Alexander Technique colleague, David Nesmith, includes the topic of rest in his Denison University AT class. On behalf of my blog readers, I requested his insights into the practice of sleeping well, and he graciously obliged:
‘I see going to bed as an activity, just as getting up out of a chair, typing on the computer, and chopping vegetables are all activities. We can use ourselves poorly or well in any of them.’ He went on to list the components of rest preparation: kinesthetic awakeness, monitoring primary control, directing varied movements, cooperating with the lengthening and gathering of the spine, and facilitating free exhalations. In combination, these practices, in his words, ‘yield deep rest.‘ He concludes with, ‘It is this deep rest that allows sleep to arrive much more easily.’ His Constructive Rest Sleep Constellations is available on iTunes, and can be found by title or by searching SmartPoise. Also, check out David’s website.
In the meantime, finding yourself in the day-to-night transition, wiggle your toes. Note where your body is in contact with the bed surface. Give yourself a few prompts: ‘head resting lightly on pillow,’ ‘long spine,’ ‘arms wide,‘ ‘free breath.’ Revel in your altered relationship to gravity. Following a day of uprightness, being horizontal is restful in and of itself. When sleep eludes me, I remind myself of this fact.
Deep rest to you—