Good Vibes

The Healing Powers of Sleep

The Healing Powers of Sleep

by Founder Michelle Roques-O'Neil....

I’ve treated many people over a period of 30 years and the one thing I’ve observed how driven people can be, constantly striving and often caught up in impossible deadlines and cultural imperatives to gain validation and a sense of self, invariably at a cost to their wellbeing. I believe this desire to ‘control’ can create deficits on many levels. Being perpetually busy can often conceal underlying issues like loneliness, a sense of meaning, unhappy relationships. We may even try to foster good habits but get caught up in benchmarking our progress, turning pleasure into pressure which diminishes a sense of flow, spontaneity and joy, as a result we rarely stop and let go. Sleep is a sacred space where we can switch off, an essential and precious part of our basic health and self care. Over the years we’ve become more aware of its importance sleep has in our lives and for our self care. A better understanding of the nature of sleep and the subtle molecular mechanisms that help regulate our sleep patterns helps greater understanding of why it is so essential to our health from a perspective of repair, regeneration and vitality.

Why are so many people struggling with their sleep and why are our natural rhythms so out of sync?
Poor sleep quality is becoming increasingly prevalent globally. Many suffer sleepless nights, disrupted sleep and insomnia and increasingly more people are functioning on 5 hours or less sleep a night, so improving sleep quality has become a priority for many people. A lot of sleep can be superficial where we very rarely get into the restorative part of the sleep cycle. One of the most important causes of poor sleep is lifestyle, this can cover a myriad contributing factors, such as increased use of digital devices before sleeping, keeping computers and phones in the same bedroom and staying plugged in - all factors that can play havoc with your sleep cycles and energy balance. Most essentially, the most common culprit is a lack of proper preparation for sleep. Here it’s important to understand that there is an interconnectedness between our ability to fall asleep and what we do during our day and how we put the day to bed. The stresses of the day will cast an influence on the quality of your sleep if you don’t take time to unwind..

The importance of transitions
Life is a series of transitions… like moving from day to night, work to home. We seldom acknowledge the importance of these changeovers, instead we rush from one task to the next with no sense of taking time for an acknowledgement of completion or achievement. When we do things in this way we seldom give our bodies time to ease in to rest, instead we drop into bed with the same mindset we occupied in the office. At THERAPIE we’ve created a series of ‘daily immersions’ and ‘deep immersions’ to help you to help you navigate these transitions and make them truly soulful, by using preparations like Slumber Pillow Spray to spritz on your face and pillow, breathing in the soft tranquil scent and Sleep Drops to massage gently into your feet (you will find all the main nerve endings here that links to your body systems) and ease you into a peaceful sleep.

Create the right environment for your body to get good sleep
Start by setting yourself up for a relaxing transition into sleep. You can start by trying to avoid violent or stimulating TV before going to bed, as it can create unneeded anxiety that can irritate your nervous system making you anxious and cause a restless fretful sleep. Try not to drink caffeinated drinks or take comfort in a piece of dark chocolate no matter how inviting. A night cap can seem harmless but alcohol does adversely affect your sleep especially in the second half of the night, this is when your body starts to process the alcohol, it’s all about making good choices ultimately. For a good nourishing deep sleep start by creating a calm sacred space that is not chaotic or ‘untidy’. Setting a regular time to go to sleep is as helpful as waking up at a regular time. Sleep is all about cycles and getting to know your natural rhythms is very important.

Building a sacred sleep
You could start your wind down with a gentle calming routine such as a relaxing bath, or a gentle restorative yoga session or a short meditation or taking some slow deep conscious exhalations (out through your mouth) with a sigh to release any anxiety built up during the day (a sighing ‘haaa’ sound, which is particularly good for assuaging anxiety). When you wake up, maybe try to take a good long stretch as you come back into your body and into the day, as starting and ending your day with mindfulness is exceptionally beneficial. Sleep is so important for our physical and mental wellbeing, so make thoughtful nurturing choices to support yourself.

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Your Mind is the Most Powerful Tool You Have

However you choose to view the general atmosphere that has enveloped the world we have to understand that thoughts have energy and the collective has the power to either galvanise or paralyse.

The mantra of modern anxiety is paralysing, it can strip away your sense of power... leaving you feeling impotent and overwhelmed by events at large and your ability to respond (RESPONSE-ABILITY) becomes diminished. We feel and become victimised and helpless, external instability and worry informs your sense being rather than your heart. The constant whirr of negative dialogue broadcasts daily with updates on the hour, for this reason it is more important than ever to be mindful of your thoughts and preoccupations. Worry causes us to become anxious, we can become adrenalised and stressed and our immune function becomes depressed.

Every thought you have manifests in your body, for this reason it’s very important to send yourself and your body positive messages. There are different ways to do this, It could be by being kind to yourself through affirming self talk, this could be as simple as having gratitude for being alive, able to walk and talk, have food on your table, that you are safe and healthy. Another way is to accept life’s natural flow, this means accepting current circumstances and living life in the moment and making the very best of it, your approach and attitude is key here.

As you become more aware of the messages you are sending your body, you may become more aware of your negative internal chatter and the detrimental effect it has on your sense of self. Paying attention to your body is vital, it sends you messages all the time, especially when you are challenged by illness, a sense of imperfection, failure, discomfort or fear. At these times it is very important to listen to these messages with compassion and take time to stop and reset your body tuning by focusing on inner peace, love, positivity and acceptance. Your mind is the most powerful tool you have, sending your body positive healing messages will raise your body’s frequency and strengthen your life-force.

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Strategies for Lifting the Spirit

In these times of adversity, we can find sanctuary in re-evaluating our lives and taking gentle action to live in a more conscious way. Here are some of our favourite ways of honouring and embracing stillness and soft reflection….

 

Reflection

Journaling can be a place to express and explore your feelings and ideas in their rawest state, unfiltered and unedited-the best time to do these is first thing in the morning. By committing to this as a daily ritual you create a space in which to voice irrational feelings but also to explore buried frustrations and worries. It can also be a creative resource where you can explore ideas and dreams.

 

A Focus on Quality

Again here is a wonderful opportunity to connect deeper with friends and loved ones, making time for proper exchange and conversation. Reach out to people that you previously didn’t have time to chat too and enjoy the intimacy of sharing.

 

The Beauty of Walking

Wonderful on many levels, it takes you outside, keeps you healthy, exposes you to vitamin D3 and activates serotonin, which lifts your spirit. Two 30-minute rhythmic walks a day gets your mind and body circulating. Don’t stick to the same route, explore and be present, take in the landscape. Its also a great time to listen to some inspiring podcasts, poetry or audio-books.

 

Digital Detox

Instead of social media connecting you to life, try an unplugged day. Be creative, give yourself complete freedom to love bomb yourself with pursuits you love and loved and have forgotten. Put on your music dance, move, sing, express. If you're too 'hyper' then grounding pursuits like reading or cooking by mastering the zen of: sourdough, Kombucha, fermenting, Kefir or Kimchee. Use old papers and magazines to make a collage, use it as a vehicle to explore your feelings. Embrace time away from the screen and support yourself in a conscious moment of Digital Detox

 

Treat Yourself to a Treatment

If you'd like a little bit of dedicated TLC from the THERAPIE team, who are available via video consultation to help you navigate through our collection of products and services and can help you to create a fully bespoke, supportive treatment blueprint, designed just for you. 

 

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The Sanctuary of Stillness

The Sanctuary of Stillness

We are social creatures and relationships are part of our DNA - we’ve long existed within tribes and communities. Culturally our sense of belonging has relied on acceptance from the whole, this has become increasingly more prevalent with social media where benchmarking popularity by how many followers and likes we gain. To prevent a sense of isolation we plug into our cultural mainframe where media transmits the cadence of our life. The reverberation of negative mind speak makes it hard to hear our own voice and spirit. As worry consumes, we comfort binge on TV, alcohol, snacks and food. Why do we have such an uncomfortable relationship with being still, silent and alone?

It true to say that often in these times of adversity the things we thought important somehow fall away…. Into an unconscious de-cluttering of the superfluous. These unexpected events can lead towards an express re-evaluation of our lives, viewing it through a new set of lenses so we can see what is essential to living more consciously. The word isolation immediately often imbues people with a sense of exclusion and restriction. The first priority is to change your perspective moving from restriction to retreat, start thinking of your home as a refuge, a sanctuary and how you would create this? It then becomes more about honouring yourself by taking time to sink down, fill up and expand, get comfortable with slow time.

In a world that’s programmed for taking action we seldom pause to invest in soft time - In Taoism life is seen as a dance between Yin and Yang in which the two forces are of equal importance, in fact the Yin, the more reflective and inward principle actually gives birth to Yang - the action. Somehow we’ve lost this relationship with life, its time to get comfortable with being still. Try to embrace stillness and take some essential time out to review your life and the way you live it, is it a cup that’s full to the brim, half full or empty? Now is a time to review and implement new strategies.

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Invisible Forces

Energy medicine is a holistic way of viewing and interacting with the human energy field (which in healing traditions is called the ‘Aura’). Our human body emits and is encircled by many types of energy: light, magnetic, electrical and subtle. Advances in quantum physics have now begun to create a credible framework for energy medicine and pioneers like Albert Einstein discovered that matter was synonymous with energy and therefore our bodies are energy.

'Energy Medicine’ traditions see health and disease as related to the flow and lack of flow of our energy systems. In the Chinese TCM system they call this energy Qi, in Ayurveda it’s Prana. The idea of Qi is that it is “energy on the point of becoming matter”. Without Qi life ends. so the concept is one of the universe being an elaborate and dynamic web of interconnected energy patterns as opposed to the classical idea of defining things in separation (which, philosophically, seems less logical). This means that all living things are charged with this energy.

Reiki, Healing and Therapeutic-Touch are the most common examples of energy medicine and this is done by the Therapist accessing the client’s energy or ‘bio-field’ and ‘transmitting’ this energy to rebalance the body using different techniques. Qi Gong and Therapeutic-Touch practitioners are adept at generating this bio-magnetic field through their hands and there is much collaborative data now to support the idea that the generation and absorption of this energy can accelerate cellular and wound-healing. Acupuncture also taps into this energy but focuses on the internal flow via channels called meridians which relate to different systems in the body.

Plants are also imbued with this ‘life-force’, as are crystals. The life force of a plant can be concentrated into essential oils. When they are combined into ‘synergies’, these powerfully charged molecules are a force for healing via the skin or via breathing (although the latter is not not prescribed or authorised in the UK). The harnessing of these powerful mineral and cellular materials are in turn a profound way to help fortify and sustain our own energy flow.

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