As a dance/movement therapist, we routinely look at preferences and patterns for how one “moves through their day” (and life!).


We look at emotional, relational, intellectual, and physical patterns. If you are experiencing particular challenge(s) or change(s) in your life, creative arts therapy helps you to look at those preferred patterns, gaining a bigger perspective and then begin to make more conscious choices with regards to ways you move/feel/think/experience those challenges and life in general.  This is done within a trusting therapeutic relationship which becomes a safe container for creating shifts in consciousness.


Lately, I’ve been interested in patterns we have with regards to sleeping and waking; as evidenced by the last two blog posts (links are provided below) I’ve also been reading a lot about the importance of sleep and the impact a good night sleep has on our overall health-cognitive, emotional, behavioral, as well as physical.  Last post I wrote about the importance of morning routines or positive rituals for beginning your day.  Beyond good sleep hygiene and morning routines, there are individual differences in how people fall asleep and wake. For example,  Some people are sound asleep within minutes; others need to set aside time to unwind before sleep.  With regard to waking up, Some individuals prefer to get up fast, make the bed straight away, and get going quickly.  They may lose steam throughout the day.  Others begin their days moving very slowly, and gradually accelerate as the day goes on.  There are all sorts of variations.


As dance therapists, when looking at the ways that an individual makes an impact on their environment, we look specifically at   “Effort Qualities”; or ways that people approach space, weight, and time.


Contending with “Time”


Let’s look again at the concept of contending with “time”.  A morning meeting convenes.  Some of us procrastinate, wait until the last minute and then move quickly, sometimes speeding through traffic to reach our destination. There are those that demonstrate preferences to arrive early, some right around the designated time, and others who typically arrive 5 to 10 minutes late. Now, before we all start to question this and look at those circumstances that can’t be avoided outside our control; i.e. traffic jams, a sick child, car problem, etc.., this example of time preferences has to do with just that..typical preferences. There are all sorts of combinations of patterns as well.  Perhaps you are always late to one particular meeting, but arrive early to others.



Patterns/preferences related to waking up in the morning


So now, let’s look at patterns/preferences related to waking up each morning.  Do you wake up on your own, predictably without the alarm clock?  Do you respond to the alarm clock quickly or do you repeatedly push the snooze button. ( I always think this makes waking more “alarming” and annoying, not only for you but for anyone else that has to listen to this routine, it doesn’t stop me from doing it.)  Some people need two or three alarms before they get up. There are some of us who seem to balance their energy throughout the day.  Many times I hear about a 3:00 or 3:30 energy dip; and it’s no coincidence that many warmer climates take afternoon seistas.  There are all sorts of combinations of patterns.  And there are no real “right”s or “wrong”s.  Each type of preference has its positive qualities and negative qualities.


None of these preferences for bedtime and waking routines are inherently “wrong”.


However, sometimes your typical way of behaving may be stressing you out or you and your partner may have different sleep patterns.  Sometimes your behaviors may even by contributing to low self worth.  For example, if you are continually berating yourself for running late, or nodding off  toward the end of the work day, you might want to think about making a shift in your routine.When you start to become curious about the use of space, weight, and time, you can start to see if your own preferences are working for you.  Being curious and nonjudgmental about your patterns is a key condition for making shifts in thoughts, feelings, and behaviors.

Detective Sherlock Holmes kit on dark background

Create Your Health by becoming aware of your patterns related to sleeping and waking.


Morning Routines

Night Owl or Early Bird?



Christine Matteson, BC-DMT, LCAT, LMHC  is a licensed psychotherapist in private practice with over 20 years of experience. She specializes in treating anxiety, depression, eating disorders, and issues related to grief/loss and managing stress. Looking to schedule a session?