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Getting enough sleep during Mahasi Noting Retreat

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So I'm planning a Mahasi Retreat for September at the Tathagata Center in the Bay area, and was just going over the schedule, and notced the 6.5 hours a night sleep schedule. That's something that could be rough for me physically and I'm wondering how to go about this seeming block/prohibition from me being able to go do this retreat.

OF course everyone is built differently, fat/skinny, smart/stupid, health/sick, tall/short, and all the multitude of dynamics inbetween those dualities exist as well. So in my case, if my body doesnt get 8-8.5 a day of sleep, then the whole day is pretty much filled with physical weakness and is a very miserable day, eyes irritated/red, eventual exahustion, etc. The whole family line on both sides of my family pretty much need this 8, or else the day is ruined.

Now believe me, I have plenty of friends who only need 5-6 hours and they function just fine. Well that's not the case for me, though I wish it was.

So are naps during breaks suitable to fix this situation? Or is it more preferable to just do a self retreat that is better revolved around my own itinarary/sleep schedule?

RE: Getting enough sleep during Mahasi Noting Retreat
Answer
6/13/14 4:15 PM as a reply to IAMTHAT That Ami.
I am also a serious sleeper: I like 9-10 when I can get it, and sometimes will sleep 12-14 hours a night for a few nights after particularly long runs of shifts. I definitely don't do as well in daily life on less than 8.

However, that all said, retreats are clearly different somehow. While that morning bell at 4:30am or whatever can be pretty painful, somehow I can drop my sleep down on retreats and do just fine, sometimes to as little as 4 hours, and during the A&P have cut it down to about 2 very naturally for a few days, though I generally don't recommend going that low unless your body is really feeling like it is ok. I definitely don't recommend cutting out sleep entirely, as some macho people will do at times, as I think that makes the crazy end of things more likely.

So, I wouldn't worry about it. Also, sometimes in the schedule is a brief rest/shower/whatever period after lunch: might take a quick nap then, can really help if you are sleepy.

RE: Getting enough sleep during Mahasi Noting Retreat
Answer
6/15/14 5:59 AM as a reply to IAMTHAT That Ami.
I have this thing of waking up at 5 each morning, so I may have some little sleep training there, although I usualy crash aroun 10 each night.That said when I did my first retreat it started with 6 hour nights that slowly receded to 5.. then 4 and eventually 72 hrs non stop.

I found that as the overall schedule was hours of meditation which hightens relaxation and concentration it wasn't a problem. Which I didn't expected.

I think that in a retreat setting the hrs aren't a problem. If they become a problem. I'd suggest talking to your meditation teacher there about it, or just cut short the day and turn in an hour early if you get overwhelmed by sleep.

With Love
Eelco

RE: Getting enough sleep during Mahasi Noting Retreat
Answer
6/15/14 8:14 PM as a reply to IAMTHAT That Ami.
IAMTHAT That Ami:
So in my case, if my body doesnt get 8-8.5 a day of sleep, then the whole day is pretty much filled with physical weakness and is a very miserable day, eyes irritated/red, eventual exahustion, etc. The whole family line on both sides of my family pretty much need this 8, or else the day is ruined.

Now believe me, I have plenty of friends who only need 5-6 hours and they function just fine. Well that's not the case for me, though I wish it was.


I could have written this as well: this describes me exactly! and I also start getting a cold. While I've only been on one retreat, I definitely still needed the full amount of sleep, so I just skipped the 4:30-6:30 meditation session. Even so, I was suffering from lack of sleep by the end (10 days).

RE: Getting enough sleep during Mahasi Noting Retreat
Answer
6/15/14 9:14 PM as a reply to IAMTHAT That Ami.
I've never been on retreat, but I can say that the general conensus across the Buddhist retreat world is this-- your need for sleep will go down on-retreat.  Don't worry about it emoticon

I'm an 8-9 hour type of guy myself.

RE: Getting enough sleep during Mahasi Noting Retreat
Answer
6/15/14 9:32 PM as a reply to IAMTHAT That Ami.
Thanks everyone for chiming in. I will give it a shot and see if the body adjusts to the schedule and if not, try to take naps during breaks.

Also wondering about the food schedule. They only do breakfast and lunch, and the rest of the time is a fast. I've done several retreats 40 days to 2 months long, where I've lost a ton a of weight from these kinds of eating schedules. WHile I felt good, when getting back to family, everyone worried I was malnutrioned.

I will say though, that fasting is good over all for clarity, detachment, and a new study just came out that shows that it rebuilds the immune system with a fresh restart.

RE: Getting enough sleep during Mahasi Noting Retreat
Answer
6/16/14 7:26 AM as a reply to IAMTHAT That Ami.
The Buddha advocated skipping dinner for the same reasons you mention, detachment and clarity. In many shamanic cultures, a shaman would eat a light breakfast and nothing else for the day if he expected to do serious shamanic work in the evening.

I'd recommend packing on a few extra pounds before the retreat so that malnutrition isn't a concern. But honestly, when you are meditating throughout the day, you use very few calories, especially if you find yourself way up in the formless realms for any length of time [citation needed]

RE: Getting enough sleep during Mahasi Noting Retreat
Answer
6/16/14 12:53 PM as a reply to IAMTHAT That Ami.
I was told by a senior guy that a midday nap will 'wreck' any mindfulness/momentum that you've built up that day.   So if it's absolutely necessary, you should sleep in, or go to sleep early, so you can push through and make progress in a continuous stretch. 

Any comments on this opinion?  I'm guessing it probably depends on what stage you're at, a midday nap probably isn't going to matter too much to someone at a beginner level? 

Thanks,