Memoirs of a MasseurTodd Pequeen

Catching Zs

What’s better than a massage? A good night of sleep! This month’s article is dedicated to my wife and to those out there that suffer from insomnia or simply turning off those monkey minds…

Solid sleep habits, especially when accomplished night after night, is truly an essential elixir to a better life. Cognitive abilities, physical output, handling stress, enhanced internal biological functions can literally be streamlined on a daily basis to ease the tension of living with proper sleep. Science has come to the rescue once again to advance our wellbeing. Sometimes we forget that we are animals, we work on much of the same principles as our furry friends do. The sun and the moon have cycles as do our internal body rhythms. They are not meant to be played with and the ability to re-set can often be accomplished with just a little effort. My suggestion is to transform your habits for a week and you be the judge. Simple discipline and a desire to change is all that is needed.

1) Stick to a sleep schedule. Go to bed and wake up at the same time every day. As a practitioner of all that I am recommending it is almost impossible for me to not fall asleep or wake up clockless unless outside factors come into play. We are creatures of habit and you will notice an uncanny ability to do so once you are fully rested.

2) Avoid alcohol. It literally steals rejuvenating REM sleep from you, keeping you in the lighter phases of sleep. This has been my biggest downfall for 35 years yet I am better and better at it now! When the effects of alcohol wear off in the middle of the night or early morning your physical and mental body is in recovery mode. Not good.

3) Big meals near bedtime will throw off your sleep. Just give it a try. A bit of lasagna 30 minutes before passing out. You tell me. Too many fluids near bed time will also induce the same negative reactions. A night cap is a horrible idea.

4) Medications. No comment. Not good for sleep.

5) Bedroom temperature must be cool. Our bodies simply attain deep restful sleep if the surrounding environment is between 67-70 degrees. Experiment with fans, air conditioning, sleeping unclothed, and having the hands and feet exposed. Cold showers work for me, hot showers work for my wife. Play around and care enough about yourself to figure it out. Begin the process an hour before lights out.

6) Studies show (testosterone changes) that 3 hours before hitting the sack consuming 800 milligrams of cholesterol and 40 grams of protein dramatically effect an almost tranquilizer-like effect in the human body. A rib-eye steak salad anyone?

7) Most importantly get off of your devices, computer, television, and definitely your phone at least 45 minutes before bedtime. I jester to say that this is almost impossible for 90% of the people reading the Quepolandia. Yes…turn everything off and lay on a yoga mat staring at the ceiling. It’s better. Stretch if you want/can. There are lovely evening chants I listen to that can be found on YouTube for free. Give these a try but realize you are still on the computer! As humans we are sensitive to the type of light devices emit. Bring yourself down similar to cooling off an engine. Imagine the calming effect of rocking a baby to sleep. Rest your eyes.

My wife gets frustrated with me when we travel because I have the ability to fall asleep at any time of the day on an airplane before takeoff. I have worked on my sleep patterns since I was a teenager. As a wrestler in high school, I would commonly fall asleep very hungry as I had to make weight in the morning. As a college student I would purposely stay up all night to enjoy the trance-like effects of the feedback my body was giving me. Drugs have also existed in my life and some were learning tools for experimentation, change, growth, and arrival to the place that I now exist. I am older than 50 now and one of my favorite things in the world is to get a solid night of sleep AND a mid-afternoon siesta. I am often up before 4:30 am with a vitality that is hard to describe. I don’t need coffee (horrible idea after morning hours as caffeine is extremely potent for some), I don’t need a shower, I wake up with an energy that is attained from solid sleep habits. I believe it is the only way I am able to accomplish my work of massaging 5 to 6 hours a day, and still be fresh to hit the repeat button the following day.  

Put yourself into a dark, cool, gadget free bedroom and let the liberation of sound sleep set you free to arouse your daylight hours. Spend financially for a comfortable mattress, pillows, and bedding. The shorter you sleep the shorter your life span is indeed a fact. The “I’ll sleep when I’m dead” mind-set has health consequences that are now proven. Sadly, humans are the only species that will deliberately deprive themselves of sleep without legitimate gain. Now, literally, measured sleeping brainwaves during the ocean of a night time sleep can record upcoming illness leading to dementia and other saddening diseases of fate. We can revive ourselves tonight, and with all the other gifts of proper sleep in the days, months, and years to come by making a few adjustments. Self-control leads to other-worldly dimensions that are very attainable. After you conquer your sleep patterns you can begin to work on diet and exercise goals to achieve maximum output to become the awesome self you deserve.

Todd Pequeen has been living in Manuel Antonio for 22 years and was a pioneer of the spa industry. He works independently and has an awesome tree top home studio and can be reached at [email protected], or on WhattsApp at 8830-7727.  His spare time is spent gardening, on the beach, surfing, and enjoying Costa Rica and its blessings.