Pleasure can be a form of nourishment, and your nourishment picture is related to how well you’re able to sleep. I hope by the time you finish reading this post you’ll consider pleasure as a crucial factor in your nightly restoration.

The word, pleasure, often conjures up a sexual reference, and while that can be a huge source, there are many additional sources like laughing and vibing with someone in your life or eating a meal where you nailed a certain recipe or you feel the soul of whoever cooked it. Or one of my favorites, taking in someone’s creative work that moves me.

And how does identifying your pleasures intersect with your sleep picture? I believe there is a ‘to and fro’ relationship between pleasure and sleep.

It’s the day that starts well rested that sets both your internal environment– mood, energy, alertness, discernment– and external potential– your readiness to harness what’s around you– as means towards pleasure. Adequate rest is the ‘to’ part of the relationship. Towards pleasure.

The ‘fro’ part is in the evening which holds a sense of the day having provided sufficient pleasure. Then you’re more likely to be ready for rest, at least in one regard. There is less energy that’s seeking to have this need met.

And when I say some pleasure, I don’t mean a constant hit of dopamine or over-indulgence. Nor am I suggesting that to sleep well you need to be in this persistent in pursuit of pleasure and negate things like responsibilities, grappling with the crisis of the world today or managing conflicts. What I am thinking about is more like varying amounts of wholesome enjoyment that tells you something is good for you. There’s no emotional or physical hangovers from this type of pleasure. No regrets. Rather there is a sense of nourishment. It’s the stuff you want to savor.

If you are satisfied during the day with moments to savor, as well as nutritionally, with positive social contact and using the energy your body-spirit is primed to put out in your life, and your nervous system is calm, you will be readied for sleep. And if there is pleasure involved in how you meet those above needs, everything is a bit easier. All the little activities we decide, like going for a walk, talking with someone on the phone, playing with kids, learning something new, reading something engrossing, or having a date night hold the potential for some type of pleasure that meets a part of your sleep needs.

At best pleasure is also a part of whatever we decide is our work (be it paid or unpaid labor, often a combo of both). But having pleasure in your labor may be hard if you’re required to overwork or be in unhealthy environments. Not everyone has control over that. In these circumstances, I would argue that it’s even more crucial that any sleep prep activities have a component of pleasure in them. So instead of just taking a tincture to support your sleep, a tea where you can have a visual and aromatic experience may be more powerful. Or use a massage oil with a scent that pleases you to rub your feet before bed. Perhaps having pleasurable music with a warm shower could be part of a nightly ritual.

Besides how pleasure can set you up for rest, there’s pleasure in rest itself. I hope you get some!