It's 3 AM and you woke up. Maybe you just got too hot and uncomfortable and your pillow is hot (on both sides!). Maybe you woke up with a lot on your mind - stress and worry about work, your relationships, a presentation you have to give, a problem you have been working on and NOW your brain decides its a great time to analyze and re-analyze it over and over..... or something stupid like a song stuck in your head "We can dance if we want to, we can leave your friends behind...." The Safety Dance Song! Are you friggin kidding me! I haven't heard that stupid song since 1983. I hate that song! And this leads to anger, leading to insomnia which leads to more anger, which leads eventually to the dark side which Yoda warned you about.
You could lay in bed but we all know you will just toss and turn for 2 hours and 45 minutes, then fall into the deepest sleepiest sleep you ever had for 7 minutes and 39 seconds before your alarm wakes you up for work. Or you could do something much better and give yourself an edge at falling back to sleep quicker and salvage what is left of your night from the effects of insomnia. I have listed two Qigong methods to do just that.
First, get up out of bed and go to another room. You do not want to be warm for this so leave your bathrobe off. Being on the cool side will help. Make sure the room is dark. No lights, no computer. Then try one or both of these methods:
Qigong Sleep Method #1. Cool the Blood through the Laogong
Sit in a chair with upright posture, knees and hips bent at 90 degrees, hands are resting on your thighs with palms up. Close your eyes. Tongue touches the roof of the mouth lightly just behind the front top teeth. Begin to breathe slowly and deeply, preferably through the nose. Also use your belly to breathe. Your belly should expand outward and relax inward on your inhale and exhales respectively. After a few moments of this focus your full attention to your Laogong points on the palms of your upturned palms. You can find this point by bending your middle finger and touching the tip to the center of your palm. Now spend several minutes breathing while keeping your full attention on these points. You could visualize these points glowing with each breath if you like. You may even begin to feel them change temperature or tingle after several minutes. The reason you are bringing the attention here is that the Laogong point as described in Chinese Traditional Medicine, calms the mind, clears Heart fire, and cools the blood.
Qigong Sleep Method #2. Draw Yang Qi to the Yongquan
Sit in a chair and use the posture and breathing pattern as described above in Method #1. After breathing for several moments bring your attention to the Yongquan points located on the soles of the feet between the metatarsals of the 2nd and 3rd toes at approximately one third the distance from the base of the 2nd toe and the heel. Place your full attention at each point and breathe calmly for several minutes, again you may visualize these points glowing softly. The Yonquan is the lowest point in the body and by pulling Yang energy here you can balance the body. The Yongquan point is useful for quieting an overactive mind, reduce high blood pressure, headaches and insomnia. Two additional techniques can be applied to this method to further enhance it. The first is press on or massage the Yonquan points for about a minute each before starting the meditation. This will stimulate this point like priming a pump and help also to kinesthetically feel the point better during the meditation. The second is a visualizing activity that can also engage the mind away from overactive thoughts. With each breath visualize energy in the head in any manner you wish being pulled down to the Yonquan point like water being pulled down a drain or water falling like a waterfall to a pool.
It may take several minutes, 20 minutes or even longer. However, the 20 minutes you put into this may save you the 2 to 3 hours of lying awake in bed. You know when done with the meditation because your mind will be calmer, your body much cooler and you should be sleepier.
If you generally have trouble getting to sleep each night, these methods can also be used just before going to bed.
Good luck with the methods above, and I wish you a good sound sleep. Hopefully you will not wake up to "Safety Dance" song. For those of you young enough never to have heard it, do not Google it, you cannot un-hear it, trust me.
Photo by Manidoons at Morguefile.com