Last week we dropped a new video on YouTube giving a detailed demonstration of the Arch and Flatten movement. We explained that this movement is for releasing the back and the front and for coordinating them both together.
This movement works because it’s about reducing the build up of tension caused by stress in our lives.
Chronic stress contributes to muscle tension, which can rob you of the ability to voluntarily relax yourself. From a somatic perspective many sleep disturbances stem from chronic stress, both mental and emotional.
All things mental and emotional are experienced as a bodily experience – somatically – so we know that this can result in a nervous system that is in a constant sympathetic state – on high alert, ready for action, danger, fight or flight.
The end result is a body that just can’t relax enough to fall into deep sleep.
Norman Doidge discusses in his 2007 book, The Brain That Changes Itself, how “neurons that fire together wire together.”
Constant mental, emotional, or physical stress creates more stress, and this happens at a neurological level. If you don’t practice the skill of releasing your daily stress (pandiculating is a great way to do that) you may find yourself stuck in a constant state of tension, low-level anxiety, fatigue, or muscle pain. You may find your mind racing, unable to quiet down.
We often think of sleep as being restful and the place where we can relax the most but, in fact, we keep our muscle tension when we sleep. Releasing muscle tension requires us to engage the brain (muscles have no will of their own, they only do what the brain tells them) so we can stop the signal to the muscles to contract that goes on in the background for so many of us. This is the most efficient way to teach our muscles to fully release and relax so we can get a good night’s sleep.
Arch and Flatten is about reducing muscle tension and resetting the resting amount of tension in our muscles.
The most common thing we hear from those who practice Somatic Movement is “I can’t remember the last time I slept this well!”
Try this Somatic Movement tonight before you go to bed, remember to keep the exploration soft and gentle, and see how that impacts your sleep quality.