Sleep is one of the most important things you can do for your health. It’s also one of the most neglected aspects of our daily lives. A good night’s sleep is essential for maintaining a healthy lifestyle and is an essential part of our daily routine. But what if you’re having trouble sleeping? There are many reasons why we may have trouble getting quality sleep, but if you’re struggling to get a good night’s rest, here are some simple and effective relaxation techniques that can help.
Why Do We Need Relaxation Techniques to Fall Asleep?
It’s a common experience to have difficulty falling asleep. According to research, almost a third of adults experience chronic insomnia, a sleep disorder characterized by persistent difficulties in falling or staying asleep. If you don’t have insomnia, tossing and turning in bed after a busy day can be a familiar experience.
People with stress and anxiety are more likely to have sleep issues. The body’s natural stress response begins with a cascade of hormones that make us feel more alert and cause additional changes in our body chemistry. Our breathing becomes shallow, our heart rate and blood pressure increase, and we slow our digestion.
It can be very challenging to fall and stay asleep when our body is stressed. There is a way to turn off the stress response according to research. The relaxation response is a natural process that calms the mind, relaxes the body, and helps us drift off to sleep naturally.
Here are the 5 Effective Relaxation Techniques to Achieve Better Sleep
1. Deep Breathing
Breathing is an ancient and powerful way to clear the body of stress and tension. Deep breathing is especially effective when combined with relaxation techniques and a relaxing bedtime routine. Reducing muscle tension, slowing breathing rate and heart rate, and lowering blood pressure and metabolism are some of the changes that can be achieved by deep breathing.
A good breathing exercise can be as simple as taking a series of even, slow inhalations and exhalations as a regular practice throughout the day, or whenever you feel anxious or stressed. “4-7-8” breathing is one of the many structured breathing exercises that you can do. In a comfortable position, with your eyes closed or open, follow the steps below:
- Inhale for four seconds
- Hold your breath for seven seconds
- Exhale slowly, for eight seconds
- Repeat several times
How does the act of deep breathing help the body and mind, relax the body and mind, and promote healthy sleep? By breathing in and holding your breath, you are increasing the oxygen level in your body, and that allows your body to work less hard. The meditative quality of a long, slow exhale is inherently relaxing. The pace of breathing your body adopts as you sleep is similar to that of the slow exhale. By deep breathing before bed, you are mimicking the breathing patterns of sleep onset and nudging your body and mind toward its all-important period of rest.
Biofeedback is a collection of exercises and activities that let you collect information about the body that will alert you to stress. The sensors that track and measure different physical functions are what biofeedback works through:
- Heart rate
- Body temperature
- Muscle contraction
- Sleep stages
Important signals about stress levels are provided by physiological processes. Rapid breathing, sweaty palms, and an increase in heart rate are some of the telltale signs of anxiety. If you pay attention to the physical manifestations of stress and anxiety using biofeedback, you will be able to deal with that stress using other relaxation strategies. The business of providing biofeedback through mobile and wearable devices is booming. Wearable trackers can be used to deliver information about stress and emotion. Tracking on its own can’t relax you, but it can alert you to signs of stress so you can take focused, self-aware steps toward relaxation, whether in the middle of an active day or as you prepare for sleep.
3. Progressive Muscle Relaxation
The theory behind the concept of progressive relaxation in muscles is that it’s difficult to feel tense when the muscles relax. The workout is accomplished by relaxing 16 muscle groups one at a time. After you’ve noted all the muscles; you are able to record an audio of yourself speaking each one, and give yourself 45 seconds to finish the task.
The muscle groups are hands, wrists and forearms, biceps, shoulders, forehead, around the eyes and nose, cheeks and jaw, around the mouth, back of the neck, front of the neck, chest, back, stomach, hips and buttocks, thighs, and lower legs.
- Once you’re ready, lie down in bed and try the technique:
- Take a deep breath in and tighten up the first group of muscles for 5-10 seconds
- Quickly relax the muscles in that group by breathing out.
- If you want to move to the next muscle group, stay relaxed for a while.
You have to repeat this process until you have gone through all 16 muscle groups. As you drift off to sleep, focus on keeping all the muscle groups relaxed.
Sometimes, counting can be exactly the opposite of what you’re hoping for and can stimulate your mind instead of slowing it down. It can be a stressful experience while you breathe. Some studies have found that some people who engage in “imagery distraction”–visualization–fall asleep faster than those who use other types of distractions.
Picture a calming scene. The act of imagining a place can help your brain think it’s “real.” Making sure that you think of a peaceful area, such as an idyllic meadow or tranquil sea can trigger your brain to place you into a state of relaxation that a particular location can bring, allowing you to fall asleep faster.
Visualize your body relaxing. Beginning at your toes and working your way up, you should focus on the sensations that you feel, and then imagine all the tension and sensations floating off. Start from your toes and move up towards your calves, then your thighs, and up until you get to your head and then fall to sleep.
Visualize falling asleep. Similar to the suggestion above that you begin at your toes and work towards the top, visualize your body warming up and becoming weighty as if at a restful and peaceful sleep. It is possible to be asleep before you reach your head!
5. Bhramari Pranayama Breathing Exercise
- You must close your eyes and breathe in and out.
- To cover your ears, hold your hands over your ears.
- Lay your fingertips over your eyebrows and your eyes and then extend your arms out at shoulder level. Put some pressure on the sides of your nose and focus on your brow area.
- You can make the humming “Om” sound by keeping your mouth closed and inhaling slowly through your nose.
- The process should be repeated five times.
According to a research review, Bhramari pranayama may reduce breathing and heart rate in a short period of time. It prepares your body for sleep and tends to be calming.
The best way to fall asleep is to relax. It can be hard to relax, but there are some techniques that can help.
It’s best to practice relaxation techniques daily.
Relaxation is a very important part of sleep. If you’re having trouble sleeping, try relaxation techniques such as deep breathing, guided imagery, meditation, or yoga.
Relaxation is not something that you do. It’s something that happens to you. The way you choose to live your life has a huge impact on the quality of your sleep. It’s important to learn how to relax and achieve better sleep. This will allow you to have more energy and focus, improve your productivity, and make you feel better.
If you want to know more about different sleep related disorder check out here.