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Better Sleep at Your Fingertips, Literally, with Mudras

Photo: Shutterstock

Sleep is the single most effective thing you can do for your brain and body health. Not feeling rested and energized in the morning can undercut your problem-solving, decision-making, and sadly, even your life span. 

The good news is that you can literally use your fingertips to improve your mood, your sleep, and your energy within minutes without adding complicated tools to your busy schedule. You’re already using your fingerprints to unlock your smartphone and make purchases online, so why don’t you also use your fingers to get better sleep quality?  

While working with clients over the years, I started to notice that many of them had a special interest in Mudras. Mudras are symbolic gestures using your body, hands, and/or fingers that connect to your heart, your brain, and your entire body. Hand mudras can be effective sleep tools because they are portable, simple to use, and can be done while lying in bed.

Research shows that nerve endings in the fingertips perform neural computations that are thought to occur in the brain. Inside my Sleep Simplified coaching program on the Guidely platform, I teach my clients hundreds of simple tools to get better sleep every night—including mudras to help them reduce stress, calm their minds, and relax before bed.

Today, I’m sharing three of my client’s favorite mudras with you. But before you start practicing, let’s talk about some precautions you need to take into consideration. 

Important precautions before getting started: 
  • Never use mudras as a substitute for medical treatment.
  • If you’re experiencing any health concerns or getting any health treatment, monitor any significant change, such as blood pressure.
  • Release the mudra if you experience any discomfort in your hands or fingers.
  • Some gestures may not be right for you at a particular time. Instead, try mudras with similar effects.
  • Only relaxing, calming, and soothing mudras should be practiced before bedtime.  
  • The recommended pressure for holding a mudra is similar to holding a fork, neither too loose nor too tight. 
  • The preferred contact in mudra practice is skin to skin. Yet, imagining the exercise can be as effective if for any reason you can’t touch the fingers or use your hands. 

Now, let’s get to the fun part. 

You may follow these simple instructions while lying in bed, sitting for meditation, or any other time you need some grounding. 

Hakini Mudra – Integration

Hakini is the goddess associated with the third eye, the center of inner wisdom. Hakini mudra supports overall health and healing by balancing all your chakras, enhancing body awareness, and instilling a sense of wholeness and integration. 

Recently, a client of mine, a first-time mom, reported using Hakini mudra after breastfeeding her child at 3 am and was able to fall asleep within minutes, instead of the one or two hours that it used to take her before using mudras. 

You can use this gesture to meditate before bed, either sitting on the floor or lying in bed, if you wake up at night and can’t fall back asleep or even while in an evening Zoom meeting to prepare your body for bed. 

How to practice:

Hold the hands facing each other in front of the solar plexus (right below the ribs). 

Gently touch the tips of all fingers and thumbs to the same fingers on the opposite hand.

Hold the hands open and rounded as if holding a globe. 

Relax the shoulders back and down, with the elbows held slightly away from the body.

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Hakini Mudra
Jala Mudra – Urinary and Digestive Tract

Jala mudra is the gesture of water. When you practice this mudra, fluidity, refreshment, hydration, lubrication, nourishment, and the purification qualities of water are activated. 

The subtle qualities of water-like fluidity and adaptability are essential for the health of your psycho-emotional wellbeing, allowing you to let go and flow with life more easily. 

This gesture creates a massaging effect within the pelvis and abdomen supporting the health of the reproductive and urinary systems. 

A client of mine that used to wake up around six times a night to use the restroom used this tool to fall asleep faster when waking up as well as to wake up fewer times. She now only wakes up around two or three times at night. 

How to practice:

Palms facing up, let the tips of your little finger and thumbs touch each other. 

Relax your shoulders. 

Place your hands on top of your thigh or belly and breathe naturally. 

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Jala Mudra
Adhi Mudra – Stillness

This is one of the most calming gestures, perfect to support a good night’s sleep. This was the first mudra I learned from my yoga therapist, Nasim Mani, and I still practice it before bedtime, or when I need to calm down. 

Adhi means “primordial” and refers to the stillness of our essential being.  This mudra directs breath, awareness, and energy to the base of the body, instilling a sense of support and grounding. Connecting with the stillness of our essential being. 

Precaution: As this gesture can lower blood pressure, people with low blood pressure should carefully monitor the effects. 

How to practice: 

1. Tuck the thumbs into the palms and curl the fingers loosely around the thumbs, forming soft fists with both hands.  

2. Rest the hands onto the thighs or knees, with the palms facing down. 

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Adhi Mudra
Boost the effects.

To maximize the effects of your mudra practice, consider the following: 

The effects of a mudra practice may not appear immediately. The more you practice, the easier it will be to experience the effects because your body and mind will register it as positive. 

You may practice a brief body relaxation for releasing tension before your mudra practice (a gentle yoga practice, Yoga Nidra, breathing exercises, or a hot shower are good options).

Move and warm up your hands before your mudra practice and constantly during the day.

Incorporate a mudra practice in your evening routine as a natural way to get a better night’s sleep.

The more you learn about mudras and practice them the more fascinating it all becomes. Mudras are a reminder of your innate inner healing, they are helpful physical signals to communicate with your body and promote better sleep at your fingertips, literally! 

Reference: Mudras for Healing and Transformation by Joseph Le Page & Lilian Aboim, 2013. 

About The Author
Monica Le Baron

Monica is a bilingual (EN/ES) sleep coach and a certified yoga therapist. She specializes in helping women with sleep disorders finally get a good night’s rest using her Sleep Simplified program. Monica is a resident sleep expert guide at Guidely.com, where she offers group and individual coaching. Guidely, an intelligent personal-development platform, connects people seeking healing, inspiration, and answers with experts who help transform their lives. 

Monica’s passion and practice are informed by her own journey from corporate burnout towards developing effective restorative practices. After just one session, her clients have been able to get two extra hours of restful sleep, wake up fewer times in the middle of the night, and fall asleep within minutes of their head hitting the pillow. When she’s not helping her clients get a full night’s sleep, you can find her meditating in the mountains of her hometown. She lives in Chihuahua, Mexico, with her mother and siblings. For more information and to work with Monica, visit Guidely