Sleep better, even on the floor! By Kurt Larsson

Sleep Better, even on the floor! By Kurt Larsson

Boy buckle-up seat-belt sleeping in the carIt seems everywhere I go someone is complaining about their bad night of sleep, their bad back or both. Back pain and bad sleeping habits seem to be bothering many of us. But could the solution or at least the beginning of one be so simple that people overlook it?

One of the many things I have learned through my practice of Body Harmony is that you always have a choice. For instance, you can either make the world adjust to you or you can adjust to the world. One is expensive, time consuming and often causes consequences and ripple effects that can influence many others. The other costs nothing and has long term positive benefits. Can you guess which is which?

For instance, I was recently at a party where there were a lack of beds and some guests were forced to sleep on the floor with air mattresses. This may not sound so traumatic for those of you under 30 but many here were 40 and 50+ and the next morning just about everyone had some extra ache or complaint. Most air mattresses were soft and many had sprung leaks and became even softer during the night. Comments were overheard such as ”I cannot sleep well their first night from home”, ”I must have it light/dark”, ”I must have a firm/soft mattress”, etc. Although being in the 50+ group, I used one of those new, thin, flat mattresses that can take a bit of air in, but left the air nozzle unplugged and slept well, waking very rested indeed.

The difference? I have noticed that if I allow myself to relax, breathe calmly and deeply, then stretch/straighten out my body more and more, it happily responds by getting softer and more supple during the night. The other part is that I enjoy exploring the process, noticing where in my body there is tension and then breathing calmly through that area to release that tension.

One final thing, I do this process with appreciation for both my body, its ability to relax and the floor for its ability to support me during the process. The result is I can almost always feel the pent-up tension draining from my body into mother earth and I awake more refreshed even when I have slept in my normal bed.

Although i have suggested this process to my friends on numerous occaissions there is relatively little to no listening for their body’s ability to stretch out and relax. YES, the process can cause more pain in the beginning than there was from the start, but trusting your body, the process and continuing to relax more on every long and deep exhale any pain usually begins to take care of itself after a while with no side effects.

Through the looking glass or perhaps “No pain no gain”
I am a body worker, not a doctor and this post is not meant as advice for anyone unwilling to take full responsibility for this process him/herself. It is rather a distillation of observations from both my own experiences as well as those whom I have worked with that actually tried this relaxation technique in the form described. Most everyone that stuck with it, while the pain intensified and sometimes went way past their  limits of comfort, eventually began to notice a loosening and relaxing of their muscles, sinew and bones associated with their formerly tense and hurting bodies. For those of you that run, the experience is a lot like ”Runners High” right after that point in your run where you curse the day you ever started running, you then reach a point which feels better and better. Depending upon how tense your body is, how open and curious you are to explore and how deep and relaxed you can make every breath, this process can take a few minutes up to a few hours to produce positive results. Until then, keep in mind that each calm breath and each little release puts you a step closer to your goal.

Pain Killers For those of you that are used to taking a pill when the pain gets too much, this may be a considerable challenge. Yet, if you keep in mind that the pain you feel is your body’s way of telling you there is an imbalance, then taking a pill to deaden this message may produce temporary relief, but have you resolved anything?

Below is the recommended process but again, if you are not willing to take full responsibility for your own exploration process and all its sometimes painful discoveries, which can actually frighten and/or panic some, then you are strongly advised to try another form of relief. The process:

–       First find a quiet place where you can stretch out and not be disturbed. The best results are usually on a floor close to ground. A wood, stone or concrete floor will give the best results, but any flat, hard surface will do.

–       Use a very thin mat, one of those bamboo sun-tan mats or if you dare, just lie directly upon the floor. Putting a sheet under you and or a blanket or quilt over you to keep you warm and relatively comfortable is recommended. The key is to make the process as enjoyable  as possible so you can better observe your body’s relationship with the floor and what it wants to express.

–       Take long deep and relaxing breaths. Relax longer and deeper with every exhale. Focus on your exhale and then let your body take care of the rest.

–       Stay curious and thankful that your body is willing to go through this process with you. Smile with every breath and see if you can stay in a state of wonder and discovery, even if/when the pain starts to increase. Remember, pain can be progress too.

–       Should the pain intensify, focus your breathing in that area and breathe a bit faster until the pain begins to subside. (For those of you that get cramps this works here too!)

–       Should the pain become unbearable it is important remain calm and not panic. Open your eyes, remain present and continue breathing with a focus on the area that hurts most and see if you can help this area to relax even more. If that doesn’t work it may be worth taking a pause and trying the process again later when the pain has subsided.

–       Continue breathing deeply and begin to notice if you have the urge to stretch your arms, legs, back or neck out a bit further. Congratulations! Stretching out and making more room for yourself is measurable proof that your body is beginning to relax and lengthen.

–       You may hear or feel some gurgling in your stomach or some cracking or popping noises in your joints. These are also signs that a muscle, cartilage or bone that previously has been held tightly is beginning to loosen up. Keep in mind it takes energy to keep your body this tense. Once it releases you can then use that energy for something more productive. What will you do with this extra power?

–       Sooner or later your body will let you know when the session is over.
Please note that this is a different signal than that ”little voice” of yours that will be screaming for you to stop from the first sign of discomfort.

–       Then go back to bed as usual.

–       In the morning observe what is different with both your physiology and the quality of your night’s sleep. If you feel just a bit better you can repeat this process as many nights as you wish. I continue to do this once every few months at least.

The bottom line is this process represents a complete reversal in how most of us think about the relationship between our bodies and our environment. If you want proof of how well this can work, just observe a child. Marvel at how they can fall completely asleep crunched up in a car seat or halfway off a couch. Their bodies just seem to adapt to the situation without a thought and then just sleep. What if this is our natural state, one that we loose by constantly listening to all the insomniacs we have around us? With a little practice and some more coaching from an innocent, sleeping 2 year old, you may just begin sleeping better too.

For more information on how you can integrate yourself into your body, work and life with more ease, efficiency and enjoyment, find out more about Body Harmony Here or contact us at +46 708 736 375.

Copyright Kurt Larsson 2013, all rights reserved

About The Author

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I am fascinated with what makes us humans ”tick”, especially when it comes to how we consciously communicate and express ourselves with our body language. My business background is in international sales and sales management, selling everything from automobile tires in Houston, Tx, to retail banking delivery systems in 20 countries. I have graduated from CoachU’s 3 year Coach Training program, been certified as an Extended DISC consultant and become a Certified International Body Harmony Teacher with over 20 years of ”hands-on” experience in bodywork. This rich and varied background combined with over 20 years of being an entrepreneur has blessed me with insights and experiences I never would have noticed in the corporate world. Mainstream business now seems to be waking up to the riches available from more conscious and responsible business practices. Expanding Understanding’s Sensational Soft Skills Toolbox , the books I have written and training I have developed now provide savvy decision makers and their colleagues measurable results and a more restful night's sleep. These tools provide an edge in consciously understanding, deliberately using and profiting from the most powerful communication tool available, our bodies. I look forward to meeting you on this path to mastery in non verbal communication.

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