Episode 18: The Science, Practical Experience & Woo-Woo of Sleep, and Why Resting Is Rebellious & Radical with Rebecca Moulton

queen of sleep rebecca moulton

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Our culture is obsessed with maximizing everything: our time, our productivity, even our sleep. We wear watches and rings to monitor our sleep, then we judge the quality or quantity of our sleep when we check the app’s report. We have been conditioned to believe harmful things about sleep, rest, and putting it all on a schedule. Capitalism and patriarchy have cemented the harm.

It is a trauma response to be constantly busy, constantly doing, constantly checking things off the to-do list. How can you intentionally create space and time for rest? What can you say no to so you can say yes to rest? Most of us live in a culture that assigns value based on our output and productivity, therefore rest is a radical, rebellious, revolutionary act of self-love and self-care.

queen of sleep rebecca moulton

Rebecca Moulton, the Queen of Sleep, is a holistic sleep coach and a Yoga Nidra teacher. As the founder of Cultivate Rest, she helps women sleep better and rest deeply. She serves as a guide and partner in sleep and rest work, combining science, ancient yogic wisdom, and her own experiences in overcoming personal trauma and health challenges for customized individual experiences to re-learn the transformational healing power of rest. Rebecca teaches that it is possible to reclaim and rewrite your sleep story.





In this episode, the Queen of Sleep, Rebecca Moulton and I…

  • disagree with the blanket sleep hygiene recommendations, sleep apps, and sleep-monitoring devices
  • discuss the epidemic of women doing it all as caregivers and why we need to let ourselves off the hook
  • discuss Yoga Nidra as a helpful tool for cultivating rest
  • discuss the nervous system and why down regulating it is necessary for good sleep
  • reveal how breath work biologically signals messages of calm and safety to the nervous system
  • expose the awful consequences we all suffer with our sleep and rest as a result of capitalism and patriarchy
  • expose the toxic attitudes about sleep and why re-writing our sleep story is so important
  • share the concept of healing from the body to the brain rather than from the brain to the body (bottom up, not top down)
  • give practical tips for stopping the middle of the night monkey mind
  • share a fantastically relaxing guided meditation/body scan to get you in parasympathetic mode
  • talk about why rest (not sleep) is a radical, revolutionary, and rebellious act of self-care and why we must create a life that honors rest



Hello there. Welcome to the first holistic trauma healing podcast. Episode of 2021. We are here. And I have appropriately decided for the first episode of 2021 to talk about sleep. I am putting it out into the universe that all of us. Are going to. Catch up on all of the rest and sleep that we lost due to the stress and anxiety of 2020. I’ll be super honest though. I actually got better sleep in 2020 that I got in 2018 and 2019. So lots of sleep healing happened for me in 2020, but I know that’s not the case for everyone because 2020 was a show. Let’s just be honest.

So in today’s episode, I am interviewing the queen of sleep rebecca Moulton. She’s a holistic sleep coach and a yoga nidra teacher. She’s the founder of cultivate rest and helps women sleep better and rest deeply. She serves as a guide and partner in sleep and rest work, combining science, ancient, yoga wisdom, and her own experiences and overcoming personal trauma and health challenges for customized individual experiences to relearn the transformational healing power of rest. Rebecca teaches that it is possible to reclaim and rewrite your sleep story.

In this episode, we are discussing sleep. Like everything about sleep. We are talking about. How to use tools like yoga nidra which actually translates to sleep and how ancient yogis understood the nervous system and how to calm it for good sleep. We’re also talking about why we have to downshift our nervous systems in order to sleep. I am sharing my own personal journey with trauma, anxiety, and insomnia. That has been a battle that I’ve been fighting for the last couple of years. And as I said, in 2020, I made some really big progress and I’m super excited about that and grateful for that. Rebecca and I are also discussing breathwork and how breath work can biologically signal to your nervous system messages of calm and activate the sympathetic nervous system response.

Rebecca and I are going to disagree with the current sleep hygiene techniques that are often prescribed where you get the same five tips of make sure your room is dark and cool, don’t use a TV or a blue light for two hours before bed, calm yourself down, whisper, keep the lights low. And that’s the recipe for magical sleep. We actually disagree with those sleep hygiene techniques. We also expose the toxic attitudes that are really prevalent against sleep and how have we gotten so weird about judging our sleep and measuring our sleep and like wearing watches and rings and devices on our bodies that tell us all about our sleep and how that’s actually probably harming us more than it’s doing us any good.

Rebecca and I discussed the epidemic of women doing it all as caregivers, wives, mothers, et cetera, and why we need to let ourselves off the hook because exhaustion is not a badge of honor. We talk about the awful consequences that capitalism and the patriarchy have had on sleep and health, especially the health of women. And we give tips, practical tips for stopping the middle of the night monkey minds and what to do whenever you wake up at 2:00 AM and your brain is trying to solve all the world’s problems. So we’re bringing you some practical tips for those. And also Rebecca is sharing a really wonderful guided meditation slash body scan that she does live during the podcast that, um, I highly recommend that you not be driving your car whenever you listen to this because it’s so freaking relaxing. And then we also discuss how we attach meaning to how much or how little sleep we get. This kind of goes along with judging our sleep and how we need to rewrite our sleep story. Um, we need to heal from the toxic shit around sleep. So Rebecca and I are going off the deep end with sleep in this episode. And I’m just putting it out there for all of you after you’ve listened to this episode, I think that you are going to come away with some really awesome tools and information for truly improving your sleep and even letting yourself off the hook with the sleep and the busy-ness because getting back to a space of rest is like legit, the most radical, revolutionary and rebellious act of self care that we can have for ourselves. So here’s my interview with Rebecca, the queen of sleep.

LINDSEY: Hi, Rebecca. Welcome to the holistic trauma healing podcast.

REBECCA: Hi, thank you so much for having me.

LINDSEY: Of course, I’m honored. So I want to jump right in. You call yourself the queen of sleep. Why?

REBECCA: First of all, because I love people’s reactions because they definitely get a visceral reaction, either shocked or intrigued, but my entire life, I loved sleep and I was always called the queen of sleep from a little girl when my. I’m not even making this up. My favorite Disney character was sleeping beauty, into, high school and college. And, it was something that became almost, I was shamed for that. I enjoyed sleeping all the time and everyone would go out partying. And I was the first one back to the door because I wanted to sleep and I didn’t understand. I just never understood. Why do people hate sleep? Why do they want to miss out on this opportunity for sleep. It’s so important. And I will never forget my one of my very first therapy sessions that I started as a young adult, it was after college, my early twenties and the therapist asked me, what are some of the things you like to do?

And I said, sleep and her reaction was one of, Oh, concerned. I would tell me more about that. And I got the vibe of, Oh, maybe this is not okay. Maybe this is not a good thing, but I didn’t understand. And that stayed with me my whole life. Like why do we have this relationship with sleep that I had always had felt like I really protected, So fast forward decades and through my own personal journeys and my heroine stories that have had multiple chapters, it turned out that sleep was an integral part of my healing. And I had no idea. And I had to be guided back to it from several of my teachers and mentors. And so I had no intentions of really taking the crown, but I, it took me several years. I went through an integrative trauma informed yoga teacher training, did not expect to ever teach yoga, but I had found yoga nidra, which is yogic sleep.

And I fell in love with it. And while all my colleagues are doing, headstands and this and that, and prepping to do active level three yoga classes, I had my legs up a wall. Or was in Shavasana or child’s pose. And so I continued on after the training got additional certifications and, now I’m a yoga teacher, so I literally help people sleep. And so I realized, especially when people then started coming to me and asking me like, Hey, this is going on. I realized. This is something I’ve done all my life. And now I have the training and education to understand, Oh, okay. This aspects were probably because this and this was because of that. And so it really is fascinating, but like I said, I love, I’m proud of, of sleep.

I enjoy it. And I love helping people navigate through my approach back to a healthier relationship with rest. That’s really beautiful. Like you were born to sleep and teach other people to sleep too. I think maybe I was. And it’s funny how that unfolds because. I, I am also a meteorologist I’m also a mom and I wanted to be a meteorologist my whole life and a lot of meteorologists, by the way, totally off topic. We all have that gene. We wanted to be meteorologists our whole life. So I know that feeling of I was born to do this and I literally am living out my dream and that aspect. And I didn’t know that you could have more than one purpose and you could be called to more than one thing. And I’m also a mom and this is also part of who I am. And when I, what I’m doing now, the people that are closest to me are like, Oh my gosh, this makes so much sense. And it does. I love to say I planned it all like this, but I didn’t. Life just really unfolded and supported me in this way. yeah.

LINDSEY: Wow. okay. Yoga nidra is a new term for me. I’ve never heard of yoga nidra before, but when you said legs up the wall and child’s pose, I spend a pretty decent amount of my time in those two postures. I love them both and mostly for me, I do it because it feels good on my lower back and hips. So can you describe more of what yoga nidra is and how it differs from other yoga practices?

REBECCA: I would love to, and I just have to say, I love that. I found a fellow legs up the wall devotee because before I was the queen of sleep, I would have all these pictures on Instagram of me with my legs up the wall in different places. It was my reaction to all these social media, yoga Queens who are doing all these pretzel twists, and all of that. And I’m like, okay, here’s my yoga. So I love that. It’s such a nourishing, posture for people in so many ways, but yoga nidra in Sanskrit literally means sleep. And it doesn’t translate exactly one to one, but yoga nidra is a practice. It’s a meditative or relaxation practice. Traditionally, there can be some Asana or some poses that you do first to move the energy, get the energy flowing. And then we use breath work to reset the body and then use that sleepy awareness that liminal space between being totally knocked out and awake and alert. We can use that sort of from the ground up to get our brain, to click several brainwaves down. And while we’re there, we can play in that area with awareness and just practice, which is very much a true yoga practice.

Being aware of whatever is in our life at that moment. If it’s something in our body, if it’s something emotionally, if it’s something in our space or experience, and that in and of itself is. It’s simple, but it’s so complicated and it’s a true practice. So it’s part breath, part awareness. And when you’re led and facilitated and guided through this, by a teacher, it really can be transformative and you students have powerful experiences it’s used in Managing chronic pain. It can be used obviously for insomnia. It can be used pTSD can be used, in so many different ways. And my lineage is drawn. it’s funny to me how the neuroscience, now that I know a lot more about the ins and outs of what’s actually happening from a science background. The ancient yogis knew that.

And it’s fascinating to me how their understanding of the body and their spiritual framework translates in the Western world and how our nervous systems are so over-activated and dysregulated that for some people just being able to breathe and relax comfortably for 20, 30 minutes, that’s a practice just to downshift manually, and it can be so much more beneficial than trying to tell yourself, actively affirmations or, talk your way. We, we, you cannot talk your way out of so many things that we’re doing right now. We need to literally downshift our nervous systems manually. So that’s what we’re doing in yoga nidra. And from that place, it’s such a powerful, almost like hypnosis or meditation. We work with planting seeds of intention and really being kind and gentle with ourselves and implanting in there loving kindness, awareness. So yeah, I, I absolutely love it and people fall asleep all the time in yoga nidra. I fall asleep all the time and yoga nidra and the beautiful thing is it’s okay.

LINDSEY: Yeah. It’s not like your other yoga class where you can’t fall asleep and hot yoga, right? That would be dangerous. Yes. okay. I’m sharing with you some of my own sleep story, but I want to share it here on the show for people who haven’t heard it before. Looking back over the last 10 years of my life, I can now, hindsight’s 2020, obviously. So now that I’m 10 years past some of these events can see the connection between whenever I went through a really stressful events or series of events very shortly after that event or series of events had passed, I would find myself in the throws of insomnia.

And typically my pattern is I can fall asleep, but then I wake up around one, 2:00 AM. And I’m unable to go back to sleep. And has happened over the last 10 years, probably three different times, but the worst one was late 2018. 2018 was just one hell of a bad year in our family. Our marriage was an upheaval. We had just deconstructed fundamentalist Christianity, and both my husband and I had like completely new identities. And we were basically starting from scratch with learning how to be married again and learning who we were as individuals. And it was very difficult and we made it through most of 2018 and like we had, recommitted to each other and we were grappling with this new sense of autonomy that neither one of us had ever known before.

And then it was like about six weeks after that died down, I got physically sick. And the physical sickness was like all in my pelvis. So it was like UTI, pelvic floor dysfunction. And ultimately I was diagnosed with pelvic congestion syndrome, which are varicose veins that are deep inside the pelvis. So you can’t see them on the outside of the body. Through all this, having all of this physical pain and this anxiety about my health, my sleep got very disrupted. I really started to experience the worst insomnia of my life. And it went on until I finally attempted suicide on March 7th of 2019. So about four months of not sleeping and it wasn’t just that I wasn’t sleeping. It was that I could fall asleep at 10 or 10 30 and then like clockwork at 1:00 AM.

I was just like, I didn’t even have time to wake up and have that sort of like groggy waking up feeling. It was like I was asleep. And then I was awake and my heart was racing and pounding, and I like woke up in a panic attack. And then I was unable to calm myself down and unable to fall back to sleep. And after weeks of this happening, the anxiety got worse. The insomnia cycle got worse. it was just a cycle that just kept feeding itself. And, I did attempt suicide and it was because I was so like fucking tired and I could not imagine that I would ever be able to get my sleep back. Like I would be delirious. I would be like clawing at my headboard in the middle of the night, asking myself, where are you? Where are you? I know this is not who I am. Like, where am I? My husband would have to lay on top of me just because the weight of his body was the only thing that would make me stop shaking.

It was miserable. It was awful. I found out months later when we were doing some family therapy about that with our kids, that, my crying would wake my daughter up from across the hall. And she had gotten very annoyed with me for being like this. It was just awful. No, needless to say I got on a bunch of different medications for sleep and anxiety. And I’ve spent the last year and a half working on my trauma, working on the things that got me to that point, working on my nervous system resiliency and flexibility, weaning off of medications. So then I got off of medications completely in December of 2019. And even though I had tapered down super slowly so by the time I took the last dose, it was like a minuscule dose nothing therapeutic at all, but within a week of quitting the medications completely, all of the insomnia came back again and I’m a natural, crunchy hippy person. And so I wanted to do it again without medication or try. And so I went, four months again. And by this point, like I wasn’t waking up in a panic attack. I was just waking up and unable to go back to sleep. So I practice meditation. I practice body relaxation exercises, body scans, like practicing all these things. But I finally got to the point where like the brain fog and the inability to function wasn’t happening for me anymore. It was just awful. And I chatted with my psychiatrist and at that point I had just begun. it’s a protocol for healing the brain injury caused by trauma. I’d started the Nemechek protocol and with the support of my psychiatrist and my psychiatrist finally said, Lindsey, like your body could keep going like this indefinitely until you decide that it can’t anymore, but your brain cannot heal without sleep. So you could be doing all of this, the stuff to heal your brain and your autonomic nervous system, but it’s only going to go so far unless you start sleeping. And so I made an informed choice to start taking sleeping medications again. and as of right now, November 23rd, I am like two thirds of the way off of the sleeping medication that I started taking in late April. And, I’m actually sleeping better now than I was sleeping on the full dose of the sleeping medication. Which I know that once I get off the possibility for rebound insomnia is there, so that’s my sleep story. And I’ve connected with a lot of people, mostly women during the last two years. And I hear a lot of similarities in my story and their stories. Just, there’s a lot of anxiety. There’s a lot of waking up in those panic attacks. I don’t even know what that’s called, but it’s hell. and so I’m wondering, what do you have to say about that?

REBECCA: First of all, my heart goes out to you that you’ve been through all of that, and you are a true warrior for your own health and wellbeing and your family. I it’s so evident that you have put in so much work and love into caring for yourself. So I think you really have a lot to be proud of for that. and I don’t sleep shame anybody. You want to take medication if that works for you? Fantastic. You don’t want to take medication if that’s important to you. Fantastic. Because sleep is a biological function. It’s so important. And I don’t believe that we should be adding to any of the stress that’s already there. My number one absolute is that when something is up with our sleep, if we are having, sleep interruptions, number one is check your biology.
What is your body telling you? And it might be as simple as I need to go to the bathroom or I’m thirsty or hungry or I’m cold or I’m hot, or your body could actually have something more profound to say. And that’s where it gets really complicated with, especially with those of us who have trauma, because it does live in our bodies and it lives in our nervous system. And that’s where you really have to, as you’re doing address the nervous system and really do some work there. And then you can peel back those layers, but you can’t peel back the layers at one 30 and two in the morning. So when that happens, if biologically the needs are met, then you can start to say, there are things that you can do to address the vagus nerve. And really, whether or not, you knew it, your husband laying on top of you is a highly effective sensation for the nervous system to start to get you out of that sympathetic response.

LINDSEY: Yeah. I didn’t know it at the time. I know it now, but I didn’t know it at the time. It was just. My body knew. And so I knew to ask, I need you to lay on top of me because

REBECCA: that isn’t that interesting. Yeah. Because listening to the body really, it is absolutely. And when you can get to that level of trust, it happens so intuitively for a lot of us, because at that primal biologic level, we do know, and we do have that inside and. I find myself doing a lot of the same things and then figuring out the scientific reason for it afterwards, Oh, that made so much sense. So there are things like that and techniques like that. And I used to say Oh, I’m not doing breathing practices. That’s who has time for that? That’s so woo woo, but they work on a very scientific biologic level to shut off certain activated responses and help turn on others because at its core, if you’re running away from a tiger chasing you’re going to be breathing quickly. Your breath is going to be in and out of your chest. There’s going to be a lot of things happening in your brain with that connection. If we completely flipped that breathing pattern, breathe into our bellies, into the diaphragm and slow it down. Biologically your brain says, Oh, I guess there’s not a tiger.

And it doesn’t matter if there actually is a tiger, but your brain is getting the message that I’m safe. And then your heart rate begins to go down. And then all the other physiological things that are needed for sleep can happen. But when you’re in a panic attack, there’s so many things that panic moment when it automatically kicks on, unfortunately you got to get it off. There’s no quick fix for it. And so a lot of that training happens in the waking hours and learning those. I’m learning too. What you personally need to self-soothe, which might be different than someone else. One thing’s going to work for someone. One thing may not work for another one. Putting your legs up the wall in the middle of the night, it’s highly effective.

It is another nervous system thing. You can put a pillow on your forehead. Try to again, give you that vagus nerve activation that things are okay. Or you can put your forehead face down in a pillow personally, that does not work for me. I don’t love that. And I know a lot of people who breathing techniques May not work for them. And I’ve had some that I can’t do anymore because it immediately activates a different response and that’s okay. That’s just how your brain works. So you do have to try a lot of different things and, it is a very individual thing. I am not a fan. I listened to a podcast the other day, someone that’s very well known and was interviewing a, neuroscientist who’s very well known for sleep. And there are two men talking about sleep as if it’s a formula. If you turn the temperature down to 66.7 degrees and you use blackout curtains and no blue lights and no phone after 6:35 PM. And then do this isn’t, this don’t eat after this time, then great it’s sleep.
And you can train yourself to maximize the amount of time you’re in Delta so that you can get the most benefit and most healing time so that you can sleep less and wake up earlier and be more productive. And I was just like, wow, what a aggressive way to sleep. Instead of recognizing that everyone’s sleep process is going to be different and it changes throughout your life and there’ll be the same common threads.
Like I’ve got a son who is a morning person. My daughter is not. Those two aren’t going to change that common thread. Their rhythms may change, but that will be common and that changes throughout life. But your personal recipe is going to be a lot different and implying that there’s one way to fix it he really does a disservice to a lot of folks. Yeah, I think a lot of the things you’re doing during the day really help address the nervous system and help build those neural pathways so that when you do them at night, they really can help lower some of that activation response.

LINDSEY: Yeah. So for me, I am a natural crunchy hippy health freak, into all the herbs and essential oils and, Reiki and all the things. And, during both of my experiences, in the last couple of years with insomnia, before I went on medication and then coming off of medication, I did try everything. I did the cold room, the blackout curtains, the no blue light, no TV, no phone. I even had a mat that I slept on that’s called the grounding mat that’s supposed to it’s like your body’s connected to the earth. I would like low lighting, like making everyone in my house whisper after a certain time so as not to rub up my nervous system, and then like with all the sleep hygiene things didn’t work, then it was like, I started trying five HTP and GABA and valerian tincture and melatonin. And just all of these were things like, okay, clearly it’s my environment isn’t the problem. So it must be me. The problem is me. And, now I know that I know that you cannot out supplement the brain. No matter how low the lights are, no matter how little blue light you have in your life. I don’t care if you’re like sleeping in a tent in the woods for weeks. if your brain doesn’t believe that you’re safe, if your nervous system doesn’t believe that you’re safe, there’s no amount of melatonin or valerian tincture or a, I’m just going to say it, there’s no amount of weed that you can smoke. I’ve been there, I’ve done it. I tried it all. And you cannot out supplement the brain and, I don’t love the idea of taking medication. Again, I’m trying to get off of it again right now and going at a snail’s pace to do that.

But, I honestly can say that the sleep that you get on medication is not the same as the sleep but you get off of medication. And, one of the ways that I knew it was time for me to start coming off, the medication that I’m taking now is, I started having tons and tons of dreams. And I was like, Oh, it’s called RE rebound. So I was in this REM rebound, which like your brain needs REM sleep. It needs to dream. And if you’ve gone years and years without doing it, and then you do it all of a sudden, it’s your brain going? Hey, I have years and years of this to catch up on because you haven’t been in this REM state, which isn’t a deepest state of sleep.
But it’s still necessary for healing and processing and even the ways that it subconsciously heals us. And so I went through like a month and a half of just crazy dreams all night long, but I was actually excited about it. Cause I was like, this is a REM rebound! Things are happening!

REBECCA: Love yoga nidra, because that is exactly what it’s for. It’s very similar to the yoga nidra experience. Because it’s this. So very similar brainwave state and only you’re guided and facilitated by someone who can help you. so your active brain doesn’t have to be in control of the process the whole time you can do there’s different ways you can facilitate one-on-one or, very simple ways to weighed in and just keeping yourself observing aware of what’s happening.

And you don’t have to judge and evaluate, but you can just. be aware of what your body is feeling. You strike me as someone who is incredibly in tune with what you need and whether or not you consciously. Can feel like, Oh, I’m incredibly in tune with what I need. You definitely get the information from your body.
And then you’re able to either shift your course or no that no, that’s not good for me. And so your body is clearly communicating with you. We need something different. This is what we need. We need more sleep. The one thing I will say the other big, point that I make with a lot of my friends and a few of the people I’ve worked with. And actually I say it to everybody is the messages we get about sleep are toxic and we don’t even know it. And we’re ingrained in this since birth. And, as a mom, I’m sure, the first thing that happens is everyone other than feeding, how are they sleeping and getting them on a schedule? And why are these babies on a schedule? Yes, part of it is for their own growth, but really it’s so that the parents can sleep. And why do people care so much about the parents getting sleep because they want the parents to work. And so when we really peel back these layers, all of our messages about being lazy and I’ll sleep when I’m dead and sleep is for the weak.

And I’m not sleeping well, I’m a terrible sleeper. Or if I’m sleeping, I’m not making money. There’s so many of them. And if you just do a Google search for sleep, all of this stuff comes up and you realize wow, we are hostile towards sleep and this happens our entire lives. And even, you said the problem is me and your brain is listening to that and you are not the problem. Something is going on. There’s some shifting your body needs something and you will definitely be able to address it and meet it with support. But you’re not a problem. And the whole eight hour myth, we never, there was a long time in history where we there’s evidence people weren’t sleeping eight hours in one consecutive stretch.

They would go to sleep for a few hours, perhaps wake up and then go back to sleep or they would shift their schedules and, it was really the industrial revolution going to work shift work. Why are we so ingrained that you have to have eight hours of sleep and all of these studies say, that’s the healthy amount. And we get all these messages, you’re sleeping wrong. Here’s how to sleep better. It’s possible that some people are sleeping fine. And you wake up and you get more anxiety that you’re not sleeping and I’m going to be tired tomorrow. I’m going to feel like garbage. Instead of being able to wake up and say, I’m awake. I’m just awake. I’m awake because I’m awake and I’m going to lay here. And for me, it’s okay, no child is asking me for something right now. I don’t have emails to answer. I don’t have, someone that needs fed. I can just lay here and enjoy the comfort and coziness of my bed and be mindful practice the awareness of the environment around me.

What I can hear, what I can take in being aware of two sensations at the same time and scanning my body and the reason that we do all of this is not just to be, woo woo in our brains, but to learn to embody and stay with physical sensations. So that even if we’re feeling a physical sensation, that feels overwhelming, we can make a choice. Oh, I want to back off of this and maybe do this later. Or that’s an interesting sensation. I’m going to stay with it. And you learn to trust your body that way. Again, that was part of my journey that was so healing to completely reembody myself and it took years. But to use this, to learn that it’s safe to be in my body. I can trust my body that these pings, these messages that I’m getting this isn’t like me just thinking too much. This is my intuition. This is my body telling me things. And, learning I don’t have to hustle all the time. It’s okay to learn to rest. And in those moments is when I can feel what it feels like to be a human in a body.
And it sounds esoteric and bizarre until you realize. Wow. I’m really critical about the way I judge myself. I judge my sleep. I score my sleep. We put trackers on so that we can analyze every aspect of our sleep and it actually makes people’s sleep worse. And I’ve had several people say to me that they’ve gotten rid of their trackers since the pandemic they’ve shifted their sleep schedule in the problem they say, what if the problem isn’t my sleep but my work schedule? If for teenagers, what, if the problem isn’t their sleep, but that we asked them to go to school at an hour that is like waking their brain out of their deepest sleep. Yeah. So there’s so many things that when you begin to peel back these layers, then you can begin to work on those and there’s practices you can do that help with your sleep. But the first thing you gotta do is be able to address the biology, address your nervous system, address your breathing and convince your body it’s safe.

LINDSEY: Yeah. And I can attest to, even coming off of medication, I believe that the reason I’m sleeping better is not because of medication. I believe it’s because during the time that I took the medication, I calmed myself down more during the day. So I don’t regret taking the medication at all. I’m thankful that I had it. I’m also thankful that I know how to listen to my body. And, I knew when it was time to start weaning off of these meds, like I knew I wasn’t planning on it. I didn’t have a date circled on my calendar that said, Oh, after five months of taking these things, I’m going to start going off. It was like listening to my body and the way that my body told me was on the full moon. In September, September 1st, I think that I woke up that night and I was literally like vibrating on the inside. And I checked my bed and I checked the floor. Like I thought maybe there was like something vibrating the floor and that was translating up to my bed. And I was trying to figure out where this vibrating was coming from. And then I realized, Oh, it’s me. I’m vibrating on the inside.

And I couldn’t feel it on the outside. And I asked my husband like, feel me, am I shaking? Am I vibrating? And he couldn’t feel anything. It was literally on the inside. And that’s when I realized, Oh, my body has reached tolerance to these medications and it’s telling me like, it’s time. And here I am almost two full months later and, or yeah, it has been two full it’s almost three, four months later. And I’m down two thirds of the way. I still have the vibrating at night, but now I’m not anxious about it because, and this is going to sound super woo to people and I don’t care, but, I believe that my body’s energetic frequency is going up. Like I really do think that I am literally vibing higher in the literal sense of the word.

And the reason why I’m vibing higher is because I had that time on medication to get a little bit of sleep, to get calmed down and my nervous system to start functioning in my daily life again, too, the brain fog and like to start working again, all those things that I wasn’t able to function and do, because I was so flipping tired. But I do a lot of legs up the wall, a child’s pose during the day, a lot of deep breathing. Right now it’s super cold here in Minnesota. We heat our house with the wood. So we have this really big cozy dog bed in front of our woodstove that our dogs love to lay on. I go in there and I lay down on the dog bed, like all the time I lay on the dog bed in front of the woodstove close my eyes.I breathe, I get into my body. And so it’s not just like magical things have happened in my sleep. And all of a sudden that’s why I’m sleeping better. It’s because I’m calming myself down and my nervous system down enough during the day, but it’s not as revved up at night. And so I’m sleeping better at night.

REBECCA: And I’m sure you, maybe you already know this, that shaking and trembling is also an autonomic nervous system response. It’s a way that our body can expel that excess energy because you don’t want to bring it in really crystallize that into your nervous system. You’re shaking it off. you’re getting rid of some of that excess energy. You see animals do it after they’ve been activated and you shake. It’s a good thing. You want to be expelling that energy. Maybe that’s something that resonates with you that your nervous system part of its healing is going to be some of this vibrating, just help you ground in and reset that you really are healing. Yeah, I think that’s great.

LINDSEY: Yeah. Actually I have more, I want to share about what happens whenever I’m just, I’m laying there vibrating. I’m going to share about that, but before we do that, I want to visit, you have a quote here: as women we are caregivers, breadwinners, and one’s doing it all. We are mothers, daughters, wives, sisters, friends, and colleagues, giving our all and fighting invisible battles. Often this leaves us depleted our health suffering and little time or energy left for our own care. I’m here to be the one to find that time for you, help you carve it out and give you permission to lose the guilt and enjoy sleep again. Can we talk about the epidemic of women who are literally doing it all, and even if they’re working full-time jobs during the day they’re coming home and working another full-time job, making dinner, running their kids everywhere, helping with homework, cleaning up the house like burning the midnight oil. Can we just, can we talk about that epidemic? And can we let some women off the hook here?

REBECCA: It’s it’s the, like you said, epidemic is the perfect word for it. I’m one of the poster children for it. And even now in the pandemic. The other day, I had to go into the office and do work and it was so eye-opening to me, like, how did I used to do this? I used to get up, get all these people dressed and ready and fed and all my animals and get in a car. And I have an hour long commute here in Atlanta. And then I, by the time I got to work, it was, it felt like I had worked a full-time job and. Go into the office. I have a very stressful job and then come home and undo and do all of it again for hours. It was just like, how did we do this? I have no idea. And to be honest with you, I don’t know for me, this has been such a meaningful downshift time for me, this sort of slowing down. It took me a while to get into a slower rhythm of life. But now I have to really put some thought into what I put back into what I put back onto my plate and what’s healthy for me.
But in terms of epidemic, it’s an interesting word. I, in my job, I had travel and work with a lot of partners around the country. And so I meet so many women and they’re all phenomenal. They’re all these beautiful, thoughtful, intelligent women who live wholehearted lives. Whether they’ve got a family or they’re just passionate about, their own life and caring for their parents or a sister or whatever. And they all feel awful. All right. And so many people, I have several autoimmune issues. So I live with, and that’s been a big part of my own personal healing. And because I talk about it openly, I’ve had women confide a lot in me, Hey, I think I may have this going on. And. I don’t know how familiar you are with auto-immune, but that’s an epidemic too.
And it’s so undiagnosed. There’s so many women who have these issues and, it becomes fatigue and exhaustion and pain, and no one understands why. And it’s so exhausting. And Women. I think there’s a lot of women who are trained from childhood programming. You don’t want to complain. You don’t want to say I’m tired. It’s impossible for some people where they are to say, I need a break. I need help. I’ve been there where you’re praised for working 18 hour days for the past week. And people are bragging about Oh, I’ve done this, and this. And it’s almost like a badge of honor to be exhausted. And I want to give you permission to say, I am effing tired. I need to take a break. I am unapologetic about taking time off when I need it. And I’m a single mom with no family. So I know how it feels to have to find that time and carve it out of your schedule. And maybe it’s just 10 minutes, but one of the things about yoga nidra I love is that you can do 20, 30 minutes.
And from your recuperative brain perspective, it has the same effect as a two to three hour nap. Yeah, because you’re manually getting out of that high activated brainwave state and shifting down. And from there, you are immediately receptive to the recuperative rest, restore, digest, all of those. And so it doesn’t take long. There are ways to work it into your schedule, but like we said earlier, it’s about creating a life where you work rest in throughout the day and you create more opportunities and moments to downshift. Cultivate rest is my website that will eventually be live because that’s, my intent for women is to really find a lifestyle where we’re cultivating rest.

yeah, that’s, it is epidemic and I’ve some of my, clients have come to me and saying, I really want to work with you, but I’m working two jobs or I’m taking care of my mother at home and I’m doing this. And so I just don’t think I have time. I’m going to make you put that time on the calendar. We can make an appointment on this time and that’s your time. And I will stand at the door, be your bouncer. I will, I will turn off your phone for you. I will give you the excuse to say. Just like you would with therapy, just like you would with a doctor’s appointment. I need to take this time for me to either find out what’s going on with my sleep or manually downshift my nervous system and do a meditative relaxation practice that I can learn.

And then you can go and weave your own rest practices into your life. And more, you have more tools, you have more resources. And once people begin to, I think, peel back the layers, there’s so many other limiting beliefs that if we talk to ourselves, the way we do about eating the way we do about sleep, people would say, okay, you might have an unhealthy relationship with food, but it’s acceptable to do this with sleep and rest. And other aspects of nurturing ourselves when you’re sick. In my line of work, a lot of men, a lot of older men, they come to work when they’re sick. That’s almost a badge of honor. They definitely don’t take time to nurture themselves to rest. So it’s been a big shift for them to stay at home. So we’re having these conversations so that yeah, you can hustle and you can make time for that intentionally, but also be very intentional about carving out your own time for rest.

LINDSEY: Absolutely. This is actually something I was talking with my husband about last night is, we have a collective trauma that has been created by capitalism and the patriarchy that expects women to be able to output the same amount of productivity every single day, no matter what. Like if they show up for work, they’re supposed to put out the same productivity in that eight hour block as they are the day before. And the day before that, the day before that. And, capitalism and patriarchy do not acknowledge how women, fluctuate in cycles and a man’s hormone cycle is 24 hour cycle. So the capitalist patriarchal model works really well for men. But women’s bodies are not like that. And move bodies like we’re on a 28 to 35 day cycle, right?

And our cycles are influenced by the moon and weather. And our productivity is influenced by our hormones and we sleep better at certain times of our cycle and we sleep worse during certain times. And this doesn’t change once a woman hits menopause necessarily. Like even a menopausal woman’s body it’s still in cycles, even if that would be me, right? Like we see our bodies don’t forget that just because we’re not bleeding. Even if we’ve had a hysterectomy, our bodies still do not forget that because without a uterus, even, or even after going through menopause, your brain, your nervous system is still the same nervous system. Whether you have dope, I’m putting that out there to anybody listening to the podcast. If somebody that I can interview about the trauma of capitalism and, or the patriarchy, especially in that, the toll that inflicts on women’s bodies, but the toll that it also inflicts is like we were talking about before I hit record on the podcast is being nurturing to oneself is a very feminine characteristic. It’s very divinely feminine. And when we say divine, feminine, divine masculine, we’re not talking about gender roles. this is not like males are masculine and females are feminine and that’s not what it is. Everyone has the divine masculine and the divine feminine within them.

But colonialism, capitalism and patriarchy. It’s a very overtly masculine, toxic masculine system. And it’s all about work and productivity and output. And your worth is measured by your productivity. And it’s measured by like how much you can get ahead. And then, like you were saying, people bragging Oh, I can do all this on three hours of sleep like a badge of honor, congratulate, fucking relations, let me know in five years how that’s working for you, if you’re still trying to sustain that.

REBECCA: Yeah. And it’s like the podcasts that I was listening to, it was almost like they were bragging about being more productive during their sleep to maximize their sleep, to be more productive during the day, without any realization about sleep as a very receptive, nurturing biologic response. We don’t have to do anything to fall asleep. We don’t have to maximize, there’s nothing to do. We can receive this, it’s nurturing and it’s, it feels almost a little violent that we are so obsessed with maximizing our productivity and the bar is not set the same for everybody.

Yes, w it reminds me a lot of Kate Northrup’s book do less and matching your cycles to the energy that you naturally embody during different times of the month. And trust me I have two sleep predicaments that I am very honest with people that I cannot help you with. One is babies and the other is, perimenopause, which I was shocked to find out happens much earlier than you think, and goes for much longer and waking up with night sweats is something going back to biology. You’re not going to beat it. You got to go with that flow and it’s, it at first it’s frustrating. Like how can I stop waking up with hot flashes until you sink into it I’m not going to, I know what’s going on now. I can roll with it. And now, there’s so much more room for acceptance and expansion and ease when you stop labeling and judging our sleep experience and simply allow it to happen and it’s okay to just lay there and rest. And people the first time they hear that, they’re like, you’re right. It’s okay to just lay there and rest. Now it can be very confrontational. You’re in a dark room. You’re by yourself. You’ve got your thoughts. That’s not easy. So that’s where our practices come into play. But once you lean into that a bit, it’s okay to just do that. You will still receive some restorative benefits from just resting.

LINDSEY: Absolutely. Yeah. So I don’t want to exclude men here, but we are primarily talking about women because rates of anxiety are higher and women rates of insomnia are higher in women. That’s not something that I’m making up for the purposes of the podcast just is, but we’re not excluding men here too. Like this applies to everyone, your nervous system is what regulates your sleep or lack of sleep. So everybody needs to calm the fuck down in their nervous systems. But we wake up and when we can’t fall back to sleep, we start having thoughts and we’re assigning meaning to why can’t I sleep? How do I fix this? What can I take to make myself sleep? How is this going to impact my day tomorrow? So then we start like projecting into the future about our sleep. And so for people whose minds are just like going and going, how do you help them get out of that or stop that cycle?

REBECCA: So I work with visualization at that point, your brain is like a pet you might have, or a child, or I actually have, characters I’ve visualize for my different, expressions of my ego. So I’ve got my personal assistant that I visualize. I’ve got, my health person, I see all these different ones and it helps me just to assign a cute character or cute cartoon to them. But you can literally see your ego as almost like a small child. It is bored. And all of a sudden it says, Oh, I can help. I’m going to tell you how to do this. Oh, we’re going to think about this is why you’re staying awake because you have anxiety. Your anxiety is why you can’t sleep. Your anxiety is bad. Now you’re going to have a heart attack. Now you’re going to die. Do you have your will done? in your brain just will keep going.

Or, my personal assistant loves to try to help at 2:00 AM. But if you can give them a different job, and this is where again, the yoga nidra, the mindfulness, the body scan, the breathing techniques. They don’t need very much to do, but gently let them know that 2:00 AM is not a productive time to have these. You can come back to these thoughts. We’re going to give you something else to latch on and follow on while we do this breathing technique. And if we focus on just the sensation of breathing in our nose and into our belly, then your brain has enough to Oh, okay. I’ll pay attention to that.

And you’re turning on different responses in your body before you know it, you can fall asleep. So it doesn’t always work. Sometimes it takes a while. But you know what, then it takes a while you will eventually go back to sleep. You may just need to give that brain something to do. And it can be for people who are going through grief or a really intense time, and their anxiety is really speaking up. If sometimes they are telling you something that’s really important and it’s really up to you too. Observe the information coming in. Is that something I want and have the capacity to deal with right now? Or is that something I want and have the capacity to deal with later? I’ve had moments those nights when I’m like, you know what. I want to deal with this now. I’m going to go change scenery. I’m going to go downstairs. I’m a big advocate of getting out of the bed if you’re going to do this. So you’re not creating a neural pathway in a response that automatically creates an insomnia loop in your bed. I go somewhere else, I go downstairs. I play it out a little bit. And then my brain has had enough to chew on and it’s okay, I’m tired of done. So it’s a mix of knowing that. But when you start to understand that your brain is trying to help. It’s doing its job. We vilify the ego too. It’s there to protect us. It thinks it’s helping. So what can we do to give it enough to be helpful in that moment and turn our brain, allow our biology to kick on for us?

LINDSEY: Yeah. That’s really helpful.. Really helpful. So in the DM that you sent me, you said sleep happens when two basic things are met, we are tired and we feel safe. So I think that there are a lot of people and I found myself in this group at one point where, because I was so unaware of the hidden programming that trauma had created in my body. The whole not feeling safe was a concept that I didn’t understand because it was like, but I am safe. My life is great. I have a supportive partner. I have a lovely place to live. My kids are healthy. I have a roof over my head. I have plenty of food to eat. My bills are paid. I have a job that I love.
I work from home. I’m my own boss. Everything is fucking fine. And my brain still wasn’t sleeping. Or not getting the message that it felt safe so that it could sleep. Maybe I’m throwing every possible scenario at you here, but that is literally my scenario. And for me, it was actually really traumatizing to not sleep. And I’m really glad that you pointed out the ways that we judge ourselves and we rate our sleep and we compare our sleep and we, we wear monitors and Fitbits and aura rings and all that, which I don’t, I, I don’t want, I don’t need my body being electronically monitored in the middle of the night. You do other people can do them. It was because I had attached the meaning to not sleeping. This is making anxiety worse. This is, like this is never going to end. This is impairing how I’m going to function tomorrow. What if this doesn’t stop? What if this is like this in a month? What if it’s worse? So it’s like, what if like playing out every possible scenario? and I like for a little while, had a bit of a PTSD response to actually going to bed because I had so many bad experiences in bed that it was like retraumatizing me every time I went to bed, because I knew this whole scenario was going to play out again. I’m going to wake up at 1:00 AM. I’m going to be in the middle of a panic attack. My heart’s going to be racing. I’m not going to fall back to sleep. So again, projecting into the future. Is that something that like when all the outside things are fine, right? People just don’t feel safe inside their own bodies. Is that common?

REBECCA: I deeply relate to that because I’ve had that experience, probably my whole life and part of my personal journey. I was not safe in the world and my nervous system. I knew it and my body knew so much more than my brain knew. My father passed away. He died when I was three and I spent 25 to 30 years pretending like that was not a problem for me, mostly so that I could not have to interact with other people about it. So I think part of my ability to sleep was actually a coping mechanism for me to make myself feel safe in a world that fundamentally did not feel safe for me. And that’s been something that’s been part of my life’s work, but then later I was not safe. So I was having to try to convince myself that I was safe. But I think, and I don’t know that this is the case for you, but I know for me, and for many people I talk to, it’s interesting to consider is your brain trying to tell your nervous system safe, or should we be listening to our nervous system that we’re not safe?

And for me, a lot of it was that moment when I knew my body knew the deal and I was determined to not listen to it. I did not want to hear that I wasn’t safe. I did not want to deal with pain as it was presented. I did not want to say I have a, I have, I still have problems saying it that I have auto immune disease. There’s so many issues where our brain doesn’t want to receive the messages from our body because we don’t want to be quote unquote, sick. We don’t want something to be wrong. We want to be healthy. We want to be Vital and we want to feel good. So for me, it was a lot about, okay, I don’t need to tell my body I’m safe.

I don’t need to try to make it feel safe. I need to listen to what it’s telling me. I need to understand, what is going on. When I tried to be goal oriented, as it pertains to health, I get into big trouble because really what I’m doing is a lot of avoidance of what’s really going on. So I had to sink into that and that’s when I realized like, Oh, my body does know what it needs. That being said I so now that I know what I know, I’m a huge fan of things like breathing and a lot of the nervous system techniques, because guess what? You don’t need to have a debate with your brain about it. You can just do them and whether or not you are safe, your brain will believe it. So it’s really nice to be able to take the brain, which we know is not a good arbiter of a lot of things. Your ego wants to keep you doing what you’ve always been doing. And if you’re not sleeping, that it wants to continue to try to help you figure that out, as opposed to just let’s shut that response off, I’m going to bypass you.

I’m still going to consider it, but I’m going to go from the ground up and then we can deal with the stuff on the top floor later. If that makes sense. it’s really, I think helpful for, it was helpful for me because, we say trauma lives in the body and that didn’t mean I have PTSD and I had memory loss. And for me, I thought that my path to healing meant that I go from the top down that with my brain, I talked through all of these things and then I’ll remember them and that’s how I’ll heal. It turned out I don’t need to re-traumatize myself like that. I can go from the ground up. My body is presenting pain.

My body is presenting things like shaking. My body is presenting fatigue and headaches and nausea. What if I go into that and then I can do some things I know feel nurturing, and that is like a signal from my body. I can follow that path from the ground up. And then all of a sudden I have so many more resources and tools and my capacity to really understand my healing is just expanded as opposed to doing things that just felt like I was on the wrong path. So I think that’s a long-winded way to say to you specifically, I think you are really in tune with your body and you don’t need to so much tell your body you’re safe as really learned to drop in. And that’s where some of the mindfulness comes into play and yoga nidra being able to sit with your body and just even observe what it’s telling you.

That’s a huge step for a lot of us. And learning that you are safe and it that’s where it can be helpful to have people trained in these modalities who have walked this path, who understand how to guide you in a way that’s not going to freak you out. That’s going to keep you grounded and connected, and be healing to your nervous system, not activating and not when you come from a trauma informed background, that’s where you get into things like maybe recommending blackout light blackout curtains is not good for you. Maybe recommending certain things for someone who’s coming from a trauma experience is going to activate them even more. That’s where you get into those types of things, where having a partner or a mentor, a teacher, a trained therapist, a yoga teacher, someone who knows. I personally, I had an entire team of mentors, healers doctors, functional medicine folks. All of it and blending all of that guidance of wisdom and then trusting my own intuition to apply it in my life was really, that was the magic ticket.

LINDSEY: Nice. Yeah. it keeps coming up in all. I think almost all the episodes that I’ve done, where I’ve interviewed people, it comes up over and over again that we can’t think our way out of trauma. We can’t think our way into sleep or out of insomnia. We can’t think our way out of anxiety. We can’t mantra our way out, like laying in bed and going, I can sleep. I get the most peaceful, deep sleep of anyone in the whole world. I sleep itself. Like it’s not going to work. And I interviewed Andrew Kerbs who’s a psychotherapist in episode eight . And we talked about that. That’s a lot of the downfalls of cognitive behavioral therapy is that it, it has a sort of like top down approach. And it just keeps you even more in your head and you’re like, you’re almost like, multiple personalities in there. Cause you’ve got like traumatize, you that’s like thinking, and then you have CBT you who’s like trying to calm, traumatize you down. And then you have the other you over here, who’s just I’m tired and hungry and I need a nap, so you have all these voices going on inside your head. And then also with Megan Buer, in episode seven, we talked about how so many of us are just like heads walking around with no bodies because we’re so disconnected because we’re always in our heads. what are some concrete examples for people who find themselves laying awake in the middle of the night thinking, not being able to turn those thoughts off, like obviously yoga nidra, but I want you to be really specific about yoga nidra. Can you lead me through some breath work that is calming like right now that maybe someone who’s listening, they could follow along with that. Can you help us give us practical examples right now for getting out of our heads and getting into our bodies?

REBECCA: Yes, definitely. And my disclaimer for all of this is that when you try one of these out, if it’s not feeling good and soothing to you. Don’t do it. Don’t do it just because I recommend it. Take what works for you and then disregard the rest because everyone’s nervous system is different and what feels good to you might not work for someone else. So again, first thing we do in the middle of the night, you wake up, you can’t sleep. You’re going to check bio. Do I need to go to the bathroom? Am I freezing? Am I hot? Can I take off a layer? My thirsty? Is that something I want to respond to? If that all checks out then, and I will add for women, especially if it’s been a minute, since you’ve gone to the doctor, it’s always a good idea because you would be surprised how many things thyroid, like we said, hormones pop up with women and we don’t realize it, and those can all affect your sleep.

So bio is the first, once you’ve addressed that level, multiple routes to go here. So the first one I can give you is super simple. This is probably going to be for someone who this is all new and you’re like, don’t make me put my legs up the wall. I don’t know what you’re talking about. I don’t know, yoga nidra. That sounds weird. So very simply for someone who’s I need to shut my brain off engaging your physical body in the bed. So some people call this a body scan. It can be called meditation, mindfulness, whatever you want to call it, just lay there and lay there in a way that feels comfortable to you and begin to notice your breathing.

And as you breathe. Don’t feel like you have to change your breathing. Don’t feel like you have to do any breathing gymnastics. You just going to notice it and notice the physical sensations, the feeling, the sensory sensation of breathing in and where in your nose into your belly. And notice if it’s cool or hot use all five of these senses and you can start at the top of your head and work your way down. And this to me is the fastest for most people and most accessible to really direct your attention, almost like your mind’s eye, your awareness to your scalp, and just notice how it feels and taking inventory of any spots that may be tense or holding energy or even pain. And relaxing softening and smoothing the wrinkles of your forehead and your temples and allowing your jaw to unhinge just a bit and freeing the jaw, releasing the tongue and not trying to put it any place specifically, but just letting it relax, feeling your cheeks, allowing them to relax.

Allowing your eyes to soften, feeling the sensation of your head being held on a pillow and allowing your body to be heavy, allowing the bed to feel almost as if it’s pushing you up, holding you up, knowing that as you lay there, gravity is doing the work for you. So seeing if there’s any areas of your body, where you can release the work just little more and allow yourself to be held in supported, maybe that allows your arms to get a little heavier. Maybe your hands open up feeling, sensation in your Palm and your rib cage as it rises and expands. Allowing your hips to get very heavy, your legs to relax, maybe your feet roll open, or to the side one way, and just allowing them to flop, feeling your toes. Maybe they tingle just allowing them to feel soft.
Then imagining what it feels like to experience your entire body, feeling your entire face, head, trunk, arms, and legs, feeling the sensation of your entire body laying on the bed. And then expanding the awareness a bit to incorporate your five senses to the temperature of the room and how that feels, where you feel that sensation of temperature, noticing any sounds that might be in the room, any smells or aromas. Just allowing whatever comes up to be there in your awareness, we don’t have to decide or analyze just allowing it to be, and then using your experience to hold the sensation of hearing. And then shifting to the sensation inside your body, and you can continue like this on and on. I’m just scanning the body and in the environment and then bringing the two together. And even if you don’t fall asleep, just allowing that experience is beautiful and nourishing for your nervous system.

LINDSEY: Yeah. I was doing that along with you and I would literally stop thinking about everything else. Just wonderful. I just listened to your voice and I felt myself and I wasn’t thinking about what the next question was that I was going to ask you. I wasn’t thinking about anything else. And I wasn’t even laying down. I’m just sitting in a chair, so wonderful. Yeah, that was amazing.

REBECCA: Yeah, that’s the easiest. And for people who are a little bit more familiar with yoga or things like that, legs up the wall, you can set a timer, lay there, put something on your forehead, put your legs up your headboard or the wall, and just be there for 10 minutes. You can do breathing techniques. My favorite is alternate nostril breathing, which is, on your Loma. Aloma if pranayama and the breaths that we take in. I don’t know if you’re aware that it switches from side to side throughout the day. And breathing in through the left side is generally a more relaxed parasympathetic channel in the body.

And the right side is something that we usually are doing when we’re breathing faster with more anxiety. So really purposefully breathing in and out, balancing the hemispheres in that way, shuts off a panic response. I have done this on an airplane. And I look nuts. I haven’t done it with a mask on, so that’s a challenge, but I’ve done this in the grocery store. I used to get panic attacks from the grocery store and I would do this alternate nostril breathing, because it works very quickly. So that’s one of my favorites. So I’ll do that and lay in bed and do that. if I need to, did just. Give the brain something else. And it’s funny. Cause just when your brain is this isn’t going to work. This isn’t gonna work and you push through and then you’re like, Oh, this feels great. And even if this is the kicker, if even if you don’t sleep doing these things is really a beautiful way to practice self-care.

LINDSEY: Absolutely. And that’s exactly what I started doing. I started just, realizing that laying there panicking, laying there, thinking about it, laying there, freaking out was it serving a purpose for me other than to keep me charged up dysregulated, feeding the monster, feeding the anxiety, feeding more insomnia. So that’s exactly what I started doing. I started laying there and it was like, you know what, if I’m going to be awake, then I’m going to be awake and I’m going to, I’m going to do what I want to do. I’m going to rest. and I do have a rule with myself. Like I don’t pick up my phone middle of the night because like you said earlier, I don’t want to trigger that neuro response and make that a habit where when my brain wakes up, it’s like, Oh, it wants stimulation. It wants me to look at something and wants me to distract myself. So my phone is off limits. Like it stays on the nightstand in airplane mode. And I don’t touch it and I just, I lay there in my body and I do breathe. Or sometimes I, Like for me, I actually don’t start at the top of my head. I actually start in my legs and I start releasing tension in my legs, and just like feeling where I’m actually like laying there tense without knowing it, And so I have to like consciously. And when you’re consciously releasing muscles in your body, it’s very difficult to think about anything else. Because that’s keeping your brain pretty occupied. And like you said, your brain doesn’t need much. Like it just needs a job to do and giving it that job is way better than giving it the job of trying to diagnose what if you’re still not sleeping a month from now, because that’s literally something that you and your brain don’t have any control over.

REBECCA: Exactly.

LINDSEY: So can you, you do take clients. Am I right? And can you tell people. How could they work with you and how can they find you?

REBECCA: So right now I’m on Instagram, sharing my, sleep queen notes, and I will begin taking clients in January and my website will be up for booking and all of that. I offer yoga nidra classes on zoom that people can sign up for. They’re usually free or pay what you can or donation-based. I do those at least once or twice a month. I do meditation, that’s free again, space to gather and just chill and then the one-on-one work and some of the workshops, there’ll be posted as well on Instagram.

LINDSEY: Awesome. We’ll link to your Instagram and linked to everywhere that people can sign up for the yoga nidra on zoom and the meditations. That all sounds amazing. This has been fantastic. I have loved every minute of this conversation and you’re so easy to talk to you and just so full of information. And I love that you have that balance of the Wu and the science and it being practical. That’s such a great like balance to find, cause we are all busy, but like we all also have to sleep and we also have like spiritual lives that we need to nurture and take care of. And. To me, like that’s the holistic trauma healing part is like taking into account that there might not actually be a scientific study to prove some of this stuff, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t work.

REBECCA: Yes, definitely. It was great talking to you too. And I really hope that some of this helps you with your sleep and that it continues to improve. and it was great learning so much more from you. Absolutely.

LINDSEY: All right. Wasn’t that awesome. Who knew we could talk about capitalism, the patriarchy and sleep all on the same podcast episode. I truly hope that you have found something that is useful for you in your own journey. If sleep has been an issue, as I know it is for many of us who have experienced trauma. Sleep is often the first thing to go. And it’s really, really frustrating, but I feel so helpful with just what I’ve experienced in my own life and the healing that I’ve experienced by working on my nervous system, regulating it, calming it down, and seeing how that translates into truly sleeping better. And so I know if it’s possible for me, who has someone who has really struggled with insomnia off and on for the last 10 years, then I know it’s possible for you. So I will have all of the links to Rebecca and how you can work with her, where you can find her on her website at cultivaterest.com. the  classes that she does with yoga nidra and meditation on zoom that are free or by donation and everything else that we talked about in this episode, you can find in the show notes. Show notes are at lindseylockett.com/Podcast. And this is episode 18. And as always you can find me on instagram @ iamlindseylockett