Monday, December 18, 2006

Can you have a synapse while you're sleeping?

Oh, yes. While science continues to explore many mysteries of the brain during sleep, it is accepted that we have synaptic activity of varying rates all through our sleep cycle. Dreams are vivid evidence of this activity.

A panoply of studies have furthered other theories about brain activity during sleep. For example, loss of synaptic activity (or reduction) may be a cause of snoring, and might explain how a person who snores loudly is not awakened by the noise -- while his or her bed partner stares at the ceiling contemplating a gentle homicide.

Here's a trick I learned from a jin shin jyutsu practitioner. (Jin shin jyutsu is a kind of energetic bodywork.) When you wake in the night or have trouble falling asleep, "hold fingers." This is very simple to do and I have found it calming, usually to the point of being able to fall into a deep sleep. Hold your thumb, encircling it lightly with your other hand. Either hand will do. Breathe normally for five breaths before moving on to the index finger. My practitioner would smile and tell me, "Enjoy being awake! It's an opportunity to hold fingers!" In the world of jin shin, holding fingers has many positive effects. Each finger is connected to a different part of the body. Go all the way through your fingers, and if you're still awake, switch hands. Freddie, who offered me jin shin for many years, explains that we are not to squeeze the fingers, but "hold them like you love them."

Enjoy your synapses!

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