03/28/2010 05:12 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Achieving Natural Sleep

Hidden in the jungle, up on the Western slope of Mauna Loa on the Big Island of Hawaii there's a little cabin that I am living in right now. It's on a piece of rural land that I've had for some 23 years now. I don't get here very often but every time I come I tell myself that I am going to be coming back much more often. Besides the obvious reasons for someone coming to a beautiful paradise like Hawaii one of the reasons I come is because of sleep. Good, deep, restful sleep. Natural sleep.

Sleep is an issue with many of us, especially as we age. Blame it on stress, menopause and hectic lives. Whatever the reasons, we don't get enough quality sleep. This leads to chronic sleepiness, edginess, lack of resiliency and can significantly reduce our brain function and experiences in the world. It is mostly a phenomenon of modern, Western Man.

Natural sleep happens here on this mountainside because of several reasons. I am working on a physical level many hours a day. I walk up and down the hills on our property just to get to the kitchen, the shower, the cabin, the garden; wherever I have to go is generally up or down the mountain. Then there is the physical work. I am pulling incredibly hardy weeds that sometimes reach 20 feet onto the canopy of the avocado and citrus trees we have planted. I am weed whipping tough grasses growing through the lava here on Pele's home. She is the Goddess of the Islands and of Fire and rules the landscape with the many kinds of lava that have flowed over the years in these remote reaches in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. I get absolutely exhausted every day. I am not sitting at a desk.

Natural sleep happens more naturally when you don't over-eat. In the heat here it's hard to over-eat. If you do you don't sleep well, just like anywhere. Heavy food and eating late in the evening are both contraindicated for good sleep. Some scientist and health specialist advocate eating your big meal of the day in the afternoon, not in the evening. There is good reason for this. Here, in the tropics, we eat salads, quick-grilled Ahi (tuna), a bit of grilled chicken and some Japanese style foods that are lighter and more energy efficient.

Too much alcohol is another cause of poor sleep. Heavy drinking and the lack of lots of water throughout the day are hard on the body and cause disturbances during sleep. Then if you wake during the night, it's even more difficult to get back to sleep. The weight of thinking about our responsibilities, the work we didn't complete, guilt for some indulgence or whatever it is that we worry about in the middle of the night takes on a more ominous feel when we have over done it.

There isn't any electricity on our little piece of Heaven here. We have solar lights that don't allow us to extend our day with artificial lighting for very long. There isn't any TV or even radio. No Internet, for sure. There isn't even a very good phone signal. All those iPhone apps don't amount to a hill of beans out here. I'm not saying that we should be giving these wonderful accoutrements to our lives up, oh no. But I do believe that we modern folks rely all to heavily on our electronics. These things keep us up at night, way beyond our natural bedtime.

The most significant aspect of natural sleep here, though, is the jungle itself. The obviously copious amounts of fresh air and oxygen combined with the sounds of the night and the small animals, wild pigs, jungle fowl and birds combine to create a relaxed presence that is undeniable. Waking to the cacophony of birds, high in the tress, in the morning is reason enough to want to go to bed at night just to be able to be in that experience again, come morning.

I AM natural man here (well, natural woman). It is the closest I will ever experience what our ancestors experienced in all of time preceding us. I am getting natural sleep. It is so rejuvenating that I can't help but realize that I must take some of the aspects of living here back with me when I go home to my 'normal' living. I can declare more time away from the TV, movies and the Internet and go to bed earlier. I can get a clock that bird-sings to me in the morning. I can get out into the garden more and push myself to work physically more strenuously and I can take in more pure oxygen thorough exercise. I take an oath to go out into wild nature more often; the oceans, the forests and the mountains and breathe deeply down into my soul the very nature of Natural.

Suzie Heumann is the founder of She studies, writes, has authored three books and makes films about conscious sex, Tantra and the Kama Sutra. Check out Premium for the most comprehensive tantra training available on the Internet!