Fortnightly Relax-and-Restore-Sleep classes on Monday nights 7.15-8. See timetable for dates

“We are somewhat more ourselves in our sleep; and the slumber of the body seems to be the waking of the soul” Thomas Browne

Sleep is vital for our mental and physical well-being.

Most of us have the odd sleepless night. But for some of us, our sleep is disrupted on a regular basis – either we find it difficult to fall asleep or have disturbed sleep, waking up during the night and finding it difficult to go back to sleep. This may be due to medical reasons so you should always check with your GP if you suffer from chronic insomnia. Mostly though, insomnia is caused by stress and tension – physical or mental.

The Relax-and-Recover-Sleep class is designed to help the body release tension and let go of stress-related thinking. The class is a mix of breathing and general relaxation techniques.

Alternate Monday nights 7.45-8.30: November dates: Monday 9th and 23rd November 2020.

To join class: please ensure that you are in a quiet, comfortable environment that has a comfortable temperature and have blankets and cushions to hand. You may also need a chair.

Make sure you will not be disturbed: If possible switch off any distractions (phone, email notification etc) and ask others not to disturb you. If you know you will be disturbed by household noise you may want to use a white noise app (you can find one for free for your phone). Choose a constant sound such as the air conditioner choice on the app.

Regularity of practice is important: a fortnightly class will only give you the tools to practice every day. The more regular your practice, the more successful you will become at relaxing and at improving your sleep in the long-term – even though you may not feel immediate benefits at the moment of practice. So don’t just try to relax when you are stressed or can’t fall asleep. Do a small relaxation practice, such as breathing, micro movements or meditation every day if possible – whether you think you need it or not.

Kat holds a diploma as a qualified insomnia practitioner and has recently started training in Sounder Sleep System.

Sounder Sleep System was developed by the late Michael Krugman and incorporates elements of yoga, qigong and Feldenkrais as well as from meditation techniques, the discoveries around relaxation and muscular tension by Edmund Jacobsen, and J. H. Schulz. The mini-moves also have a hypnotic quality to them.

Sounder Sleep System is based on the discovery that special physical movements can shift us from an alert, waking state to one of profound physical and mental repose.

How can movement help us to relax?

Fast, vigorous physical movements as we do in aerobics or competitive sports activate the sympathetic nervous system. This will make us feel more energized, heighten our vigilance and producing a “stress response” – increase our blood pressure, heart rate, muscle tone, other metabolic factors, and also heighten our brain activity. In other words, we feel more awake and alert.

The reverse is also true! Tiny and slow movements activate the parasympathetic nervous system which triggers the body’s inborn mechanisms for rest, recuperation, and healing – lowering blood pressure, heart rate, muscle tone and other metabolic factors and slowing brain activity and vigilance. The body relaxes and the mind becomes clear and calm.

These physiological and psychological responses to tiny, barely perceptible movements create the physical and mental conditions necessary for natural, restful sleep. Whilst we might not fall asleep during a session (just as we wouldn’t fall asleep in a meditation session), we lay the foundations that will help us fall and stay asleep at night-time.

But that’s not all….

Sounder Sleep System is actually a two-part system that teaches techniques to relax us during the day as well as at night-time. In other words, there are day-time and night-time specific hypnotic mini-moves: By day, unique self-healing mini-moves allow us to relax when we feel our stress-levels rise. This is important for sleep as sleep depends on our daytime stress levels, not just on what we do at night-time! So when your daytime stress levels are reduced, your sleep is more peaceful. By night, sleep-inducing mini-moves make it easier to fall asleep, stay asleep and also give us tools to ensure that we can fall asleep again after unwanted awakenings. Best of all, the tiny night-time movements are so gentle that even your spouse won’t know that you are doing them!

Focus on Breathing

There is also a strong focus on breathing in these classes. At the most basic level, the breath rhythm naturally reflects the natural rhythm of the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous system: the inhalation tends to be stimulating, “excitatory”, whilst the exhalation tends to inhibit the excitatory stimulation of the nervous system. Combined with hypnotic micro-movements, we can learn to use the breath to allow us to release tension and stress and to facilitate sleep.