Use Relaxation Techniques to Sleep Better!
Many factors can hinder your sleep quality. Among the chief concern for many is the excess worry and anxiety built up during the day that can affect your ability to doze off. If you’ve ever experienced this yourself, you know how difficult it can be to fall and stay asleep after a particularly stressful day. The reason is linked to a hormonal change in your body. When you’re feeling anxious or tense, adrenaline, cortisol, and norepinephrine are released, boosting energy and alertness. Additionally, heart rate and blood pressure rise, which can cause your body to go into fight-or-flight mode. Luckily, there are some simple relaxation techniques you can use to sleep better each night and live better each day!
The result is a night filled with tossing and turning, leading to a morning in which you feel unrested and even more stressed. When these bouts of anxiety consistently persist for a longer period, short-term and long-term insomnia are common. A lack of quality sleep can then lead to a short temper, memory issues, a lack of energy, and an increase in emotional reactivity. Add it all up, and you’ll see that poor sleep quality can result in more stress, and feeling stressed can lead to poor sleep quality.
There are solutions that can help, though. By toning down your anxiety, you can begin to train your body to relax when it’s time to go to bed. Engaging in relaxation exercises can aid in managing stress and improve sleep quantity and quality. Here are two relaxation techniques you can use to help calm yourself after a long day.
One of the most effective ways to slow your heart rate, decrease your blood pressure, and rid your body of tension is to take slow, deep breaths. There are many breathing techniques out there to help relieve anxiety and built-up stress. While the details may differ, the general guidance is the same: Try to slow your breath down, and be mindful of the air going in and out of your lungs. As your inhales become deeper, think about filling your belly up as much as you can. Lengthening the exhales is both meditative and relaxing. These long, slow breaths also allow your body to consciously mimic how you breathe when you’re resting.
Another relaxation technique that can work wonders is using imagery as a tool. Imagining peaceful, serene thoughts can also help lower heart rate and blood pressure as your body begins to relax. Imaginary scenarios will differ from person to person, depending on what you find relaxing. One common theme is to envision yourself floating in calm water, with the waves gently rocking you into restfulness.
These two relaxation techniques are surprisingly simple to try. Do one or both of these right before bedtime, and see how a stress-free night can lead to a better night of sleep.