Switching off at night is easier said than done.
We’ve all found ourselves wide awake, angrily staring at the ceiling and counting down the hours until we have to get up again.
Trying these relaxation exercises before bed can help you to fall asleep quickly and have a peaceful night’s rest.
Sleep is essential for our physical and mental health. It can improve memory and cognitive function, relieve anxiety and reduce our risk of heart disease.
To help you wind down, try getting ready for bed 45 minutes to an hour before you want to fall asleep. Before starting these exercises, make sure you’re comfortable and in an optimal sleep environment.
Clear Your Mind With Meditation
Meditating before bed can help focus your mind on more positive thoughts and draw your attention away from anything stressful or distracting.
These techniques calm you down and teach you how to tap into a relaxed state of mind. The more you practice, the easier you will be able to catch those z’s you so crave.
- Sit in a quiet, cool room with no distractions such as electronic devices. Light a candle and try to focus only on the flame. Spend ten minutes or longer watching the colours and the movement and try not to think of anything else.
(We know this technique can be very successful but don’t forget to put out the candle before falling asleep!)
- Alternatively, try concentrating on specific words or phrases that will calm you down. Words such as ‘peaceful’ or ‘relax’ will help you to focus only on soothing thoughts. Gradually you will forget about anything else that was keeping you alert.
Once this exercise is perfected, you will be able to shut out all external worries. This will help clear your mind before snoozing.
Learning to be more mindful about your actions and slow your thoughts down can help get you in the right frame of mind before bed.
- Try thinking about your exact movements as you get ready for bed. Whilst washing, focus on the smell of the soap and the temperature of the water.
- When brushing your teeth, concentrate on each stroke and the exact method you are using.
- Do some light exercise in the evening such as going for a walk. Whilst walking, concentrate on your steps and the sounds and scenery around you. (Make sure this is not too soon before going to sleep or it can actually keep you awake!)
When you are being mindful, you are removing any distracting thoughts and only thinking about what you are doing in that moment. This reduces stress and helps you to go to bed with a clear head.
Visualising calming scenes before you go to sleep can help refocus your state of mind and let you drift off into dream land.
- Try imagining you’re on a beach and listening to the sounds of the ocean. You can imagine any scene that works for you as long as it is soothing.
Using Breathing Techniques
Focusing on your breathing also helps to relieve stress and sends you sleep. You can adapt the timings to suit your needs.
Here are a couple of easy exercises:
- Breathe in for 4 seconds, hold your breath for 7 and breathe out for 8. Only concentrate on your breathing and don’t let any other thoughts distract you.
- Try simply breathing in for 6 and out for 6.
(Tip- You can think about one of your calming words during this one)
- Place your hands on your abdomen whilst inhaling slowly. Pay attention to the physical movement of your breathing. Repeat for 5 to 10 minutes as necessary.
Remember to always breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth. You can incorporate these methods with the above meditation exercises.
Relax With Yoga
Yoga is a tried and tested method of calming down before bed. You don’t need to be a contortionist to learn these simple poses that will help you achieve a zen state before bed. Accompany these positions with your breathing techniques.
- Sit upright and cross your legs.
- Cross your feet and keep them in the middle of your body.
(if you want to make this more difficult, place each foot on the opposite thigh)
- Rest your hands on your knees.
- Lie on your back and bend your knees.
- Place the soles of your feet together and let your legs drop outwards, creating a diamond shape.
- Rest your arms beside you.
- Lie on your back and bring your knees to your chest
- Wrap your arms around your knees
- Gently roll back and forth
Winding Down Twist
- Sit cross legged and place your hands behind you
- Put your right hand on your left knee and gently twist your torso to the left
- Repeat on your opposite side
- Lie on your back and stretch your arms out on either side of you so you’re in a T shape
- Bring your knees towards you
- Slowly turn your hips and let your knees drop to your side but keep them together
- Try and keep your torso flat
Try and hold each pose for 3 minutes or however long you feel you can. (Bonus- you can do all of these poses in your pyjamas whilst in bed)
Release Tension With Muscle Exercises
Our muscles tend to be very tense at the end of the day which can prevent us from falling asleep. You can use these exercises to learn how to relax.
- Start systematically at your toes and work your way up to your neck. Slowly tense each set of muscles and hold them for five seconds but remember to keep breathing.
- Slowly release them and let your body completely relax. As you relax your muscles imagine the stresses of your day leaving you.
Find Your Pressure Points
Learning some simple acupressure techniques can help you to relieve pressure before bed.
To achieve an optimum dream like state, the best points to focus on are your ankles and feet, wrists and hands and neck.
Massage the areas explained below in circular motions and apply pressure when necessary.
Here is how you can locate these areas:
- The first pressure point is in the hollow space on the ankle bone.
- Another point is on the sole of your foot where your feet crease when you bend your toes
- This point is in the space on your inner wrist below your little finger
- This point is slightly lower than Point 3 and is in between your tendons.
- This area is the two grooves on the back of your neck, beneath your skull. Use both hands to massage both sides.
With these simple relaxation exercises you will never have trouble sleeping again. Shop our full range to try these exercises in a truly luxurious setting.
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