“I am free to fall asleep consciously”
Say this thought to yourself little and often throughout the day. Or may be wait until you can enjoy a nap or its bedtime.
Write it, draw it, meditate on it. Stick a Post It on a mirror. Set yourself a reminder on your phone if you’d like to.
Practicing this thought throughout the day will help you notice this sequence and support you to navigate daily life in many ways.
As many of you know, one of Alexander’s major discoveries about us mammals is that the relationship of the head and spine govern the coordination of the rest of us. Yes – all of us! Physical, mental, emotional, spiritual – we don’t separate – its all one thing – our Self.
Sleep. Its such a useful and necessary part of our ability to look after ourselves, to heal, repair, file things away in our memory banks and recalibrate ready for a fresh start the next day.
Sadly sleep is not so easy for many of us.
I have had years of restless nights, sleepless, waking up many times in the night, my mind rerunning events I wish had turned out differently. Sometimes I would turn on the Radio and listen to the World Service – I think I may have woken myself up once I found the series The Conversation where two women from different parts of the world, with similar experiences were interviewed about what connects them. Fascinating! But not conducive to falling asleep – unless through distraction and sheer tiredness.
I have tried various sleep apps and quite enjoy some of these.
And when it works best – its the Alexander Technique which helps me most.
Being conscious, releasing excess tension, choosing where I put my mind, and trusting my body to rest well, even when I can’t sleep.
- It helps me if I am in a very dark room
- It helps if am in a cool room with the window open a little.
- It helps me to be on a firm and comfy mattress and a firm pillow.
- A pillow needs to support your head – when you are on your side it will need to be high enough for your ribs and arm to go under you, and your spine to be supported and aligned. Pillow neither too high or not enough.
- If you lie on your back – a smaller height is usually needed as our spines have different curves and heights on our side to on our back.
- Have your pillow under your head only – not your neck/spine or shoulder girdle.
- It helps me to use a hot water bottle at bedtime.
- It helps me to have my eyelids open as I’m falling asleep – just like children do, until we train them otherwise.
- Drifting open and closed, my eyelids gradually let go of what I can see and these delicate muscles start to ungrip my eyeballs.
- I can use my conscious mind to scan throughout my body – inviting my head to give its full resting weight to the pillows…
- for my spine to be as long as it really is…
- for my back to be as wide as it really is….
- for my torso and pelvis to be as deep as they really are.
- For each arm and leg to notice and unfurl to their fully length and girth.
- For my jaw to be unclenched.
- For my tongue to be full.
- Being conscious as I fall asleep has dramatically improved the quality of sleep I ge
I wish you happy practising. If this is a new idea to you, to stay conscious as you fall asleep, may I suggest you go to bed 15 minutes earlier than last night, and have a go. Stay present, stay conscious, stay alert and relaxed.
“I am free to fall asleep consciously”
Try this for a few nights running and see how it improves your ability to think like this and not get caught in a thought-eddy which whirls you around. If it does, then strike out for the side, climb out and get back to the edge and stay conscious and choicefull – noticing what you enjoyed about the day, no matter how small.
Thank you to those who have written to let me know you are enjoying these and how they are benefitting you. Even a little bit of thinking can set you up a bit better for the rest of the day. Even a little bit of stopping, noticing, and redirecting your energy in a more useful way is an improvement. Don’t aim for perfection, just attend to yourself with kindness.
This level of attention helps our memories, impressions and emotions find their rightful place inside us, filed away in a more comfortable way really inside the body we are in, just as we are.
Please email me on firstname.lastname@example.org if there are any topics you would like me to cover.
Have fun with this. Take yourself out of automatic, and get thinking consciously and constructively.