Sleep is as important as the water you drink, the food you eat, and the air you breathe. If you get good sleep, you’ll have a better mood and lower levels of stress. You’ll have the ability to perform at a higher level because sleep is like a form of meditation. For me, it takes me from my outer world of overdoing and overthinking to my inner world of calm, peace, and imagination.
Do you sleep well?
I hope you do because if you don’t, it can wreak havoc in your life. You can have a bad conversation with people by being irritable as a result of not having enough sleep. You can have bad relationships with your kids by not keeping up with their daily activities and needs. You may not be able to finish your projects on time, and if left unchecked, you can also face chronic mental conditions like depression, anxiety disorders, or any mental type of distress.
If you ignore having good sleep, you can have physical health issues like obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease. Study shows that if you have less than six hours of sleep at night, and if you have disturbed sleep, then you may have a 50% greater chance of getting heart disease or 15% greater chance of suffering from a stroke.
So how can Tai Chi favorably impact your sleep?
What do you need to know? Well, before we discuss that, I want to discuss the two types of treatments that you normally would take to help you sleep better.
- The first treatment, which I don’t recommend, is sleeping pills. Sleeping pills are an easy fix, but they disempower you because you’re relying on a pill to help you fall asleep. And there are side effects of taking sleeping pills, which include confusion, grogginess, and sluggishness. It can lead to falls and fractures. It can also lead to other side effects if you take sleeping pills too much with other medication.
- The second type of treatment is cognitive therapy, which Tai Chi can fall under if done in a classroom setting with people and a community. In a way, Tai Chi can be similar to talk therapy or psychotherapy. Cognitive therapy includes hypnosis, and it’s a way of you engaging with your underlying issue by talking it through with someone and doing something about it.
When it comes to Tai Chi and sleep, there is a yin-yang balance.
Bodily energy is divided into two types. One is yin energy, which is calm and sedated in nature. The other is yang energy, which is stimulative and tonic in nature. Both have to be in balance for you to have a good night’s sleep.
During the day, you’re consumed by activity and thinking. Your yang energy is propelling you, and this allows your sympathetic nervous system to be on overdrive. It produces the stress response and takes your yang energy to a whole new level.
You need yin energy for balance. Yin energy initiates the parasympathetic nervous impulse for a relaxation response. Oftentimes what you do is you bring your work, your struggles, your pain, and your analysis to bed. That’s a lot of yang energy.
You want to be able to jumpstart your yin energy by the time you go to bed. Tai Chi helps in that manner, because when you go through the movements, you always think to exhale first, relax. Another way to think about that is you fall asleep and let go. That’s how you prepare for your Tai Chi movement, by letting go.
To prepare for a good night’s sleep, you’ll need to be able to improve your breathing by exhaling more and relaxing, which will relieve any tension in your body, relieve any pain that you may feel, and it can reduce your stress too. You are no longer bringing stress to bed, you’re bringing in something else, something that’s far better for you to sleep. When you can call more attention to your inner world, you sleep better and allow your body to heal.
With that said, I’d like to give you some tips on how to sleep better.
- The first tip is to put a smile on your face when you go to bed. Try to think of something positive to make you smile.
- Then, relax your body from head to toe and breathe slowly, deeply, and gently. Now is the time to fall asleep and let go, relax.
- Then I want you to focus your attention on your lower dantian. The lower dantian is in the area a few fingers below your navel. It houses your vital energy, power, and essence. This is where you store your energy. Fill it with yin energy and make it glow as you are lying in bed. And that glow is going to get brighter and brighter until it consumes you and you fall asleep.
- The next tip is to send love to your lungs, heart, and liver. What I do when I go to bed is that I put my arms on my heart. You can put them on your lungs or your liver. I place them on my heart just to say, “Thanks for another day, well done.” Set your intention to be grateful for the things that you have in life and open your channels. Open your centers so that you are able to receive the yin energy from the universe and feel healed, happy, and healthy.
- The last tip that I want to share with you, and probably the most important tip is not to bring your work to bed. You mustn’t bring your problems, work, or over-analysis to bed. That’s not the time for those things. Instead, bring a good deed that you’ve done during the day to bed. Bring something that you feel good about. The thoughts that you bring to bed are going to be the same thoughts you have when you wake up, so make them positive.
Be mindful, use deep breathing, maybe even a guided meditation to help you fall asleep. Now that you know how to sleep better, you may want more sleeping tips like how to fall into a deeper sleep. I will be covering more sleeping tips in the future.
So stay tuned because in a future video I can talk about how to get a deeper sleep and I’ll cover more topics like this in my Facebook community.