Getting to sleep can be hard, and according to Dream’s UK Sleep Survey, 63.1% of people are unhappy with the amount of sleep they get. Here are ten sleep relaxation techniques to help you master your night time slumber.
Prepare your bedroom
Room temperature should be set between 15.5 and 19.4 degrees Celsius, if the room is too hot or too cold, you may wake up in the night. Noise disturbances should be kept at a minimum, switch off your TV, put your phone on silent, invest in some thicker curtains to help block outside sounds. Finally, invest in a decent mattress and pillow to support your natural sleeping position.
Progressive Muscle Relaxation
This relieves any tension in your body from the day’s activities.
Foot (curl your toes downward)
Lower leg and foot (tighten your calf muscle by pulling toes towards you)
Entire leg (squeeze thigh muscles while doing above)
Hand (clench your fist)
Entire right arm (tighten your biceps by drawing your forearm up towards your
shoulder and “make a muscle”, while clenching fist)
Buttocks (tighten by pulling your buttocks together)
Stomach (suck your stomach in)
Chest (tighten by taking a deep breath)
Neck and shoulders (raise your shoulders up to touch your ears)
Mouth (open your mouth wide enough to stretch the hinges of your jaw)
Eyes (clench your eyelids tightly shut)
Forehead (raise your eyebrows as far as you can)
Humming has the same calming effect on the nervous system as deep breathing. It also makes your face, neck and shoulder muscles more relaxed and soothed- almost like a mini massage.
Keep a notepad nearby
Sleep can often elude those who worry about the next day’s tasks and worrying about forgetting something. If you write-downs your jobs and worries, they can be left to rest on paper instead of your mind.
Focus your attention on an image or story that you find relaxing. Get comfortable and concentrate on this image, whether it’s a calming beach or starry night sky. Think of all the details in that picture and what makes it relaxing. If you get distracted, calmly move your thoughts back. This will takecategorisedtime to master, but more you try, the more relaxed you’ll be.
Some sounds such as ocean waves or wind through trees are categorized by our brain as ‘non-threat’ sounds. That means you can more easily fall asleep if you set your phone or radio to play soothing sounds. There are even apps that will time out and switch off after a certain time.
The 4-7-8 Breathing
Dr Andrew Weil, pioneer of ‘integrative medicine’, He advises people perform a breathing exercise involving breathing in for 4 seconds, holding your breath for 7 seconds, and breathing out for 8 seconds. Repeat four times and you will have a profound sense of inner relaxation. Practice makes perfect though!
Bed is for Sleep
Make sure you never lie in bed wide awake, if you find yourself unable to doze off, then get up and repeat your bedtime routine.
Have the right drink or snack before bed
The last thing you want is to wake up hungry at 4 am. It’s important to stay hydrated, and a warm drink such as a herbal tea can help you drift off into a deep sleep. Some of our favourites are [chamomile, peppermint and lavender]. Some foods are also great for helping your body relax at night, particularly those containing calcium, magnesium and tryptophan. We recommend you try a [low-fat yoghurt, a handful of berries and a banana].
Vietnamese Buddhist monk, poet, scholar and human activist Thich Nhat Hanh says that ‘mindfulness is the energy that helps us recognise the conditions of happiness that are already present in our lives’. The practice of mindfulness involves many of the relaxation techniques already covered, but all are working in sync:
– Mindful breathing
– Concentration and awareness of your thoughts
– Awareness of your body
– Releasing tension
– Meditation through walking
‘Bring your mind home to your body, become alive, and perform the miracle of walking on Earth.’
The key is to be aware of body’s need for 8 hours sleep, and of the benefits of helping your circadian rhythm perform at its very best. Sleep well!