Controlling stress and ensuring a routine of high-quality sleep is critical to preserving your health. Relaxation exercises can help you do both. These techniques have been shown highly effective reducing stress and improving sleep.
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1. Autogenic training
Autogenic training (AT) isn’t particularly well known. AT applies a series of exercises to focus the mind’s attention to precise physical sensations of the body, to loosen both mentally and physically. Autogenic training focuses the mind on cultivating feelings of warmth and heaviness in different regions of the body. Including autogenic training into your nightly power-down routine can benefit you to prepare the body and the mind for sleep.
Biofeedback methods collect information about the body that alerts you to stress and lets you take steps to relax, mentally and physically. Biofeedback works by sensors that track and rank different physical capacities, including:
These physiological processes give important signals about stress levels. Biofeedback brings attention to these physical manifestations of stress and anxiety and gives you the opportunity to deal with that stress utilizing other relaxation strategies.
Deep, slow, self-aware breathing is an old and powerful way to clear the body of stress and tension, and an excellent way to relax as part of a nocturnal transition to sleep. Profound breathing kicks off a series of physiological modifications that aid relaxation, comprising reducing muscle tension, slowing breathing rate and heart rate, and decreasing blood pressure and metabolism.
A breathing practice can be as easy as taking a series of even, slow inhale and exhale breaths as a routine during the day or whenever you feel anxious or stressed. There is also some structured breathing exercises—”4-7-8″ breathing is one of my favorites. In a nice position, with your eyes open or closed:
Inhale for four seconds.
Hold your breath for seven seconds.
Exhale slowly, for eight seconds.
Repeat several times.
4. Guided imagery
Guided imagery is a mind-body method that can reduce stress and promote sleep. Guided imagery exercises involve all the senses in a focused period of imagination. This great mind-body tool assists to connect the conscious and unconscious mind and helps the mind direct the body toward positive, desirable responses. It is another fantastic component of a nightly pre-bed routine. Spending a few minutes engaged in a peaceful, restful guided image journey—such as imagining floating quietly in a calm ocean, being swayed by gentle waves and covered by a warm breeze—can help you smoothly separate from the stresses of the day and prepare the mind and body to sleep.
5. Progressive relaxation
This mind-body relaxation is a simple, striking way to becoming familiar with your body and the areas where you hold stress and tension. Progressive relaxation requires working, one at a time, with different areas and muscle groups of the body, first tensing and relaxing them. It cultivates an awareness of what both tension and relaxation feel like in your body. With that knowledge, you become better prepared to address that physical tension—and any mental or emotional stress that accompanies it.
Watch a nice video about the best relaxation techniques for a better sleep.