Exercise 4 – Let your pulse help you to fall asleep

Exercise 3 was about relaxing and calming down while feeling your pulse, but it was rather a passive act: The feeling of the puls is calming you.

The next stage would be to try to influence the pulse actively and thus calm the pulse – and you even further.

The best place to try this is when you go to sleep and especially when you find it hard to find sleep. Probably a major reason for insomnia are sorrows or just too manny things spinning around in your head. A major issue is thus to stop your mind of thinking about the „idées fixes“ in your mind. While there are many ways to calm down these thoughts with meditation or many other therapies, here is a possible contribution through the capability to feel your heart beat.

Listening to the pulse can help to deviate from your thoughts and problems. Because it is not trivial to follow your heart beat, you have to concentrate, and this can help to get you out of the ’spinning thoughts‘.

The first action is to feel the pulse and trying to follow it. However, strong thoughts don’t get chased very easy, as your sorrows and fears might be big. Now the next thing you could do if you notice that you fall back into the spinning thoughts is to breath in the rhythm of the heart beat. Depending on the speed of your heart beats, you can choose 2, 3 or 4 maybe 5 beats. The inhale and the exhale phase don’t need to have the same speed. I often use 1 beat for inhaling and 2 beats for exhaling.

But how to find the right measure for your breath? An easy way is to just breath for a while. Then you search your pulse and find the beats that come closest to your natural breath. Then you count the beats of inhale and exhale and start to deliberately breath on those.

If this still does not make you sleep – and don’t be surprise or disappointed if this will happen – then you can start to count the breaths. I like to count both inhale and exhale as a unit. Sometimes you might get up to 100 or more. I experienced that the longer I tried this exercise the faster I fall asleep.

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