Can’t Sleep?

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So, You Can’t Sleep

Many years ago I had severe trouble getting to sleep and was dead against taking sleeping pills. I went to an old fashioned book-shop in Basle, Switzerland – where I was working and living at the time. I had a good look through the shelves on the topic of self -help and found a little book on self-hypnosis and getting to sleep.

Muscle Waves

One of the most powerful aspects of this book was the use of muscle waves. These are progressive contractions and relaxation of muscles up and down your body, which help you relax into a state where it’s much easier to still your mind and nod off to sleep. This was combined with some simple breathing exercises which I synchronised with the muscle waves.

It short – it worked, and it still works incredibly well.

Advanced Relaxation Methods

Fast forward 30 odd years, and I used these techniques as the basis for some more advanced relaxation exercises for mindfulness and for creating a relaxed body state for whole body power.

Joints and Energy Point Enhancements

The enhancements are reasonably simple and meaningful enough to add here. Firstly, the muscle waves can be enhanced by focusing on contracting and relaxing around your major joints (wrist, elbow, shoulder, ankle, knee, hip) and major energy points (e.g. Dantien, Sternum Xiphoid Process, Neck Notch and the Crown of your head) instead of individual muscles. Secondly, you can add expansion to contraction and relaxation.

Pulsing and Waves

Adding expansion gives you a pulsing effect as well as the wave effect and makes relaxation much deeper. Expansion is the opposite feeling to contraction, generating the feeling of opening your joints and energy points, a bit like stretching does, but in all three dimensions rather than one. It also gives a simple focus for your breathing; breathing-in on expansion and out on contraction. Starting the breathing in or out during the relaxation phase before contracting and before expanding.

Contract-Relax-Expand-Relax Cycle

If you perform this contract-relax-expand-relax cycle for all of your major joints and energy points – you should find yourself relaxing quickly.

Feeling Heavy

There is another element to this exercise which should send you off in zzz land even quicker, and this is to add the feeling of your joints/ energy points getting heavier and heavier as you expand and contract them in turn, giving you the feeling of sinking into your bed or chair, if you happen to be in one.

If At First You Don’t Succeed – Keep Trying

Using this approach you should find yourself focusing on your body and breathing, progressively relaxing and freeing your mind. If it doesn’t work at first, keep trying: it gets better and better and easier and easier with practise.

I hope you like this and find it a useful ‘getting to sleep’ tool to add to your arsenal of awareness and healthfulness tools. It has really helped a lot over the years.

Mindfully Connected

For more healthful hints and tips please have a look at and if you want to learn more about connecting with your mind and body do buy my book.

Please do feel free to contact me: if you have any questions.



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