Saturday, 7 March 2015

Workplace Fatigue - A Sleep Technique

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n the recent post entitled Workplace Fatigue and the Martial Arts I brought out a lot of observations from my experiences as a health and safety consultant. Plenty of observations, yes…but no solutions.

Workplace fatigue takes a grinding toll on employees all over the planet – as well as on the private and public employers that they work for. At least if these employers are actually aware of the problem.

To the crusty, back-to-basics manager who yells: “Just suck it up! In my day, we didn’t whine and complain. We just worked our butts off!” I reply: “And how much waste does your particular managerial approach actually cost the company?”

Workplace fatigue leads to depression, pain, illness…in other words, absenteeism and underperformance. Plus critical mistakes. Thinking becomes either stale or desperate. Employees “go through the motions”. Portions of the project team are out of sync. People become irritable, lose focus and/or deadpan their way through to the weekend.

Here’s one of the solutions, at least in the realm of the individual employee. And it applies to folks from all walks of life. If you can’t change the workplace, you can at least boost the quality of your sleep – and hopefully be rejuiced enough to take on the next day.

It’s a post that comes out of the archives. We tested this technique in various workplaces and it gave us some very positive results…


Deep, refreshing sleep – anytime, anywhere? A sleep that leaves you totally relaxed and at the same time energized?

That sounds like magic to students who’d love to have a few hours relief from the treadmill of exams. Or to athletes who are just too “pumped” to sleep before a big event.
And then there are… folks in factories who have to constantly adjust to shift changes …pilots who fly across the different time zones…paramedics, firefighters, nurses, police officers… not to mention air traffic controllers who must remain totally focused on the  job no matter how poorly they’ve slept prior to their shift.

GV 16

Can the martial arts help? After all, martial arts literally means “war art”, skills drawn from experience in battle. Be it before battle, during a break in a battle or after a battle ended, warriors had to access sleep whenever possible.  Much like…well…paramedics, nurses, students, air traffic controllers.  They aren’t at war but they do have lives which require FOCUS and ENERGY!
Here’s an interesting point about Chinese Chi Kung. Chi Kung practitioners practise chi kung in their sleep: as they lie down, they adopt a chi kung position. They even focus on chi kung breathing while asleep.
What a luxury, to be able to access sleep with the flick of a mental switch – and to energize the body at the same time!
Here’s a basic sleep technique that has helped a lot of my students. Like everything in martial arts, this technique has to be practised repeatedly before it becomes effective.

K 6

1.    Sit at the side of the bed. Relax and close your eyes.  Inhale slowly then exhale very slowly and softly until you have no breath left. Concentrate on the sound of your breathing. Do this for a while.

2.    After the eyes and the edges of the mouth become warm and moist, sit with your back against the head board with your feet stretched out. Continue breathing in the same way.

3.    As you begin feeling drowsy, lie down on your favourite side. Lay the side of your head on the inside of your arm and curl your hand around the back of your head. Press the hollow of the neck just below the back of the skull at acupoint GV 16. Lay the side of the heel of the foot on top on acupoint K6 of the bottom leg. You'll find this point in a depression just below the ankle bone.  Continue until you fall asleep.

If sleep problems continue, see a physician. Find the cause. I’ll have lots more to say about sleep in the future. It’s an important issue.

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