Yoga for better sleep

 

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Sleep is such a blessing. So many people in these times are increasingly challenged by sleeplessness. I was motivated to help others with their sleep patterns, as i suffered for years from insomnia. Thankfully, apart from the odd day my sleep is now relatively normal. So I offer help not only from the training i have received, but also from my own experience.

Although the reasons for insomnia are unique for everyone, it is most often the case that there is a root cause. There can be medical reasons but that is reasonably rare. Mostly life has thrown up something that has resulted in the level of anxiety that discomforts sleep. It is important for anyone wanting to develop better sleep, to start to acknowledge and work with these underlying factors. This is a first step towards healing.

Engaging with this healing process is about developing the skills yourself to invite better sleep. For sleep to be sustainably restored it is essential that the sleep deprived person takes on responsibility for themselves. My job is to work with you so these skills can be developed. Restoring good sleep is a long term process. Their is very rarely an instant fix. But since many of the causes of sleeplessness derive from the quality of life, this is a valuable journey in itself.

There are two main approaches to work with insomnia. The first is to map lifestyle as it effects sleep and to map the sleep patterns themselves. Working with someone individually is experimental. It is about developing strategies which are particular to them. We look at the night time experience itself and suggest different ways of approaching it. It also looks at the general pattern of the day, including environment, nutrition and exercise. The insomniac needs to be prepared to make changes that can be tried out to assist the sleep pattern. Much of this work is based on the findings of sleep science and how it can help us.

The second approach is embodied. I pass on yoga techniques, which are for incorporating in a daily structure to help the sleep process. Sleeplessness happens mostly because the body is too activated. It is simply too wired to settle well or for long. The cycle of anxiety that develops, when we anticipate being sleepless and its consequences, only adds to the problem. The main work of sleep management is to be deactivate the nervous system and this is what yoga is good at. People who are lacking movement practice, are offered sequences for particular times of day. Everybody is offered restorative supine forms of yoga which are very good at bringing deep release to the body.

This work is by its nature one to one. The issues are too individual to work with in a group environment. Six sessions of an hour each is generally what most people would need. It is suggested that people try an initial session to see if the approach appeals to them. The sessions are only going to have an effect if people spend time working with the tools provided in their own time. But sleep is very precious so the motivation is very strong. Sessions are priced at £60 an hour. Other financial arrangements will be considered for people with particular circumstances.

I was trained by Lisa Sanfilippo, the UK's leading yoga for insomnia expert.