Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Can your sleep improve?

Sleeping can be a nightmare. We all want to sleep well. But it eludes many of us, especially in hectic periods of our lives.

“The Alexander Technique helped a long-standing back problem and to get a good night’s sleep after many years of tossing and turning.” - Paul Newman, actor

Here are three ideas relevant to everyone, but particularly people who want better sleep.

  • Try constructive rest on the floor before bed – even for five minutes. This softens the breathing, releases tension in the body, and allows you to calm the mind. Read my popular blogpost Resting the back is great for desk-bound people. You can also email me if you would like a tip sheet. I suggest that you first write down the list of jobs or concerning issues, so you can truly say to yourself ‘that’s for tomorrow’. Of course, you can later add another point if it is likely to prey on your thinking. 

  • Check whether your head and spine are aligned in your main sleeping position. Avoid a crick in the neck. The height of your pillow should allow a good alignment. If you lie on your back, the height needed is less. Sleeping on your stomach is not recommended. I encourage you to experiment with your current pillows before rushing out to buy new ones. The woman in this image is very badly aligned, while the man could also improve how he is lying.

  • Observe yourself before arising or changing position. Ask for any areas of tension to soften and release before you move. Direct your attention to different body parts, as you would in yoga or meditation. 

There are many resources out there to help sleep deprived people, for example the non-profit Better Sleep Council. Many years ago, I purchased the Sleep Better without Drugs self-help program, and based on that experience can highly recommend it.

May you have many restful nights.

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