When counting sheep doesn’t work, you may be faced with yet another night of laying down wide awake till dawn. Don’t worry, as you are not alone. Many people regularly struggle with sleep problems and understand how stressful it can be when sleep does not want to come. Reaching for sleep aids after a couple of hours being wide awake is not uncommon.
It is normal for many people with sleep disorders to want to sleep better again without taking sleeping pills. At the same time, it is important not to worry too much about how much sleep you get because lying in bed with fear that you cannot fall asleep, will undoubtedly keep you awake.
If sleep deprivation is crippling you, it is worthwhile to pay attention to whether the sleep disorders are associated with certain habits, such as too much caffeine or exercising too late at night. If not, then relaxation techniques and a change in sleep habits can help you fall asleep faster.
How Do Relaxation Techniques Work?
Relaxation techniques have the goal to aid mental and physical rest. They are designed to reduce physical tension and disrupt the flow of thought that prevents sleep. Studies show that people who learn relaxation techniques sleep a little longer at night. The main reason for this is due to the mind and body being less tense.
Different Types Of Relaxation Techniques
There are different types of relaxation techniques which include:
Progressive muscle relaxation: This technique is also called muscle relaxation or deep muscle relaxation. In this procedure, the muscles in each part of the body are gradually tightened and then consciously relaxed again.
Autogenic training: This technique focuses on feeling individual body parts and relaxing in a targeted manner. When practiced over time, you can understand how to influence involuntary bodily functions such as the heartbeat and breathing, thereby achieving deep physical relaxation.
Biofeedback: This method helps you to experience how the body responds to tension and relaxation. It can be used in a doctor's office or with a portable biofeedback device after proper home instruction. Electrodes are attached to the body, which detects signals such as muscle tension, the pulse or the brain waves. On a screen, you can see how the signals can be influenced by muscle relaxation or by certain thoughts.
Fantasy Journeys: This method calls to mind peaceful, beautiful scenes or places, or to imagine breathing softly, sliding gently to sleep, and sleeping well all night.
Best Habits To Improve Sleep
Studies suggest that changing sleep habits can help improve sleep quality. There are many different ways to change your sleep behavior. The following principles, also called sleep hygiene, can positively influence sleep:
- Avoid drinking alcohol, coffee, tea or other stimulants for four to six hours before going to bed.
- Avoid smoking at bedtime or at night
- Avoid heavy and spicy meals at bedtime.
- Being physically active during the day helps. If you exercise and move during the day, you will get tired faster in the evening and fall asleep more easily. Even a walk in the fresh air helps. Avoid going to bed too quickly after exercising. This is because the body reacts with increased blood pressure, palpitations, restlessness – this may cause difficulty in getting to sleep.
- Make sure that the bedroom is quiet and dark and has a comfortable temperature.
- Go to bed regularly at the same time, preferably on weekends as well. This method is also used by parents to train infants to fall asleep and sleep through with infants.
- Avoid naps. Our body is a habit animal. If it is out of rhythm, it leads to tension.
- Engage in mental activities. Even demanding mental activities that are not associated with stress make you tired and make you fall asleep more easily in the evening. For example, you can learn a new language to let your brain digest something different at night.
- Massages can help. Ayurvedic massage is a gentle, energetic massage, similar to an aromatherapy massage. These massages are characterized by the use of different types of therapeutic oils. The oils have a releasing and revitalizing effect and are used, among other things, to relieve tension or blockages.
- Have a warm bath. Bathe or shower briefly with warm water. The warm water encourages blood flow, which warms up the body and you sleep more easily.
Sleep Better With These Two Yoga Exercises
The Fish Pose: If you have practiced yoga before, you might know about the Fish Pose. With this pose, two pillows are usedto ensure that you get into a gentle and passive stretching – ideal after a hard day at work.
The Fish Pose is considered a classic heart-opening exercise. Especially when you are depressed or sad, the attitude can bring you back some peace and happiness. The fish stance also stretches the often shortened chest muscles.
Put two pillows on your matt, lay on them at the height of the shoulder blades. Place your arms next to your body, stretch them over your head, or cover your elbows as you please. Take a deep breath and enjoy the stretching. Hold this position for about a minute, then gently turn your hands and feet and come back into the seat via a lateral turn.
The Sphinx Pose: The yoga exercise of the Sphinx Pose strengthens the spine and stimulates the organs of the lower abdomen. It also widens the chest and shoulder area. The sphinx attitude also promotes blood circulation while at the same time reducing stress.
Lay on your stomach with your toes stretched out to the floor. Your forehead should also rest on the ground. Extend your hands in front of you, with palms facing down and forearms touching the floor. Take a deep breath and gently lift your head, chest, and lower abdomen. Your belly button should stay on the floor. Breathe in and out as you bend your spine backwards, swirl after swirl. Hold the exercise for a few breaths.