There are a number of ways you can use proven relaxation techniques to enhance the quality and duration of your sleep. When you are in a comfortable, relaxed state of mind, you'll benefit from better health and more restful sleep.
The stresses and strains of everyday life can impart pressure on your body – and result in potentially serious health issues like heart problems, high blood pressure, sleep disorders, or digestive problems.
The good news is there are a variety of relaxation techniques you can use to help release tension and anxiety from daily life. These are particularly effective when used in tandem with a healthy lifestyle and good sleep hygiene.
Talk with your doctor about your need to relieve stress and get a better night’s sleep. Seek counsel on relaxation techniques, including one or more of the following approaches.
Your doctor can also direct you to specific information on using these relaxation methods. There are also many excellent books, DVDs, CDs, classes, and online tools that provide “how to” guidelines.
This form of therapy is a “mind over matter” approach and helps you use your thoughts to control the involuntary actions of your body. Biofeedback is a way to reach a state of deep relaxation, which helps your body recover from the negative effects of anxiety and tension.
With proper training and practice, you should be able to appropriately slow your breathing and heart rate, as well as relax your muscles.
When you exercise, your body releases endorphins, which are natural chemicals that enhance mood and relaxes your body. Being physically active also helps to clear your mind and put life’s issues in perspective. Regular exercise is especially useful if you suffer from anxiety or depression.
Hypnosis can result in a deep state of relaxation and enhance your focus, similar to that of meditation. Hypnotism can be conducted by a qualified hypnotherapist or you can try it yourself with the aid of a CD, self-hypnosis book, or other training guide. Hypnosis works well on many stress-related conditions including digestive disorders, eating disorders, insomnia, and pain relief.
Massage is an effective way to relax both your body and your mind. There are a wide range of massage techniques so be sure to discuss your choices with a professionally trained massage therapist to ensure you select the most beneficial option. The deep muscle relaxation achieved after a good massage can be both calming and energizing. Massage is also purported to help relieve pain and improve your body’s immune system when done regularly.
Meditation has been used through the centuries to achieve a state of calm, as well as to re-energize the spirit. Research has shown that meditation can be beneficial for those who suffer from insomnia or other sleeping disorders.
To learn meditation relaxation techniques, there are classes, CDs, DVDs, self-help books, and online tools such The Guided Meditation Site.
Music has a profound effect on the body, affecting brainwaves, heartbeat, and respiration. Slow tempo music can lower heart rate and blood pressure and a fast tempo can do the opposite. Music is a mood enhancer and can be helpful in reducing tension, fighting depression, and relieving pain. Research has shown that listening to 30 minutes of classical music can have a significant a calming effect.
Progressive Muscle Relaxation
This is a way of achieving total body relaxation by slowly and systematically tensing and then relaxing your muscles. Starting at your toes and working up. It also plays a part in hypnosis. Combined with deep breathing exercises progressive muscle relaxation becomes an even more effective way to reduce stress.
Sometimes called meditation in motion, Tai Chi is designed to connect the body and mind through flowing rhythmic movement and coordinated breathing. The gentle nature of the stretches makes this an excellent form of exercise that creates a state of calm, peaceful relaxation.
Also known as guided imagery, visualization is another relaxation method that can help relieve stress and tension, while leading to better sleep. Through visualization, the individual creates images of happy, calm situations, like sunning on a beach or sitting on top of a mountain taking in the magnificent scenery.
Sensory input, such as scents and sounds, are sometimes used to enhance the effectiveness of the guided imagery. To learn proper techniques, seek the help of a qualified therapist and/or use one of the many books, DVDs, or CD's that are on the market.
Yoga uses movement and breathing exercises to reach a state of peacefulness. The slow, gentle movements and stretches are interspersed with periods of stillness.
Practicing yoga on a regular basis will help calm your mind and improve flexibility and strength. A yoga class is the best way to start once you’ve consulted with your doctor. If you are new to the practice, you can go to YouTube.com and search for online uphs classes before signing up for a program.
are not limited to using just one relaxation approach, but don't hop
from one technique to the next without first investing time and practice
to see if the method you’ve selected can work for you. Keep your
doctor apprised of your sleep issues and desire to proactively focus on greater relaxation in your
Remember, none of these relaxation techniques is as instant fix. Yet, they can go a long way in helping you achieve better health and better sleep when complemented with a proper diet, good sleep habits, and a healthy lifestyle.