Relaxation tips for a better night's sleep

Feel Good, Topics, What You Should Know

Relaxation is essential to getting a good night’s sleep. When counting sheep or drinking a glass of warm milk doesn’t seem to help, try these five helpful tips to relax prior to initiating sleep.

Warm bath
Dim the lights and draw a warm bath. Allow time to soak in the bath without distractions. Avoid hot baths, as hot water tends to stimulate.

Relax with soothing music and imagine you’re at a favorite, relaxing place. Choose a place that instills calm and peace, therefore promoting sleep.
Close your eyes. Visualize a tropical, white sand beach with large palm trees swaying in the warm breeze. The sky is a brilliant blue with large, fluffy white clouds dancing above as the sun covers you like a warm, protective blanket. You can hear the water gently lapping against the shore as you lower your hand to the ground and draw lazy circles, feeling the cool, peaceful touch of the sand between your fingers.

Our bodies tend to hold tension in response to daily stresses, leading to discomfort in the neck, back, hands and feet. Massage can relieve and soothe you to a blissful state that is conducive to good sleep. Self-massage can be an effective way to relax; however, massage by a partner is better. Reflexologists believe there are areas of the foot that directly affect other areas of the body.

Progressive Muscle Relaxation (PMR)
This method utilizes purposeful muscle tension and relaxation. Lie on your back. Starting at your toes, you will progressively work all the muscle groups as you move up your body. Begin by scrunching your toes as hard as you can for 10 seconds, keeping the rest of your body relaxed. Relax. Move to your legs and continue upward, including buttocks, abdomen, chest, forearms, shoulders, neck and face. Repeat this cycle at least two times. Take your time; allow at least 20 minutes to complete.

Abdominal breathing
This breathing technique utilizes rhythmic breathing to promote relaxation. Lie on your back, clear your mind of worries, and begin breathing regularly. Place your hand on the lower abdomen (at the belt line), slowly fill your lungs to the point that you can feel your abdomen rise. Take in as much air as you can and hold for a few seconds. Slowly release the air. Concentrate on nothing but the slow intake and release of air, producing a rhythmic rise and fall of the abdomen. Do not rush. Repeat 10 times.