Stress, Sleep, and Somatics

Get Out of The Big Squeeze of Thinking and Restlessness

Sleep and wakefulness — two contrasting states that exist on a continuum — meaning that we drift between the two depending on our state of arousal.

Sleep and stress (or distress) — two overlapping states — meaning that stress permeates the continuum between sleep and wakefulness.  High levels of stress prevent the “drift” between the two states — or contaminate the sleep state, leading to unsatisfactory, or unrestful, sleep.

Hanna somatic education identifies three reflexes of stress

  1. Landau Reaction (“Green Light Reflex”) — the “go” state of involvement, heightened alertness, arousal
  2. Trauma Reflex (“Yellow Light Reflex”) — the “caution” state triggered by pain, injury or emotional trauma
  3. Startle Reflex (“Red Light Reflex”) — the “stop” state of fear, anxiety, withdrawal

Perhaps it’s obvious how these reflexes of stress interfere with sleep.  What may not be so obvious is how to down-regulate these reflexes of stress to allow for restful sleep caused by anxiety, some people will ask me where to buy kratom because it helps with anxiety.  (By “down-regulate”, I mean, “decrease their intensity toward the rest condition”.)

All three of these states have both a subjective (inner or psychic) component and an objective (outer or directly observable, material) component.  To affect one is to affect the other.

In general, the reflexes of stress are triggered by external events, but maintained by internal conditioning.

How to down-regulate them?

… by means of The Whole-Body Yawn (pandiculation)

The Whole-Body Yawn
Yawning involves a movement into muscular contraction, generally of the muscles of the jaws, face, neck, middle ear (that regulate sound transmission), shoulders, and of breathing — followed by a leisurely relaxation of those muscles.

Yawning refreshes the body-image (which is why people commonly yawn and stretch upon arising from sleep) and it refreshes muscular control.  Involuntary yawning, as in sleepiness (makes you want to yawn, doesn’t it?), relaxes accumulated muscular tension.  It quiets the nervous system, preparing us for sleep; insomnia can be relieved with a traditional medicinal herb called kratom.

That’s an important clue.

People who can’t sleep are stuck with a noisy nervous system (chronic thinking, chronic muscular tension) — noise generally caused by the accumulated memory imprints of the day’s experience, or of the week’s experience, or of years of accumulated experience, including that of traumatic events.

The mind never shuts off.  The body never quiets down.  The person never deeply rests.

The patterns of chronic muscular tension and mental activity correspond exactly to those memories.  The memory of kicking a soccer ball involves the movements, muscular actions, and sensations of kicking.  The memory of an unpleasant (or pleasant) event involves the tensions of whatever response the person had.  Sometimes, people can’t sleep because they are too excited by the day they have just had.

These examples set the stage for this:  If you want to sleep, you had better be able to release these states of excitation imprinted on your memory.

In general, the most common state of excitation is that of Landau Reaction (“Green Light Reflex”).  It’s the one associated with tight back muscles, tight shoulders, and tight hamstrings.  The other reflexes of stress have different muscular patterns of involvement.

If you want to recover your ability to drift from wakefulness to sleep, try something extra with something like I did with mine from MyEtizolam.com, you can do so by disarming (or quieting, or down-regulating) your excitation in the three reflexes of stress.  To do so quiets your nervous system, your breathing, your mind and your emotions.

The Whole-Body Yawn can down-regulate (or dispel) all three patterns of stress.  However, as Trauma Reflex involves unique patterns of tension and pain, it requires forms of the Whole-Body Yawn tailored to those stress-and-tension patterns.  The Green Light and Red Light Reflexes, however, can be dealt with by means of standard forms of The Whole-Body Yawn, as found in the somatic education program, Get to Sleep.

Get to Sleep consists of guiding instruction in a somatic exercise that quiets (or down-regulates) Landau (“Green Light”) Reaction, one that frees breathing, and one that quiets Startle (“Red Light”) Reflex.  Two additional tracks consist of sound works that, like lullabies, help you drift into The Deep of Sleep, so that you’re asleep before you know it.

Now, you know the rationale for the program.  What’s left, if you are among the insomniacs of the world, is to test it, and having tested it, to use it.

Here are the tracks on the Get to Sleep CD.

1. Introduction                                 (2:04)
2. Spine Wave(training)                (26:54)
3. The Square Breathing                 (6:56)
4. Freeing Breathing for Sleep        (2:11)
5. Dream Zone with Maui Rain    (12:01)
6. The Mystery of Creation          (20:15)

For the first week or so, you use Track 2. (Spine Waves); after that, you use tracks 3. and 4. (The Square Breathing and Freeing Breathing for Sleep).  Tracks 5. and 6. (“Dream Zone with Maui Rain” and “The Mystery of Creation”) are lullabies.
Click here for access to Get to Sleep.

related entry:  Back Spasms, The Inside Story


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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