Sleep Relaxation Techniques By Alma Wellbeing
A quick guide to sleep exercises.
Well, it is not a coincidence that one after another article is sleep-related. It is because recently I've been interacting with a lot of people who are experiencing sleep troubles including myself. This article is an extension of my previous writing, I will be sharing some sleep relaxation techniques at a deeper level.
Having trouble falling asleep is a very common issue caused by lifestyle choices, stress, anxiety or many other factors. Experiencing stress whether known or unknown can activate stress response naturally in the body, affecting the hormones that could lead us to feel more alert and triggered. This could also result in quick or shallow breathing, change in heart rate and blood pressure.
When the body's natural stress response is activated it acts as an SOS help center, all alert! wide awake! on the standby! That can make it immensely challenging for the body to fall asleep or rest. Luckily there are ways to turn off this false alarm in the body. By activating another natural process “relaxation response” we can divert our mind’s attention, calm it, relax the body, and can help ourselves to sleep peacefully.
The goal of sleep relaxation exercises is simply to lower one’s heart rate and blood pressure, slow down and deepen the breathing, and bring awareness back into the body. While these exercises can be helpful tools on their own, they may be more effective when combined with other improvements to your sleep hygiene: https://www.almawellbeing.com/post/sleep-well-to-live-well-by-alma-wellbeing
Sleep Relaxation Techniques
Taking slow & deep breaths is one of the easiest and most basic ways to bring your awareness back into the body. Whether you are anxious during the day or you are trying this at bedtime it always works. Take five to ten mindful breaths when you lay down in your bed to prepare yourself for sleep. This alone can begin to slow the breath and create a sense of calm
Belly Breathing (Diaphragm Breathing)
As you lay down in your bed, place one hand on your chest and the other on your belly.
Breathe in through your nose all the way down to your belly that you can feel your belly pushing your hand.
As you exhale, deflate your belly like a balloon all the way back to your spine. Exhale through your mouth, like a soft sigh of release.
Repeat this three to five times, then come back to normal deep breathing.
Body scans are a type of meditation that features slow, focused attention to different parts of the body. Once you’re lying comfortably in bed, try these steps for a relaxing body scan:
Start with taking three deep breaths, inhaling through the nose, and exhaling through the mouth.
Start to scan your body in three parts;
Starting from the top of the head, all the way down to the base of your neck.
Then from your shoulders to your pelvic region.
And lastly from the top of your legs to all the way down to your toes.
As you scan your body in sections, notice the areas that feel tight or tense to you. Use your breath to soften and relax each part of the body and release any tension that you might be holding onto.
Autogenic Training takes you through the same steps as the body scan but adds in self-statements about heaviness and warmth in each part of the body. The idea is that, with practice, you can begin to calm different parts of your body at any time. Here’s how it goes:
Start with a few minutes of breathing exercises to get into a relaxed state.
Next, bring your attention to your feet, then slowly repeat to yourself six times, “my feet are very heavy, I am completely calm.”
Focus again on your feet, then slowly repeat 6 more times, “my feet are very warm, I am completely calm.”
Repeat this process as you move your attention to each part of your body, from your feet to your head, repeating each phrase about heaviness and warmth.
If you find it too distracting to remember each phrase or count how many times you’ve said them, you can record yourself going through the process and play it back at bedtime. You can also find audio and video records online if you’d prefer to have someone else walk you through autogenic training.
I hope you find these techniques helpful and put yourself in a peaceful slumber. Good night.
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