If you have challenges falling asleep (or staying asleep) I have some insights that I hope will help bring more “sweet sleep” into your life!
If you’re dealing with stress, nighttime can be a time people begin to feel heightened anxiety as bedtime approaches. I once had a private client share with me that she’d gotten to a point where she actually began to dread the early evening hours, because it meant sleep time was coming, and she hadn’t slept well in years.
In Eastern medicine we work with how the energy flows in the body. The hearts energy (especially at night time), is a place of rest. It’s the time when the heart’s energy settle’s in and rests. But if the heart cannot relax, for example it doesn’t feel safe because of stress, it can’t rest. And that anxiety flow of energy from the heart moves upward.
In the body every organ, every meridian, all throughout the body has a direction of energy flow. And when it flows, in balance, we feel great. But when the emotional energy of the heart is stressed out, it begins to flow upward towards our brain and causes us to think. We’re not able to settle our minds. You may have heard the term “monkey mind” a mind that’s constantly active and not to be able to pause and relax.
The great thing about understanding energy flow, is we begin to understand tools we can use to redirect healthy energy flow. We can begin to see patterns and understand it’s not random and we actually do have control over how we feel. It’s all about frequency.
There’s lot’s of great tips I’m sure you’ve heard about, like eliminating your screen time before you go to sleep and making sure that you sleep in a darkened room, not going to bed with a full stomach, and reducing caffeine (especially in afternoon and evening) all great tips…
But today, I’m hoping to give you a new perspective of you can re-align your energy flow with 5 steps you can do tonight to begin to connect your mind and body as you settle in for rest.
Rituals are important…
When we establish a habit of this at bedtime, we create a ritual that our mind and body begin to remember. We retrain our brain and body to understand that it’s time to begin to relax and get ready to rest.
1. Shifting our frequency
Everyone talks about the importance of breathing, and that’s because it works. As you begin to settle into your bedtime routine, such as showering, putting on your pajamas, brushing your teach, etc. it’s a great time to begin to change the rhythm of your breath.
It’s very simple – Inhale through the nose and then exhale through your mouth LONGER than you inhaled. Repeat.
This rhythm of breathing begins to calm the heart rate and the nervous system and we begin to shift into a different rhythm. We actually begin to shift our frequency.
Sometimes when we have stress, it’s easier to understand if we can see all this energy building up inside of our body. As we exhale long breaths out the mouth, we’re beginning to release pent up energy. And as we do that, we’re allowing an output of energy flow in our body. A good visual might be, if you take the top off of a kettle and all the steam comes out… When we breath in certain ways and move in certain ways, we help the body to begin to let go., We’re taking that top off that kettle, we’re allowing the steam to come out and we naturally begin to relax.
Forcing your energy flow is not a solution
Sometimes people will say, just root and ground your energy when you’re upset. But because most people can’t go from one frequency of energy flow, immediately to another, forcing our energy is not a solution. Allow your stress to surface with your breath and be released. Allow your body to let go and you will find so much more room in your life to create from.
First of all, you do want to begin to darken the room that you’re in the things that I’m going to share today, you definitely want to do them in a more darkened room. So I have this crystal lamp, it’s not as bright as of course the room light. And so I’ll begin by turning off all the lights in the room. And I will put on my crystal lamp and it starts to change the mood in the room. So whether you’re doing this in your bedroom, or whether you decide to go into another room before you come to bed, make sure the lights are dim, some people will even use the candle light. And that’s fine too, or the electric candles just to have a soft glow. But it is true that our body takes clues from the light. This is something to just as a little side note, because we are not as in tune with nature anymore in our modern world… Remember that many, many years ago, before electricity, people would go to bed close after the sun would go down. And they would rise close when the sun was rising. And our system was in tune with light, with morning with night just like the animals with resting. And now we’re not in tune with that. So we really need to take the steps to begin to create that atmosphere for ourselves. And it can make a huge difference. And of course, you’ve all heard about why we shouldn’t be on our screens because it activates our brain. And it doesn’t put us in this rest mode. So we want to create the mood and the atmosphere.
Also putting on gentle music, sometimes what we do is we have a wave sound. And that’s really beautiful. It’s like white noise, but it’s waves and it’s very, very soothing.
If you were to picture that your energy is flying like a kite, the kite is floating. And as you begin to come into sleep, the kite begins to slowly descend from the sky really slowly, just floating, moving gracefully. And it finally comes down to the earth. And that’s what our energy is like when we’re needing to shift from active mode of our day, maybe you’ve been taking care of your children, maybe you’ve been cleaning up the kitchen, maybe you’ve been writing a report, checking your emails, whatever it is, you now need to stop all of that and begin to settle. And this is a slow way that our energy actually does begin to descend into the evening. If we can have that in mind, then we understand how our energy is and we may not get as frustrated with ourselves, and that’s the whole point of the kite.
And I’d like you to think about this kite floating and descending, during your evening as you’re getting ready for bed. If you can close your eyes, and you can picture this kite descending as you very gently move through your body and gently stretch and gently roll your joints and gently breathe, your Energy will do two things you’ll start to release through your body stuff that’s stuck and stagnant from the day. So you will have a little bit of blood flow you’ll start to get your body warm. You’ll begin to relax your body because your body will then be warm and then it will start to cool down. When we sleep. We want to have our body actually cooled down it helps us go to sleep. So that’s why gentle movements or hot shower or hot bath, help the body before asleep.
The other thing that we do in Eastern medicine is we want to bring the attention into our feet and this can work two ways. If you’re someone that tends to be cold, you can really enjoy a warm water bottle on the bottoms of your feet. So when you get into bed, you would put a warm water bottle, just at the bottoms of your feet. Now, of course, protect the water bottle, don’t burn your skin, it’s only warm, it’s not hot, but this will naturally bring your energy down, it will start to completely relax you.
If you’re someone who tends to be hot, and you may have hot hands and feet in the evening, using a cool water bottle. Now, not ice, not frozen, nothing cold like that, but just kind of lukewarm cooler, water bottle at the bottom of your feet will help draw the energy down and the heat out of your body, it can be very, very soothing.
You can also put a warm water bottle if you’re someone who tends towards cold on your belly. And of course, again, protect your skin, you don’t ever expose yourself to any kind of excess heat. But this warm water bottle at your belly can really help bring the energy down in your body and help your heart’s energy to start to relax.
And if you’re someone who really enjoys a guided visualization, I have a free one for you. If you go to TheArtOfTuningIn.com, and you sign up for the energy insights, you’ll get immediate access to an audio series and in that audio series is included something that’s called “Sweet Sleep.” And “Sweet Sleep” is a guided visualization that you can put in your ears and listen to and it slowly guides your energy into a relaxed state. So you can fall asleep. I created this “Sweet Sleep” for my clients who were traveling a lot. And who really needed something, especially with a hectic schedule, something to anchor their energy, something that they could use. And it’s been really, really helpful. So I’m making that available to anyone who wishes to go and download that and and use it and I really hope you enjoy it. Again, just go to TheArtOfTuningIn.com and sign up for the insights and you’ll get that right away.
So we’ve talked about the kite and floating the kite down, that your system needs time to relax. We’ve talked about creating the ambience of your room, we’ve talked about opening your joints very slowly opening the body. And we’ve talked about using either a warm water bottle on your feet when you get into bed. If you’re someone who tends towards cold, or a cooler water bottle, not ice cold, but just cooler lukewarm water bottle on your feet. If you’re someone who tends towards heat, maybe hot hands and feet. We’ve also talked about you can use that warm water bottle on your belly and help to relax the energy of your belly.
The other thing that I want to bring up is you can use sounds to help relax your energy. And I realized that on a podcast this may be a little strange and difficult to visualize. But the sound of the heart is “Ha.” And if you were while you were doing your gentle joint opening, if you were to pause and you can do this quietly, and you were to do what we call a descending meaning going from higher to lower pa like this “Haaaaaa,” very simply just going from higher to lower nice and fluid and you picture the energy in your heart being released and relaxed. The Energy in your heart directly comes up through the “Ha'” and is released out in front of you and falls beautifully into the earth. If you can picture that and do that a few times you will be also begin to relax the energy in your body and you will begin to naturally continue that kite floating down of relaxing and grounding and shifting from the daytime to the nighttime.
And the other thing that you can do especially if you’re dealing with lots of concerns, worries fears that are coming up that really do surface when it’s quiet. Journaling is one of the best things that you can do. Literally what happens when you journal before bed is that you don’t try to solve any problem, but you dump it out on the paper. You just allow your pen or pencil to completely flow. It’s better if you can do it with pen or pencil in a journal, without the screen without the light without all of that your system begins to release differently than it does when you’re typing on a computer. So if you can use a journal, it’s really beneficial. And again, you’re not trying to solve a problem, you’re wanting to just let it out, you’re wanting to let everything that you’re thinking about, literally vomit onto the page, you don’t want to hold anything back, you don’t want to censor yourself, you don’t want to go back over anything. But this is another way of discharging energy. Discharging the energy of your thoughts, the energy that you’re holding in. In Medical Qigong and energetic medicine, we want to be able to discharge our energy so that we’re not holding on to it. And then after we’re able to let it go, then we’re able to ground ourselves and relax. But we want to make sure that we’ve let go first.
If you’re trying to force yourself to go to sleep, and you’re trying to stop these thoughts that come up, it’s really a game that you’re not going to win. So you want to take the steps, it just you create a new routine, you set your ambience where you move your body a little bit, you use the tools of the warm water bottle, or the cool water bottle, and you allow yourself to really dump out all of your fears, all of your stresses all of your angst into a journal that you can tomorrow, tear up, shred whatever you want to do, but you want to get it out. Once we get it out, there’s a release in our body.
It’s similar to when we meditate, and we try to control our thoughts, that never works. You don’t want to control your thoughts when you meditate, you actually need to allow the thoughts to be as they are, and to move past them. And that’s what we’re doing when we release onto a page is where allowing our thoughts to be what they are, we’re not trying to control anything, we’re just allowing them to speak and to get out.
A lot of people deal with waking up in the middle of the night. And all of these tools work. When you wake up in the middle of the night as well. You can get up walk around a little bit. In fact, it’s really recommended that you don’t lay there in your bed, and toss and turn and try to go back to sleep if you can’t. Get up, take a little walk around, if you have a window, open the window, get a little fresh air sometimes that helps. If you are feeling emotions come up, if you find that you’re stressing, get out that journal, start to write it out, let it flow, don’t censor yourself, move your joints a little bit. And if you like doing the “HA” and it’s in the middle of the night, you don’t want to wake people up. If there’s people in your home, you can do a “silent ha” and a silent hot is you just visualize the high you know that it’s coming from your heart. And it’s more like a whisper, you’re gonna inhale through your nose and you will just go “haaaa” as a wisper.
So I’m saying “Haaaa,” but I’m doing a silent “Ha,” it’s a whisper. Yu can do that several times and you will be amazed at how much that actually helps to calm your energy. You can use the warm water bottles again, or the cool water bottles, you can put in the guided visualization that I have on my site, you can repeat all of these tools, allowing yourself like the kite floating down and just re-centering and re-grounding.
The more we do this repeatedly night after night, the more our system gets actually used to going to sleep again. If you retrain your body to know that nighttime is a time, when you’re going to tune out, you’re going to relax, you’re going to get your rest. And the next day you’ll be refreshed and ready to deal with whatever you’re dealing with in your life.
So there is a retraining process. And I want to say that because people can get very frustrated if they try something like well, it didn’t work. It takes time. It can take a lot of time depending upon what you’re dealing with. Sometimes when we’re retraining something in the body, it can take up to three months to do that if we do it consistently. And if we do it with a real open mind and open heart. And sometimes it can happen in a matter of a couple of weeks. So it just depends what’s going on with you, what’s needed to rebalance in your life, but please don’t give up on this because sleep is so essential. It is so essential to actually being able to solve the stresses in your life, and I really, really want you to have as much nourishment as you can. And I completely understand because sleep has been something in my life that I’ve had to learn how to do these tools. I’ve had to incorporate them on a regular basis in my life, especially during stressful times.
So I hope that helps today. Let me know, let me know how it goes. Let me know what you’re needing. And again, visit TheArtOfTuningIn.com sign up, get that guided sleep visualization. I really hope that helps. I will see you next week. Have a great week.
Thank you for tuning in. If you’d like to learn more and elevate your energetic well being I invite you to visit TheArtOfTuningIn.com where you can learn all about our online studio. I look forward to meeting you there