How Sophrology can help young mums cope with the lack of sleep
Feeling irritable and overwhelmed shouldn’t be what a new mother experiences on a daily basis. There must be a better way.
Understandably, time is never enough and lack of sleep can make you feel tired and stressed.
If you have just given birth, your body has been through a huge physiological roller coaster and it needs time to recover. Better sleep means more energy and also a feeling of empowerment: so many women feel tired and frustrated they can’t do as much as they did before they had children.
Thankfully, help is at hand: Sophrology offers great tools to help you recuperate, de-stress and sleep better. In continental Europe doctors recommend Sophrology as an effective relaxation and self-development technique to notably help deal with pregnancy, prepare for birth, deal with anxieties and lack of sleep. Sophrology uses simple and efficient tools to access consciousness and grow inner resources through breathing, relaxation, meditation, visualisation and body awareness.
Because time is precious, what you choose to help you sleep better and feel calmer and more alert during the day needs to act fast and offer immediate relief. With regular practice, you can learn to achieve a deeply restorative state of relaxation within 5 minutes and from there work on a wide array of issues.
Achieving that deep state of relaxation is called “sophroliminal state” in Sophrology: that’s what happens when the alpha brain waves kick in to provide a sense of well-being. The sophroliminal state in itself is a great way to recuperate, rest and rebalance. This state of relaxation can make a huge difference to balance your emotions and mood swings related to hormonal changes. It is achieved with your eyes closed, sitting in a comfortable position and following the gentle voice of your Sophrologist.
As a rule, it is a good idea to start embracing a new routine during pregnancy:
- Before your baby is born, learn to have short naps
- Re-prioritise your schedule and ask for help – the cleaning can wait and if you’re feeling overwhelmed ask for more support especially with the easy tasks others can help you with
- Take 10-30 minutes each day to reconnect with yourself using Sophrology, allowing you to acknowledge and accept the changes you are going through and prepare for your future including the birth itself.
Breathing can be a powerful ally to help you get some rest, whether it’s a quick nap or a good night’s sleep. You choose when you carve 10 minutes out of your day: maybe it’s first thing in the morning, or at midday or before going to bed. The sensation of calm you gain from dynamic relaxation can work wonders for your overall health.
If you practise breathing exercises regularly not only it will help you during labour but also it can make a difference to the quality of your sleep after the birth. You can learn to use the breath to calm and focus your mind while relaxing your nervous system. It will also help you to bring a fresh supply of oxygenated blood to your brain and you will therefore feel more alert and energised.
As you grow more confident in connecting more with what you feel and listening to your needs, you also learn to pace yourself and listen to your baby needs, feeling confident that you can support him or her, reinforcing the special bond you are creating.
It would be a shame to let your disturbed pattern of sleep impact on that very special time of your life.
A short daily Sophrology practice will also help you feel happier and feel more grounded, staying in the present moment. This is a very powerful tool to help you be at ease while you are coping with the challenges of motherhood. This is a time of life when women go through so many changes, and it can be a source of anxiety and endless questioning, especially for first-time mums.
Nothing will replace going through your own experience ; accepting that is a huge step. Therefore, being able to let go of these anxieties and live more in the present, taking one day after the other is a great strategy. Although everything is changing in your body and in your life, that connection you have with yourself remains a stable ground.
Sophrology is not complicated and can bring positive changes and support from the first session as it is a practical and simple approach. Your Sophrologist will guide you through a tailored practice and record it so that you can listen to it at home and learn at your pace in between the sessions. You can start it before or during pregnancy if you need support, or wish to prepare for birth and motherhood. Sophrology can also be practised right after birth especially if you find it difficult to settle in your new life. And of course your baby is welcome for the session too ! Home visits are available in Central London. Sophrology can also be practised in groups.
A first simple Sophrology tip: the tense and release exercise.
When we experience worries or tension in the body, the first step is to acknowledge it is happening here and now.
This is the first step into letting go.
Start in a relaxed seated position. Tune into your areas of tension, inhale, activate your whole body by tensing every single muscle of your body including your face and toes. Match the tension in your body with the tension you experience inside and, as you exhale, release all muscles of your body. Stay still for a few second and notice the relaxation sensation in your muscles. Repeat 3 times at a slow pace.
About Dominique Antiglio and BeSophro
BeSophro has been created by one of the UK’s leading Sophrologists, Dominique Antiglio, who is also an Osteopath and Sound Therapist. She specialises in stress-management, birth peparation and self-development.
Based in London since 2011, Dominique is also the co-founder of The Sophrology Network to promote the practise of Sophrology in London.
She created [email protected] to offer a holistic approach to maternity care where she enjoys collaborating with other therapists.
Dominique’s professional training and experience includes:
BSc(Hons)Ost from European School of Osteopathy, Maidstone, UK (2001)
Extensive Post Graduate Osteopathic training internationaly (2002-2010), including cranio-sacral osteopathy with Dr.V.Frymann in the USA, and pregnancy specialisation.
Diploma in Caycedian Sophrology from the Académie Suisse de Sophrologie (Swiss Sophrology Academy), Switzerland (2004).
Master in Caycedian Sophrology, Sofrocay, Andorra (2006) with Professor Caycedo, the founder of Sophrology.
Holistic Voice Therapy practitioner, British Academy of Sound Therapy, UK (2013)
Osteopathy and Sophrology practice in Switzerland (2001-2011)
Sophrology Practice in Central London (2011 til today)