We could all use some good relaxation techniques to help us get past the anxiety of our busy days. Do you suffer from insomnia? I do, off and on. Thank goodness it’s only sometimes or I don’t know what I would do. I never want to take sleeping pills just to help me fall asleep, personally. If you’re like me, when insomnia strikes all we want to know right then is how to fall asleep fast.

When our insomnia results from the stress and anxiety of worrying over our kids, the bills or a loved one’s health the best way to dissolve that stress is to relax.  Well that’s the problem, right?  How can we fall asleep fast if our minds are churning with anxiety?

In my own case, I find that I cannot fall asleep if I can’t stop thinking about the things that worry me.  I bet you can’t either.  The more we think and worry, the more we tense up our muscles and soon we chase all chances of sleep away for awhile.

Over the years, I’ve learned a couple of relaxation techniques that have helped reduce my insomnia, as well as improved the quality of my sleep.  Whenever I start to have problems sleeping, especially if it’s because my anxiety level is through the roof, I have to stop myself and go through these relaxation techniques to relieve my insomnia.

Relaxation Techniques For Sleep

Angel Sleeps by planetchopstick on Flickr, via Commons 2.0

Deep Breathing For Relaxation

Now I’m no doctor or sleep therapist, but I’ll share with you a breathing exercise my mother taught me that helps me relax so that I can fall asleep. This is really my ‘go to’ relaxation technique because it works the best for me. Your mileage may vary.

The way I learned it, you can do this exercise whether you’re laying down in bed or sitting comfortably in a chair. If I’m trying to fall asleep, I just do the exercise right there in bed. This is a breathing exercise, so you’ll be doing a series of deep breathing exercises to reduce your anxiety and this is how we can fall asleep faster – when that stress monster is vanquished.

  1. Relax as much as you can. Close your eyes and inhale as deep as you can to the count of four. Toss every thought out of your mind as you’re inhaling and think only about taking in that breath.
  2. Then, go ahead and exhale, rather than hold that breath. The point is to exhale every bit of that air out of your lungs – with your mouth open. Concentrate on that breath like it’s the only thing in the world that exists and keep any other thoughts from interfering with the exhale.

That’s it.  Nice and simple – nothing strenuous or hard.  When my mom was guiding me through the exercise, she gave me a tip that I still find helpful.

If I’m especially worried about something or just really tense because I can’t fall asleep, then I imagine actually putting the problem in a package like a box – being pushed out of my body and spirit as I exhale with my mouth open. Exhale your cares away is how she put it.

Let me tell you, if you want to know how to fall asleep fast, this is the ticket. When you first start doing this, it’s going to feel crazy awkward and you’ll think you really never will sleep again. It will be ok. First, I’ll bet you a cup of coffee (just kidding) you’ll be asleep before you know it. Secondly, with practice it will become a relaxing treat.

This video shows a breathing exercise very similar to the way I learned mine. Take a look and try it out. Remember, it’s not about ‘doing’ the exercise right, it’s about the end result – relaxing ourselves so that we can get a good night’s sleep.

Relaxing Your Body As A Relaxation Technique

Another of my favorite relaxation techniques is to consciously and systematically relax each part of my body, one part at a time. By concentrating on relaxing my feet, my ankles, my legs, my thighs and so on, I help my body let go of the tension I put it under when I stress over stuff. That in turn, helps me drift off to sleep.

How this works is that we push away those thoughts and worries that are filling us with anxiety and stress systematically as we concentrate on each part of the body we are relaxing. That’s very important. Don’t think about anything else as you concentrate on each part of your body that you want to relax in turn. Sometimes I start with my toes – concentrating on moving them softly and feeling them actually relax. As we work our way up section by section, we feel the tension and anxiety just melt away. If a worrying thought tries to make its way into your mind, gently push it away and concentrate on relaxing your body, a little at a time.

Again, it’s not about ‘doing it right;’ it’s really about focusing our concentration on our breathing or on relaxing our bodies to allow us to slip into restful sleep. Don’t think about anything else except your breathing or except relaxing that one part of your body at a time.

Yoga To Help You Sleep

And finally, if you know me, you know I love yoga. It’s good for my blood pressure. Yoga is good for my arthritis. Yoga can help us lose weight, too. But here, what we can receive from Yoga is relaxation for our mind, body and spirit so that we can finally fall asleep. I try to do this routine once or twice a week. It feels wonderful when you’re done, all nice and flexible. Let me know if you enjoy it too.

These are relaxation techniques that I use when I’m having trouble sleeping. There are many similar relaxation techniques out there, so if these don’t help, try WebMD, the Mayo Clinic and most importantly – check with your doctor. It’s always a good idea to let your doctor know if you’re having a hard time sleeping. He can help too!

Got any relaxation techniques you want to share? Share it with us in the comments below, I’d love to hear it!

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We could all use some good relaxation techniques to help us get past the anxiety of our busy days. Do you suffer from insomnia? I do, off and on. Thank goodness it's only sometimes or I don't know what I would do. I never want to take sleeping pills...