Explore how much to sleep and when to sleep. Even on a short formal retreat it is not uncommon to discover that we need only six hours of sleep a night and, on longer retreats, only four or less. The decreased need for sleep can also occur on Home Retreat, although usually to a lesser degree. While on Home Retreat, I try to reduce the amount I sleep by very small amounts each night until I find a healthy balance. There is no right amount for everyone. It depends, in part, on how active and social your day has been and what your body needs. If you are working, for instance, you might not be able to reduce your sleep hours by very much.
Yogis on residential retreats often find themselves naturally waking up earlier and earlier. This process can happen on Home Retreat, too. Waking early can provide support for the mental factors of intention and effort. Incremental development of wholesome patterns deepens one’s balance in all activities. Going to bed early and waking early can be very helpful in order to support formal practice in an everyday practice. This is especially helpful during Home Retreat. Napping is another practice edge in the exploration of how much sleep we need. It can be difficult to sleep more than four hours at a stretch while on retreat, which often translates to slumps during the day. A well considered short nap can be skillfully applied. Naps are an edge to practice and can cut. Be careful.