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.