes touch… now imagine that inside your home or in your bedroom.
Living in the city can be frustrating sometimes when there are a lot of noises and distractions coming from the outside world. You can’t really do much about the things you can’t control. Do your best to choose a living situation that is good for your nighty night times.
What you can control is not using an alarm. This may sound impossible to most people, but I have lived without using an alarm for about a decade. I will talk about this more in the next sections.
Step Two: Steps on How To Sleep
Go ahead… take off most if not all of your clothes. Turn off the lights and lay your pretty head down on your pillow. Don’t even think about checking Facebook or Twitter before going to bed. Give yourself a break and turn that shit off. Don’t forget to put your phone on silent so random late night texts and calls don’t disturb you.
Now close your eyes. Do you ever notice that beautiful moment when you first lay down to rest or go to sleep after being very tired? It feels pretty damn good, doesn’t it? Instead of falling asleep right away, swim in the moment of consciously feeling that relaxation. That moment of sweet relief is the moment I personally lay down my night’s foundation of gratitude.
Take this initial moment to be grateful for whatever you feel at the moment.* Whatever it is that comes into mind be kind and gentle; see the beauty in what you experienced and felt today. Gratitude will keep you compassionate, humble, and open.
Maybe you feel grateful for your body that can feel the vibrations of the world so you can experience the beauty of nature. Maybe you’re grateful for your brain that can take electrical impulses to create images for you to explore our world. Maybe you’re grateful that you can open your eyes to see the incredible array of colors that are constantly offered to us for pure enjoyment. Maybe you feel grateful for life and being a part of this amazing existence as a human being. And maybe you feel grateful for those delicious bacon pancakes you had today… thank you, pig, for feeding my tummy.
Whatever it may be, just open your heart for a moment to let things in and be thankful for the opportunity.
Part 2 of Reflection: Awakening Awareness
The second aspect of reflection is noting when you have to wake up. The purpose of this is to achieve waking up without an alarm.
In this moment of reflection to gain more awakening awareness, you have to simply tell your mind and body that you need to wake up at a certain time. You’d be surprised at how your body listens. Here are some tips on how to sync your mind and body to learn how to wake up without an alarm:
1. Ask yourself what time you need to get up.
2. Request yourself to get up when that time comes.
3. Accept the need to get up at this time by digesting the fact with your body and mind.
These tips may sound trivial and obvious, but it is necessary and important to set your intention. It may also be harder than it sounds if you are used to relying on an alarm clock. An alarm clock is exactly what it is called: alarming. It is toxic to the peace you acquire from sleep. Alarm clocks also make it more difficult to remember your dreams. If you truly want better sleep, consider “learning” how to not use an alarm by making your own body become the alarm itself.
You may wonder: “Okay, I can tell myself what time to get up, but how the hell does my body know what time it is when it’s asleep?” First of all, give yourself a little more credit. Our bodies can sense the intent we set for waking. Rely on your senses to create a mental alarm clock. If you don’t embrace your potential, then you will NOT allow this type of awareness to be possible for you at all.
You have to connect your physical body with your mental state, your consciousness with your subconscious, and your outer with your inner self. You have to get to know your body clock and allow yourself to get into the rhythm.
After practicing this pre-sleep reflection for about 15 years now, my mind and body consciously makes a beautiful connection and I am able to wake up at any time that I need to without the assistance of an alarm clock, regardless of what time I have to wake up. If I have a consistent regular day and schedule, I’m at the point where I don’t even have to reflect for very long at all. Don’t be intimidated either; it doesn’t take 15 years to become your own alarm. I was able to achieve waking up without an alarm comfortably within a couple of years of consistent practice.
One tip that may help is to use natural light to your advantage. My body naturally wakes up when the sun comes up, but I’m very capable of waking up before the sunrise as well. It helps when I have to wake up at a scheduled time every morning, but every once in awhile I have to get up much earlier. Even then I still do not use an alarm clock, but I will spend a little more time in this part of reflection before falling asleep to make sure my mind and body understands and correlates it with my outer needs.
If you are very used to an alarm clock, this reflection will most likely require more effort and it will take time to get your body and mind used to aligning with your awakening needs. Be very patient, persistent, and consistent with this reflection to achieve your awesome no alarm morning!
Part 3 of Reflection: Prepare for Dreaming
This next part of reflection is to prepare and embrace your subconscious to come alive. Like in the previous step for “awareness” in waking up, you also have to have set the intention to be more aware of your dreams. Say hello to your dreams and embrace them. Tell yourself to have “sweet dreams”. You have to know how important your dreams are and be grateful for them. Your dreams are you telling you what is going on with you.
Tell yourself that you wish to remember your dreams. It is a simple wish, but setting the intention is essential in helping you remember your dreams. This is especially helpful for people who believe that they “do not dream” or cannot remember their dreams. First of all, stop saying that you “don’t dream”. It’s scientifically incorrect because you’re not a fucking zombie. If you cannot remember your dreams, I’m sorry – that totally sucks. I want to help! Following this guide will help you remember your dreams. We’ll get into dreams more in the next sections as well.
From my experience, the act of meditating seems to be very misunderstood. This is mainly because there really isn’t one way of doing it. In fact, just like it is with religion, each person has his or her own unique way of practicing. I’ve meet many people that say they do not know how to meditate, but the basis of meditation is quite simple. People who are somewhat familiar with meditation ask me what type of meditation I practice, but I usually do not know how to answer. It is almost like asking me how do I take a walk in park or how do I feel the breeze on my skin.
Meditation is truly being in the moment; it is awareness. Through meditation, the quality of consciousness can be expanded and this opens the door to so many beautiful things. You also become tranquil, calm, and even blissful. Meditation is calming because you put your guard down and let yourself become vulnerable to your environment.
When you go to sleep, you (should) let everything go and prepare for your quiescence. When you wake up, you (did) let everything go and you’re in a state of quiescence. Personally, I think the best way for me to describe meditation is to imagine the state you are in right before you fall asleep or right when you wake up (if you allow a peaceful awakening).
Take the moment before you fall asleep to feel your body unwinding on your bed and to feel the fan air gently blow your hair. Maybe you can even hear a train in the distance blending its comforting horns with the whoosh of planes and cars outside your home. Be aware of where you are in that tranquil state and then allow yourself to truly let go and eventually fall asleep…
It’s important to find out how much sleep you need because everyone’s body is different. Try to give your body what it needs. It’s not often that I don’t get enough sleep. When I do have a night where I don’t get that much sleep, my body and mind gets tired in a way that is unique to any exhaustion that I have ever experienced. It’s not the end of the world if I don’t get enough sleep a night here and there, but I can’t imagine not getting enough sleep on a regular basis! It’s tragic to think that this is what a lot of people are used to!
Sleep deficiency has been shown to aggravate certain chronic health conditions, and it can affect how you think, react, learn, and work. A good night’s sleep improves learning and helps regulate brain activity. Sleep helps you concentrate, pay attention, make good decisions, and be imaginative…
In the previous reflection section I gave you tips to help you remember your dreams. I will give you more tips in the next reflection section so I won’t discuss too much about how to remember them here. Instead, I’d like to discuss the importance of dreams and a couple of the different types of dreams.
Awareness Through Dreams
The more you remember your dreams, the more awareness you will obtain for yourself. If you become more aware of your inner self, you allow yourself to bloom and grow in wisdom and compassion. I don’t know about you, but I’d rather be around compassionate people with great wisdom than someone who isn’t aware. Someone that isn’t aware will tend to be mean, defensive, or delusional.
When you’re delusional, you live in your own box without realizing that your perception is just that, one perspective. If you become more aware, you understand that nothing is black and white. You understand that your perception is not all that there is. You are able to have a more open heart and open mind. However you perceive existence can shape not only yourself, but also the world. This makes perception extremely powerful. We all have our own unique power so we should perceive wisely. We are able to perceive wisely if we are more aware. Use your dreams to help you be more aware!
Bad Dreams and Nightmares
With the awareness you obtain from paying attention to your dreams, you are able to address any issues that your soul is asking to be addressed or confronted. Not paying attention to yourself and your needs is neglecting the life of your soul, mind, and body. You deserve much better.
Nightmares are confusing and scary for a reason – have you ever thought that maybe YOU have something “scary” that you need to address? I believe bad dreams stem from one being unaware or in denial that there is a core issue that needs to be resolved. It is buried deep in your subconscious so it comes out in dreams trying to give you a message. Something deep inside you is trying to get your attention. Paying attention to your bad dreams is a guaranteed way to have a revelation about the things you need to address in your life.
I won’t get into interpreting dreams for you because that’s quite impossible in a tiny book. I’m also not a big fan of dream dictionaries. I used to read them in my teens hoping it could tell me what my weird dreams meant, but it didn’t take very long for me to realize that dream dictionaries are like Bibles – the interpretation has infinite possibilities. The more you pay attention, the more you learn about the quirks of your dreams.
Being aware that you are dreaming is called lucid dreaming. I believe everyone has experienced this at least once in his or her life. Some lucid dreamers are able to take it to another level and actually control their dreams.
Sometimes I’ll have the random lucid dream and other times I can induce it if I so desired. Just like anything you want to achieve, it is setting the intention and desire. Achieving lucid dreaming is one thing, but controlling it is another! It can be very challenging. I won’t get into too much detail on how to lucid dream, but if you want to learn more I highly recommend the book Dreaming Yourself Awake by B. Alan Wallace.
I found that when I lucid dream, my body needs more time to “recover” when I wake up. It seems to be very draining, especially when I am in control of my dreams. Lucid dreaming is one of my favorite undertakings, but I prefer not to have it regularly. I find it very beneficial to let myself dream naturally.
I also begin to have lucid dreams when I am about to have a bad dream. When I am aware that I am dreaming and something disturbing begins to happen, I am able to move on to another dream or completely switch the dream’s plot. I guess bad dreams are like horror movies to me, I don’t like how they make my heart feel… maybe that’s why I decide to take control and begin to lucid dream. When you listen and become aware, you’ll find that you will have less bad dreams!
My favorite dreams are when I’m on adventures or when I’m flying. I’m actually able to induce these types of dreams by simply asking myself to have them! It does take a lot of practice to dream what you want to dream, but it’s definitely not impossible. Try an experiment where you ask yourself before going to sleep that you want to dream of something… if it doesn’t work the first night, keep trying until you do! The more you practice this, the less you have to try again in the future. Have fun and enjoy dreaming!
After every dream, your body typically wakes up. As you begin to wake up and come back into a physical reality, take a moment to be still and immediately reflect on your dreams. This is when your dreams will be most memorable and it is the perfect moment to reflect on your dreams while it is fresh in your head. If possible, don’t even move and stay in the same position of your waking moment. Don’t think about anything else, only focus on reflecting on your dreams. Replay the images and feelings it induces in your mind and body. The more you do this, the more your dreams begin to make “sense” to you. Practicing this regularly will make it easier for you to remember your dreams through time.
Here are some reflection questions to think about:
- How did you feel in your dream?
- Can you identify recurring thoughts in your dreams and daily life?
- Do you recognize any of the images and events in your dreams?
- What does your dream mean to you?
- Are there symbols or objects in your dream that stand out to you?
Remember that the images in your dreams are symbolic and metaphoric in the multidimensional psyche. What are you telling yourself? What is the world telling you?
Personally, if I don’t reflect on my dreams in the morning, I wake up on the “wrong side of the bed”. There is rarely an exception for me to not wake up and reflect on my dreams. It is one of the most important things I must do for myself daily.
After a couple of minutes of reflecting, you may choose to jot your dreams down in your journal. I highly recommend doing this if you are a beginner to get into the habit of appreciating your dreams. Don’t just focus on the images of your dreams; the feelings you have from these images are just as important.
After a few years of getting into the habit of recording my dreams, I actually do not record them anymore (at least at the moment). I don’t necessarily recommend that you don’t record your dreams, but if someone is already experienced in dream tending, you may find that not recording your dreams will also be beneficial. Think about this for a moment… By taking the time to regularly contemplate on your dreams every morning and taking into account what your subconscious is telling you, you get the hang of listening and getting to know yourself on another level. When you get to know yourself better you will find that you may not have to take notes because that journey you’ve created in increasing your awareness becomes more synchronized in your consciousness and subconsciousness.
Reflecting on your dreams every morning is like talking to your soul mate or best friend every morning. You are holding hands with yourself and walking the journey of life together. This is why contemplating on your dreams is important. If you don’t pay attention to your dreams, you are ignoring your soul mate.
After some practice, you may also choose to wake up in the middle of the night to contemplate on those dreams, rather than just contemplating on your last dream right before you have to get up in the morning. To a beginner in dream tending, waking up in the middle of the night may seem very difficult because they’re just tired and want to sleep. But after you dream, it’s actually the best time to wake up! After you dream in REM sleep, your body goes back to stage 2 of sleep, which is light sleep. Here, you experience partial awakening with body movements. After some practice, you’ll find it’s actually not very difficult to take a minute or two to reflect on your dreams in the middle of night after every REM sleep. I do this most nights and I never feel groggy doing so. In addition, I get a lot of insight, which is really fulfilling. Waking up in the middle of the night after every dream is completely optional, but imagine the benefits if you listen even more.
You may choose to reflect on your dreams for as long as you need to. Sometimes it will vary depending on your dream. If you have a very memorable dream, you may wish to spend more time contemplating and reflecting. If you have a difficult time remembering, just be still and do your best to take yourself back to your dream. Sometimes it will come back to you in full force, other times your dreams will disappear in your mind. This is okay, there’s always another night to reflect again.
Part 2 of Reflection: More Gratitude
While you are still in bed, take a couple of more minutes to be grateful. Being grateful comes much more naturally and gracefully in the morning. The morning represents a new fresh day. Starting each new day with gratitude will transform your life to something much more beautiful.
Part 3 of Reflection: Simulate the Future
Reflect on the day ahead of you. Briefly contemplate on what you need to do for the day and what you need to accomplish. This will prepare you for your immediate future. Planning for your future means making conscious decisions now.
In addition to contemplating on your day, it’s also fun and productive to simulate your future much further. When I do this it helps me see the big picture and remind me of my goals. It also helps keep me optimistic about the future. My passion for the future also stays fresh.
Simulating the future can also be considered “daydreaming”. When you are daydreaming, you are mainly acting out different possible futures to attain a goal. Daydreaming is creativity that lies in that intersection between your outer world and inner world. This is vital to your health as it plays an important role in personal adaptation.
Give yourself all the time you need to finally feel comfortable enough to wake up and start your day. Take note and listen to your body so you can determine how much time you need to “wake up” before actually getting out of bed. Personally, I like to have at least 30 minutes (most of the time more) to reflect and meditate before I get out of bed. This means I have my body wake an hour before I have to start my day. If I happen to wake up later then it means I just have less reflection/meditation time, but at least I won’t be late for my morning duties.
I know many people are probably saying, “I don’t have time to do all of this after I wake up!” Let me say that just like everything else in your life, you choose to make time for what you see is beneficial. Allow yourself to wake up a little earlier than usual to make time for morning reflections. If you must go to bed earlier, then so be it. It will be worth your while!
I’d like to address a challenge that you may very well face. You may find it very difficult to stay awake for your reflection and/or meditation after waking up. After all, you are still in bed to do these things and it is already difficult enough for most people to wake up in the mornings.
In the beginning, you will mostly find that you will fall back asleep. This is completely understandable. It used to happen to me a lot and it still happens to me every now and then. It can be a challenge to stay awake in bed to do your morning reflections, but the more you practice, the more you will get better at it. I promise. Even though it seems really difficult at first, you will find that staying awake to reflect and meditate while giving your body time to adjust to the waking life is much more refreshing for your mind and body than getting up right away or continuously hitting the alarm’s snooze button. Don’t give up and keep working with your mind and body to wake up comfortably!
If you learn how to not use an alarm you may also find that every once in awhile you will wake yourself up much earlier than you had planned. That’s okay! When this happens to me I take note of how much time I have until I have to get out of bed. Then I would go back to sleep (and have vivid dreams) and I would wake myself up again. It takes a lot of practice to achieve waking yourself multiple times a night – it’s like hitting your body alarm’s snooze button! I personally take these moments to REALLY embrace my dreams because I find it’s the best time for me to have the most vivid dreams, including lucid dreams. It really is a spectacular time that I like to take advantage of.
As an individual, it is your duty to contribute your own unique beauty to the world. Find that inner beauty by increasing your awareness…
I hope one day we can all agree it’s important to strive for better sleep. It can improve your life in so many ways! But of course, don’t feel guilty for those nights where you won’t get good sleep. Life happens (and it’s beautiful)…
Sometimes you’ll get home late from a kick-ass party with good friends and laughter. Sometimes you’ll have awesome sex all night with someone special. Sometimes you’ll binge watch House of Cards or Orange is the New Black on Netflix. Sometimes you’ll ironically lose sleep because you stayed up super late to try to finish a zine called “How To Sleep” so you can have it ready at the Atlanta Zine Fest.
As long as you’re aware of the beauty of sleep and dreaming and you practice what you can to achieve more awareness then you’re probably some kind of awesome.