I Need to Unwind!

We talk about needing to unwind from all the stress in our lives but are we truly allowing ourselves to do that? What does it really mean, to unwind?

For the past month, I’ve been posting a series of articles about improving your sleep by sleeping separately from your spouse/significant other(s). One major reason it can be more beneficial to have your own sleep space is that the body needs this time to heal. That’s why it’s so important to get uninterrupted sleep, which can be difficult to do when someone else is in your bed.

During sleep, we enter a healing process which is referred to in some therapeutic circles as unwinding. During unwinding, your body and mind will re-experience any injuries or traumatic events (big or small) that it was unable to process at the time of the event.

Unwinding is a completely natural and enormously beneficial process we all need to go through to heal ourselves fully. It can be quite acrobatic, depending on what your experiences have been and not at all dangerous for the person doing the unwinding. However, it could be risky for anyone in the immediate vicinity if you are flailing around and they are asleep next to you. For this reason, it is helpful to be alone in your bed.

It is not necessary to understand or remember what happens during your unwinding in order to benefit from it. In fact, thinking about it during the process can get in the way of allowing yourself to truly let go of control and have your subconscious take over. That’s why unwinding in your sleep is very important to the repair and healing of your body.

It is possible to unwind while you are awake but it can take a bit of practice to allow yourself to really let go of needing to control your body. If you can detach your conscious, thinking mind from the unwinding process it can be quite the interesting experience!

Unwinding can bring up some deeply suppressed emotions but it only happens when you are ready to let them go. In fact, unwinding is arguably the most effective method of healing because you aren’t required to talk about anything to resolve the problem. It doesn’t require analysis or understanding to be helpful. It’s kind of like a child having a tantrum. You express the emotions however you need to and go on with your day. What could be simpler?

The problem is that we have been trained to shut down the unwinding process, especially when we are awake. It can look funny, or crazy, or scary, especially if the person watching has no idea what is happening. People trained in western medicine will think you’re having a seizure and immediately try to shut it down, not realizing the benefit of the process.

The important thing to know is that you will never injure yourself while unwinding, as long as you are doing it in a safe, comfortable place free of objects that might get in the way. It can be extremely beneficial to have someone assist you, as long as they know how, but it isn’t really necessary.

If you have any questions or comments about unwinding, drop them in the comments. Next week, I’ll take you through how to unwind while awake.