Stress and sleep disorders can make it extremely difficult for a person to fall asleep or maintain an uninterrupted rest during the night. Stress is the response to our daily lives, so when there is a problem at home or in the workplace, it will take a toll on our bodies. Not only can stress keep us up into the wee hours of the morning, but sleep disorders can also play the same role. Sleep apnea, insomnia and restless leg syndrome are just some of the disorders that can make it difficult to fall and stay asleep. If you suffer from stress or a sleep condition, it is important to learn some relaxation techniques that will help put your body and mind to ease before bed.
1. Visualization. Sometimes all you need to help yourself fall asleep is your imagination. Visualization is a technique used to bring you into a state of peace and serenity. First, get yourself comfortable and close your eyes. Imagine that you are in a place that is calming to you, for example, on a beach. Try to form mental images of your relaxing spot. After you have your place of peace in mind, try to get all of your senses involved. If you’re on a beach, imagine the smell of the ocean, the warmth of the sun or the sound of the waves crashing. Concentrate on this place and how it makes you feel until you are completely relaxed. Then get some shut eye!
2. Progressive Muscle Relaxation. This technique literally relaxes your body from your head to your toes! Starting with your feet, you’re going to tense up all of the muscles in your body and then relax them. Tense the muscle group in your feet for 5 seconds, and then relax them for 30 seconds. Continue doing this with each muscle group until you reach your head! As you slowly begin to focus on the tensing and relief of each muscle group, you will feel more and more relaxed.
3. Yoga. This form of exercise is wonderful for fighting away stress and insomnia. Yoga is also useful to ward off aches and pains that will keep you tossing and turning all night long. Yoga helps teach people how to relax on command, meaning that this is the perfect nighttime exercise for those who suffer from stress or other sleep disorders. For the best results, put on your pajamas and do your favorite yoga moves right before you go to bed. If you have never tried yoga before, check out this slideshow of positions you can do.
For more information on how stress affects sleep, please check out one of our older blogs here. If you have any relaxation techniques that work for you, feel free to share them in the comments!