Do you find it difficult to relax when your mind is flooded by endless worries and thoughts?
Stress, anxiety, and demanding life events put strain our minds and bodies making it difficult to unwind. If only our mind and body could enter into sleep mode as easily as a computer.
There are times when we will need some help moving into a state of sleep.
Fortunately, there are relaxation techniques for sleep that will help quiet your mind down after a busy day or night.
These techniques can be performed during the day or night to help relieve stress before you go to sleep.
Alternatively, you can also perform them if you are laying down in your bed or if you wake up in the middle of the night and cannot return to sleep.
Let us explore the 5 different relaxation techniques for sleep.
1. Mindfulness Exercises
Mindfulness exercises were made famous by Buddhist Monk, peace activist, and scholar Thich Nhat Hahn.
These techniques work by channeling your awareness in the present moment. If you find yourself lying awake concerned about what happened before in the past, or what will happen in the future. These techniques will help you bring back to the present moment.
I am a practitioner of Buddhist principles myself.
I have found this technique to be very effective when there are a lot of thoughts racing around in my mind, whether those thoughts are from how events could have played out differently in the past and how to plan for events in the future.
These mindfulness techniques have helped me deal with any anxiety or stress that makes it difficult to relax.
This technique has helped me out greatly and will do the very same for you.
This is the guide that I used to learn about mindfulness.
2. The 4-7-8 Yoga Breathing Technique
There are many different breathing techniques that are available. A very popular one is the 4-7-8 breathing technique.
The simple interpretation of this technique is to breathe in for four seconds, hold that breath for seven seconds, and exhale that breath for eight seconds.
A different version of this technique is one that others have claimed that have helped them go to sleep quicker.
This technique was initiated by the physician Dr. Andrew Weil. This version is unique because it induces a state of relaxation.
The doctor explains more in the video below:
3. Deep Breathing Exercises
Deep breathing exercises can be performed on their own or in collaboration with another relaxation technique. A large majority of meditation videos incorporate deep breathing exercises as well.
The two major parts of these exercises are to breathe in a slow controlled state and to breathe from your abdomen and not just from your chest.
The benefits of this relaxation technique include:
- Lowering your heart rate.
- Relaxing muscles that are tense and stiff.
- Taking your attention away from racing thoughts.
- Slow down your breathing if are feeling any anxiety or stress.
- This technique can be done as frequently as you want when you are lying down.
Structured Guide To Deep Breathing
- Schedule a moment to relax either sitting or lying down.
- Close your eyes.
- Place your feet flat on the floor if you are sitting up or keep your feet supported if you are lying down.
- Release tension in your muscles and keep your body still.
- Breathe slowly through your nose for four seconds.
- Hold that breathe for four seconds.
- Release that breathe through your mouth for four seconds.
As an addition to the exercise, when you inhale for four seconds envision that you are spreading calmness throughout your body and as you exhale for four seconds envision that you are removing tension from your body.
You can practice this exercise for 10 minutes, however there is no time limit for this breathing exercise. Continue the exercise until you feel calm and relaxed.
Video For Deep Breathing
This video walks you through the deep breathing exercise and comes with a vocal timer to help guide your breathing patterns:
4. Progressive Muscle Relaxation
Progressive muscle relaxation is an incredibly useful technique for the following reasons:
- The focused is placed on the body, not on thoughts in the mind.
- By having tension on your muscles puts tension on the mind.
- By tightening and relaxing certain muscles, you condition yourself to know what a state of relaxation feels. This is a goal that you should work for when you want to relax after a long day.
Structured Guideline For Progressive Muscle Relaxation
- Take a few moments to breathe deeply in a slow controlled manner.
- Inhale a deep breathe and contract your feet and toes for three to four seconds.
- Exhale slowly and release the tension from your feet and toes.
- Inhale a deep breathe and contract the muscles in your lower legs for three to four seconds.
- Exhale slowly and release the tension from the muscles in your lower legs.
- Inhale a deep breathe and contract the muscles in your upper legs and pelvis, hold for three to four seconds, exhale and release the tension from your upper legs and pelvis.
- Repeat the technique in this order with the corresponding body parts.
- Stomach and chest.
- Upper and lower back.
- Shoulders, arms, and hands.
- Neck and face muscles. (This works by using a scrunching motion)
- Lastly, contract all the muscles in your body all at once (do not strain yourself), and hold for three to four seconds.
- Exhale slowly and relax every part of your body.
- Go through the whole body technique three more times.
Progressive Muscle Relaxation Video
This video will guide you through the progressive muscle relaxation technique:
5. Guided Meditation
Guided meditation is an excellent way to remove all the thoughts that are overwhelming your mind and allows you to focus on something that is relaxing.
If you find yourself lying awake tossing and turning while feeling restless. This relaxation technique will help lead you to a much calmer state of mind.
This technique is a personal favorite of mine. There have been many times in the past that I have found myself completely unable to sleep due to having an overactive mind from thinking too much.
For the last few years, I have meditated on a consistent basis and noticed that I feel much calmer in the later parts of the evening before going to sleep. I no longer have an overactive mind that prevents me from sleeping soundly.
This is one of the videos that I have on my Youtube playlist that has helped me out and it will do the very same for you:
This is a list of of suggestions that I have received from others in the past.
- Do not view any scary movies before bedtime.
- Block out all forms of light and noise.
- Drink herbal tea.
- Do not drink a lot of fluids close to bed time.
- Read books.
We live in a very fast paced world where rest and relaxation is often underrated.
Life can be very demanding/taxing on the mind and body.
Coming from my own experience. I know this first hand because I was once a very severe workaholic and have been guilty of this in the past.
Just as you need time to power up. You also need time to power down.
Taking some time to relax before going to sleep will benefit you greatly. We all need to relax and take a breather every so often. Right?
What helps calm your mind down?
Are there any technique that you can share with others?
Please feel free to share your suggestions in the comments section.
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