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Many people have trouble sleeping because their mind just won’t settle down. They’re thinking about so many things going on; they’re thinking about work, they’re thinking of personal problems and all sorts of things are going on in your head when you’re lying awake at night and then starting to think about how they’re not getting any sleep and stressing the next day.
Exercises to Beat Insomnia
Now, there are a lot of exercises out there about how to use your thinking to try and calm your mind, but to me that’s like trying to turn on a fan to slow down a cyclone. It’s just using the same thing.
Now, you’re thinking about doing the meditation right, while you’re thinking about how stressed you are about not doing the meditation about trying not to get sleep. So you get stuck in these patterns that are just getting worse and worse and worse.
Let’s talk about the mind body connection to get you to go to sleep. But why not use the body to still the mind? What I’m going to share with you in this article is three exercises for sleep problems and insomnia that use the body to actually shift your thoughts out of your mind to still the thoughts and help you relax.
These exercises are from the field of energy medicine but regardless of how they work, or why they work, just try them out, see if they get the results you desire.
Wayne Cook Posture
The first one I’m going to show you is called the ‘Wayne Cook Posture’ and it’s been around since the 70s. It was originally invented for the treatment of ADD, dyslexia and other learning disorders and it’s a very simple technique and there’s a couple of different ways of doing it, depending on how flexible you are.
It’s started with one leg, crossing it over to the other knee, just like that. So to start with I’ve got my right leg crossed over my left knee. Now I want to start up with the opposite hand to the opposite leg. So I’ve got my right leg here, my left hand here and I want to put that on my ankle. The same arm as the leg, you want to cross it across, wrap it around the ball of your foot.
Now there might be a bit of a stretch out of this, but it’s actually not the primary goal. So one hand over and my hands are crossed over. You’ll find a way to get comfortable with that posture.
Once you’ve got the hands and legs all lined up you want to breathe in through the nose and out through the mouth. You’ll want to do this five or six, maybe even ten times, depending on how much is going on in your head, but usually you’ll notice a shift in your breathing, like a sigh or a yawn, once you get it to connect up.
Breathing in through the nose, out through the mouth. And really breathe that breath deep down in your stomach. Closing your eyes, opening your eyes – doesn’t matter. Your body just loves having energies cross over from one side to the other, one crossing over from one side to the other. Just helping one side connect up with the other. That’s just what makes it a lot of difference.
Once you’ve done one side you want to change legs so the other leg comes across. My left leg crosses over my right, then my right hand is going on the ankle of my left leg and my left hand is going around the ball of my left foot. Again, hands crossing over. One hand on the bottom going on your ankle, the other hand around the top wrapping around the ball of your foot.
Underneath your toes is the ball of your foot, just towards the start of the arch. You’re connecting up some of the energies in your palm, or pressure points or nervous system or however you want to do it, wrap it around that ball of your foot. Again, do five, six just gentle breaths but nice and deep down into the stomach letting it stretch and open your body.
The breathing with the hands and feet crossed over and connected up is the first part of the Wayne Cook Posture. The second part of the Wayne Cook Posture, there’s a couple of different ways to do this.
You want to steeple the hands and fingers together and with your thumbs, where your thumbs are, you can either put them in the middle of your chest, middle of your rib cage or the best way to do it is up here, just above and between your eyebrows, commonly known as the third eye point.
But you just want to steeple them up and you’re not praying, you’re not doing anything like that, but again it’s the same sort of breathing. This seems to draw energy, draw thoughts out of your head. Again, five or six breaths to ten breaths.
Then on your last, out breath you want to take a deep breath in and then draw your thumbs apart firmly across the top of your head. Like that, out to your temples and shake your hands off. As I’ve said, how these exercises work doesn’t matter I just want you to try them and let me know what sort of results you get.
The second one I want to do is actually called the ‘Crown Pull’ and it kind of follows on. In the last bit of the Wayne Cook Posture we drawed our thumbs apart off our head like this. In the Crown Pull we actually start with the thumbs up on the side of your temples, fingers together in the middle of your forehead and, beware your fingernails, but firmly pull your fingers back to your thumbs.
Draw your fingers back to your thumbs firmly across all those muscles that you’ve always screwed up from thinking too hard, a little bit further up on the forehead and, sorry about messing up your hair, it happens to me all the time. As you firmly open up your head like that, there’s lots of neuro-vascular points across the head that affect circulation through the whole body.
As you do this, you’re affecting circulation through the whole body but you’re also opening up your head and from an energy perspective we open up all the energy out of the head, cracking open that top chakra.
You’re working your way over the top of your head, down the back of your neck. You always want to start from the middle of the back of your neck, coming out to your thumbs, letting your thumbs move, coming down to the back of your neck, opening outward – hey, who doesn’t like a good massage, right? Dig those fingers in.
Now when you get to your shoulders, and it might be a bit hard to see here with the suit, you want to dig your fingers in quite firmly and then take a nice deep breath in and then draw your hands off. Like that. So that’s called the Crown Pull.
So you start from the temple with your fingers in the middle, work your way over the top of your head cracking open from the middle of your skull all the way out to your thumbs. Firmly, but without hurting yourself. No pain required. And you can do it forward, backward, it doesn’t matter. Do it a couple of times, do it one time, whatever.
I often have often done this when I’m delivering training and people have just got so much information in their head they’re getting intellectual overload, you do that Crown Pull and just suddenly their eyes light up, all that energy cracks out of their head and some people even say that, “Oh, did you turn on the lights?” They just wake up so well.
To recap, the first exercise we did was the Wayne Cook Posture, the second one we just did was the Crown Pull and the third one is probably, if I could only do one this would be the one to do because it’s easy to do lying in bed to start with. And it’s called The Hook Up, you’re hooking up your energy system.
Take the middle finger of one hand and put it in your belly button. The middle finger of your other hand goes above and between the eye brows. Now you can do it this way but it looks a bit funny, so don’t do that. And you want to push in and pull up with these two points.
What we’re doing is, again in western culture we’re so stuck in our heads and we’re so over thinking everything that we actually draw energy away from our belly, from our digestion, from our centre and that’s where the energy needs to flow to rejuvenate us while we sleep.
So by connecting up these two points, pushing in and pulling up, hooking them up and just breathing gently – and again, you might need to hold this for three, four, five minutes, but this is a great one to do just lying in bed. You know? Lie back in bed, one hand in your belly button, one hand on your forehead, and just hold it there.
It doesn’t matter actually which hand is top or bottom, you can switch to see which feels better for you. See if you want to do both. But hold those for a good three, four, five minutes and you’ll feel your breathing shift. You’ll feel your body relax and get out of your head.
For many years people told me, “Oh you think too much. You need to get out of your head,” but no one ever told me how to do it. This particular connection has been known to stop seizures and epileptic fits, by holding it for long enough and just connecting up those energies. So top and bottom, holding there for a good three to five minutes, and eventually you’ll get a sigh, a yawn, something like that. So this is called The Hook Up.
Middle finger in your belly button, middle finger above and between your eye brows, push in, pull up, hold them for as long as it feels good. That’s the third one, The Hook Up.
So those three exercises I do every night before I go to sleep. It just gets everything out of your head from the day, helps balance your energies, unscramble the energies, and helps you relax and get a good night’s sleep.
Now, will this instantly put you to sleep? I don’t know, it depends on what is happening for you. Do you need to try and force yourself to sleep? No.
Sleep is one of those things where it does respond to habit. If you go to bed at the same time every night your body goes, “Oh okay, that’s the right time, I should be going to sleep.” Now modern life is often chaotic and you don’t get a chance to go to bed every night at the same time, but switch off the TV, sit for a few minutes, do these exercises before you go to sleep.
So the three exercises were the Wayne Cook Posture – hands crossed over on one side, five or six to ten breaths, in through the nose, out through the mouth. The other one, other side, five to six, ten breaths in that side, hands steepled together in the middle of your forehead, five six, breaths there, drawing your thumbs apart across your head, shaking your hands off, back to the temples, doing the Crown Pull, working your way over the top of your head firmly. And, last but not the least, The Hook Up. And you can change hands, you can do both sides, it doesn’t really matter, you just hook those up.
Use these three exercises, turn off the TV, do them on the side of the bed, give yourself a few minutes to just wind down from the day. That’ll take the energy out of your head, you’re using the body mind connection to clear your thoughts from your mind and have a good night’s sleep. You don’t have to believe in anything for these to work, just try them, and let me know how you go with the results.