Stick Your Tongue Out

Relax your tongue.

It’s not something we give a whole lot of thought to – our tongue. But, when you stop to consider its importance in your life, you’ll be quickly amazed. That’s one heck of an intelligent and active muscle you’ve got hanging out in your mouth.

Inherently linked with the brain, your tongue can be an important key to a good night’s sleep.

Like many others, I tend to live a busy life leading up to bed. It can be quite difficult to simply let it all go and drift off to sleep. Often, bedtime is the first chance I’ve had to be with my own thoughts. So, there I lay with a monkey mind ready to play, play, play.

There are many relaxation techniques and each has its merits. But, sometimes you feel you’re pulling out all the stops and nothing works. That’s why I want to share this one with you. I’ve found it works nearly every time.


It’s a remarkable relationship we have with our tongue. In fact, it’s one of our primary sources of info when we first come into the world. Watch a waking baby and it won’t be but a moment before something’s in their mouth. Anything is game. And they’re not doing that because it all tastes good. (I’m sure much of it doesn’t!) What babies are doing is learning. They’re learning with their tongues.

That’s how we began. We had to develop our oral and motor skills, learning movement of the mouth and tongue, so we could graduate our way to speech. And, all along our tongue was sending lots and lots of data to the brain.

If you want to sleep, learn to bite your tongue.

When a kid’s doing a task that requires concentration, their tongue will likely escape out the side of their mouth – suddenly clenched between their teeth as if it would otherwise run away.

Researches Gillian Forrester and Alina Rodriguez studied children doing tasks, paying specific attention to their tongues. All of the children being studied stuck their tongues out during tasks and games. It’s quite a common & normal phenomenon. They also found it was most prevalent during tasks requiring deeper thought and concentration.

Our human instincts understand it’s hard to concentrate when our tongue’s involved. The deep connection our tongue has to the brain’s language centers means it’s working on our words even if we’re just thinking them. Thinking creates tiny micro-movements in the tongue and that sends more information to the brain. When it’s time to concentrate kids naturally aim to cut off the flow of data – literally biting their tongue.

And, so we come full circle: Lying in bed unable to sleep.