In our technologically advanced world, many things interfere with our sleep patterns.
Blue light from screens has been shown to disrupt the human body’s natural circadian rhythms which can impact the duration and quality of sleep.
According to the American Sleep Association, 50 to 70 million American adults suffer from some kind of sleep disorder.
Many health issues are caused or significantly worsened through sleep deprivation.
It is vital to your health that you get a decent quantity of high-quality sleep regularly.
For people who struggle with insomnia or disrupted sleep, incorporating qigong practices into their daily routine may make a significant difference.
Qigong for sleep
One of the easiest ways to practice qigong to improve your sleep quality is to incorporate it into your sleep hygiene routine.
Lie in your bed and practice abdominal breathing while trying to clear your mind of thoughts.
To do this correctly, breathe in deeply through your nose and focus on the sensation of air filling your stomach.
Lie your palms flat on your lower abdomen and feel the pressure of the air forcing your stomach out and your hands up.
As you exhale, push the air out of your body and see your hands fall.
Watch the rise and fall motions of your hands as you inhale and exhale.
This forces you to focus on breathing in a stomach-oriented manner rather than the chest-focused way we tend to breathe.
This allows your body to relax further and helps your body take in more oxygen.
In qigong, there is an area in the brain known as the Excited Point.
This is where all of the thoughts and feelings congregate in the body and can cause feelings of anxiety.
Qigong (such as Zhineng Qigong) practices can help to bring these negative emotions down to the Dan Tian area of your body.
This is found in the lower abdomen and is believed to be the reserve store of all of your body’s energy.
Bringing your negative emotions down to the Dan Tian will help you to calm your emotional state and feel less overwhelmed by the pressures of life.
Focus on your breathing and picture the negativity and stress moving out of your head and down to your Dan Tian and feet.
Picture good Qi and energies entering your body as you inhale.
As you exhale, focus on bringing the bad emotions down in your body.
Repeat this process until you feel calmermore calm and grounded in reality.
Proper technique of this method will allow you to feel calm in just a few breaths.
Another simple qigong technique is to lie on your bed with your eyes closed.
Try to clear your mind of thoughts and focus on the spot in between your eyebrows as your center.
Focus on this point and nothing else.
If other thoughts enter your mind, try to push them aside and return your attention to the focal point.
Alternatively, you can try lying on your back with your arms by your sides with the palms down.
Lie comfortably, with your feet spaced slightly apart.
Look directly ahead of yourself and then shift your focus to the spot between your eyebrows.
Look at your nose, and then your lower abdominal region.
Close your mouth and eyes, pressing your tongue against the roof of your mouth.
While you do this, take deep breaths through your nose.
As you exhale, picture your abdominal area filling with Qi.
Allow this energy to spread all across your body as you continue to breathe.
Take at least 24 deep breaths in this manner for the full effect.
This final method is used by Buddhist monks to strengthen their mental states.
Stand still and outstretch your right foot.
Use your left foot to kick the right heel.
Place your left hand on your waist with your elbow bent, allow your right hand to hang by your side.
Close your mouth and press your tongue against the roof of your mouth.
Slightly open your eyes and breathe deeply through your nose.
Stand up straight and clear your mind of thoughts.
As you deeply inhale, extend your right arm above your head and outstretch your fingers.
Turn it down and bend your knees as you exhale.
Stand up as you inhale and return to the starting position.
Repeat 8 times on each side.