When I was a little girl, I slept in any shape, with feet up the wall (!), on the floor … without a pillow … with a huge pillow, and so on. Where I had laid my head or where I was placed – be in the dark or under glaring light – I slept. Well. Deep. Effortlessly. However, as I grew older, sleep became an issue: More pillows, a special mattress, endless room adjustments. I sleep better today than I did a year and years ago, nevertheless, it’s not the same magical quality I had experienced as a child.
Except, that at the end of a Softness Method session, if I were to get up off the mattress, I would feel more upright and I’d be lighter on my feet. However, that is if I’d get up. It is much more likely that I’d settle in for a delicious ease that would lead to a fathomless slumber, the kind I had experienced as a child …
One of the displeasing changes that adolescence brings with it is impaired sleep quality. Sleep is no longer as restful as it used to be (we blame the mattress …) we awaken often – for a moment or till dawn – sleep becomes gnarly ☹
Not many realize that the quiet enemy of quality sleep is, first and foremost, the stiffness that accumulates in one’s body over the years. As we get older, most of us sleep less and less well. This means that the body suffers chronic fatigue of the worst kind. It exhausts the sufferer in every aspect of her waking hours. Which, in turn, reduces the opportunities of celebrating life since we tire too quickly. Gradually, the phrase “I feel fatigued” becomes a household term in our life and the list of things “we could do when we were young” grows longer …
It has devastating consequences for our health and certainly for our quality of life.
It never ceases to amaze me when I hear people complain about the quality of their sleep and later about their aches and pains. I notice, each time, that they utterly fail to see the correlation between the two.
Even if you do not feel pain when you go to bed, still, the cause of your pain, whenever you feel it, and of your poor quality of sleep, is usually the very same reason. The two have the same origin.
To understand this, it is important to understand the essential aspects of the Softness Method. The pain onset is an excessive contraction of certain areas in one’s back, usually the upper back, however, it could be elsewhere. The pain can be felt in the back but also anywhere else in the body which is affected by the back: These could be the legs, arms, neck and head.
Having over 20 years of experience providing treatment and training, I have ascertained that the common cause of almost 100% of such pain is stiffness, the kind that develops with age. We were not born with it (unless it was an illness). We have developed it over the years. It also intensifies. Most of us are aware of it in one form or another. It is expressed with a sense of heaviness, a desire to stretch, through a given pain or another and in poor sleep quality.
The result of the stiffness the area consisting of the upper back and the chest becomes, over the years, more and more held in place, ossified, inflexible. The lower back and neck become more worn-out, tired, sore. Over time it also causes real damage. And it starts, almost without exception, due to a lack of supple movement of the upper back.
Say, how many times during the day, if at all, do you move your upper back? Extend your sternum forward? Spread ribs on one side of the chest, then on the other side? Move your upper back’s vertebrae in creative circles? … Probably not even once☹
Add to that the emotional stress we are ambiently surrounded by, poor air quality in many cases, the result is a reluctance / inability to breathe deeply and a stiff upper back / rib cage.
Consequently, the quality of sleep is also impaired, although not immediately. It starts with certain postures becoming uncomfortable for us (for most of us it is lying on the stomach that disappears at first), then more positions are eliminated as well (here, too, there are statistics: lying on the back becomes virtually impossible for many); finally, what is left for most of us is just lying on the side and usually on the same side … ☹
It is clear that as we devolve from having the freedom to creatively lye in all possible positions to lying on one side only, such would severely impair the quality of sleep. It is not really restful for a tired body to stay in the same position for so many hours. Obviously, it would “complain” about it.
All one has to do at such juncture is turn the wheel back: Make your body as soft, supple and flexible as possible. And that is done gently, using the Softness Method (which is based on my knowledge as a professional physiotherapist, and a Feldenkrais instructor for over 20 years).
The good news is that when practicing lying down, employing the Softness Method, before going to sleep, when we then go to bed, the body sinks into sweet relaxation followed by deep sleep and “on the way” we end up painlessly healing restricted movement and other physical limitations (and if there is already pain then without exacerbating it), while avoiding any stretching or exertion.
If without stretching or pain, effortlessly, one can improve sleep quality, maybe even decrease and eliminate pain along the way, what are we waiting for? For a peek at the Softness, the Strength of Physiotherapy and Feldenkrais Combined program, for individuals who are suffering from poor sleep quality, click here.