In the recent IAAP international teleconference call entitled “Mindful Attunement”, one person made a comment about sleep and sleep patterns. Their words really struck a cord with me because I work with clients–young and old, male and female, sick and not sick–who are having trouble getting a good night’s sleep. There are so many factors involved in this quintessential and delicate part of a person’s life (in theory one-third of our life is spent sleeping) that affects health, healing and balance–energetically, emotionally, mentally and physically.
Have you ever spent a restless night, tossing and turning and not sleeping? How did the next day go for you? Long ago when I was a pilot in the Air Force I was required to go through prison-of-war training. In that very real experience, the “captors” used sleep deprivation and other approaches to “soften up” their prisoner (me). After a couple of days of not being allowed to sleep I felt like a drunken person–physical fatigue, slow coordination, a numbed mind with intelligent thinking all but gone, and emotionally vulnerable. As a Practitioner of the complementary health and healing arts I know that sleep is vital to the restoration and healing process. Without sleep the body does not return to balance nor heal; we heal while we sleep!
T.S. Wiley and Bent Formby MD wrote, Lights Out: Sleep, Sugar and Survival,using research gleaned from the National Institutes of Health, to suggest that: “Americans really are sick from being tired. Diabetes, heart disease, cancer, and depression are rising in our population. We’re literally dying for a good night’s sleep. Our lifestyle wasn’t always this way. It began with the invention of the lightbulb. When we don’t get enough sleep in sync with seasonal light exposure, we fundamentally alter a balance of nature that has been programmed into our physiology since Day One. This delicate biological rhythm rules the hormones and neurotransmitters that determine appetite, fertility, and mental and physical health. When we rely on artificial light to extend our day until 11 p.m., midnight and beyond, we fool our bodies into living in a perpetual state of summer.” The authors recommend 9 to 9 ½ hours of sleep each night.
From Prescription for Nutritional Healing by Phyllis Balch, under Insomnia, “Insomnia can take the form of being unable to fall asleep when you first go to bed or waking during the night and being unable to go back to sleep. It affects one out of ten Americans. Over half of those over the age of sixty-five experience disturbed sleep…”Balch recommends a host of things to assist a person with a sleepless pattern, including diet changes and taking herbs like California poppy, kava kava, lemon balm, passionflower, skullcap, and valerian root to name a few.
There are many other books on the subject of sleep. Some recommend lifestyle changes, some recommend specific routines before bed, others advocate electrical devices that stimulate and/or relax the brain, and some point to therapies that address stress reduction and emotional energy clearing. I often use CranioSacral therapy on clients with insomnia. Depending on the person and circumstance, this is helpful to some degree especially if I include Attunement.
The person who spoke on the IAAP teleconference call mentioned the use of rhythmic breathing to help a “busy mind that won’t be still”. This approach can be quite effective. Before going to sleep I suggest an individual practice some form of sanctification and mindful closure to the day’s activities (mostly people interactions) coupled with self-Attunement. In his early days of teaching, Uranda developed a technique called Over-the-Head Attunement, written about in the Attunement Protocols book (pg. 22). Here are the simple steps which can be done with another person and/or for oneself.
1. Balance the cervical life pattern.
2. Place both hands over the head, bringing the thumbs together with the base of the thumbs over the pineal, fingers pointing forward, using a diffused hand form (see diagram below). When I do this Attunement position on myself, my palms are over the frontal lobe, motor cortex and sensory cortex of the brain and the middle fingers are together over the pineal. The cortex is the outermost layer of brain cells. Thinking and voluntary movements begin in the cortex.
3. Hold this position for a few minutes until the radiation balances.
4. Re-balance the cervical life pattern to close the Attunement.
The lack of sleep is a growing problem in our modern-day electronic society. There are many in the Attunement Community that have dealt with or are dealing with insomnia in some fashion. I invite you to comment on your experiences and successes with Attunement and sleep.