My friend Lani Muelrath first introduced me to EFT tapping in early October 2001. It’s only been in the last 4 years or so that I’ve incorporated it as a “plus” for sleep. Lani had traveled from California to teach a wellness retreat at Wainwright House, just 35 minutes outside of New York City.
The women at the retreat definitely had the willpower to get healthier. We also easily shared our successful strategies for incorporating healthy habits into our lives. Our biggest obstacle? It was clearing the trauma from just three weeks ago, on September 11th. We could still see the plume from the World Trade Towers from Milton Point near Wainwright House. There may have even been a hint of the acrid smell of the devastation that was more real than imagined.
One of the attendees knew EFT (short for Emotional Freedom Technique) tapping and taught it to us. This was before tapping got more mainstream. It was before Nick Ortner’s Tapping Solution work.
At the time, the go-to site for tapping was Gary Craig’s Emofree.com. EFT had been an effective treatment for healing combat veterans of the effects of Post-Traumatic Stress, including tapping for sleep. Tapping has since grown exponentially in popularity. An outline of its history can be found here.
Tapping has helped me as a parent. It’s been helpful for a range of issues like getting my daughter to overcome a fear of spiders so she could enjoy summer camp, to those days when no amount of coffee or cute #momstuff wine memes could get me to move forward. I rank tapping as one of the most successful wellness practices. It’s right up there with meditation, eating for nutrient density (a practice I learned from Lani!), sleep, and movement.
Here’s tapping in a nutshell: Rather than avoid issues and concerns, they’re observed and even embraced. Claire P. Hayes, whose tapping podcast is chock-a-block with good ideas, encourages us to be a “gentle detective”. Then as you make statements about your anxieties or concerns, you simultaneously use your fingers to tap on the energy meridians in the body. More background and resources for exactly where to tap and what to say can be found on the EmoFree site here and at Advancing EFT International. Or just subscribe to Claire Hayes’ Tap into Your Power podcast.
Now – specifically about EFT Tapping for sleep….
Adults tell me that the most common problem when it comes to getting to sleep is what EFT/tapping expert Georgina Noel describes as “busy brain syndrome”. You know what we’re talking about – we’ve all experienced it. We haven’t cleared enough space in our day for a peaceful, intentional bedtime ritual that helps us transition to sleep. Or we wake up in the middle of the night after just one or two of our 90 minute REM (rapid eye movement) cycles and can’t get back to sleep because our thoughts are on spin cycle.
To be clear, people do not go to Georgina Noel primarily for sleep issues. Emotional eating and weight loss are one of Georgina’s fields of expertise and she offers a free three-day tapping challenge for that at this link.
Georgina has discovered, however, that sleeping well is a happy side effect of the work she does with her clients. After a few days of consistent tapping, her clients experience better sleep. In fact, some didn’t realize their sleep was not optimal until after practicing EFT and getting solid sleep.
Why does tapping work?
“The reason it works is when you’re tapping on the points, a physical reaction happens in the body – it lowers your cortisol levels. That means you have less stress hormones; you’re more relaxed. Tapping targets our biochemistry and physical responses as well as our emotional, and psychological wellbeing.“
Georgina Noel EFT expert
In a nutshell: Tapping reduces cortisol levels. High cortisol accompanies stress and – you guessed it – sleep. There are studies that back that up. Here’s one of them.
How to use EFT Tapping for sleep.
“As part of a bedtime routine, at the end of the day what I recommend for people is to scan through the day. Anything that pops up and triggers you in any way – even if you feel you’ve ‘dealt with it’ – the event can still trigger physical and emotional responses which in turn trigger stress hormone production in the body. Tap through the EFT points and breathe until you don’t have any emotional response.”
What about waking up in the middle of the night?
Worrying about sleep will keep you awake. But it seems inescapable. We’ve all experienced those nights when the cycle seems endless. What experts suggest is to get out of bed and do your worrying somewhere else. You don’t want to associate negative thoughts with the one place you sleep.
Besides reading, or fixing a cup of soothing, non-caffeinated tea, EFT tapping is an ideal activity to do when you can’t get back to sleep. Simply breathe and tap – you don’t have to know what you’re tapping for, you can simply breathe and tap. If tapping gets you stirred up and adds to your worries, imagine you’re tapping through visualization or a sense memory of how it feels.
Children, sleep, and EFT Tapping
I’ve had first-hand experience of children being resistant to tapping. But Georgina has a delightful solution. Process the day at bedtime with a favorite stuffed animal. Ask the child “How was Teddy Bear’s day today?” Children get so chatty and expressive when they’re talking about their favorite lovey! To reinforce the tapping points, put stickers on the toy. You’ll be helping your child sleep and empowering them with a wellness tool.
And don’t forget that healthy daytime routines set you up for sleep. Get the free Bedtime Blueprint which has all the information you need to plan your family’s active days for restful sleep.