Any form of relaxing exercise is great for a good night’s sleep. When you exercise, the body produces endorphins. These chemicals help calm the mind, relax the body, and improve your mood. Even if you can’t find the time to regularly work out, you can still do relaxation exercises for better sleep when you are already in your PJs.
Below are some simple yet effective relaxation exercises for better sleep you can turn to if you find it hard to get some shut-eye.
Relaxation Exercises For Better Sleep
Flying exercise for better sleep
Like most relaxation exercises for better sleep, the flying exercise is best done right before hitting the bed. It helps ease the tension in the mind and body after a tiring day and improve the quality of your sleep so you’ll wake up feeling brighter.
Before you start, you should already be in your sleeping clothes. Any electronic distraction (TV, laptop, tablet, or phone) should be turned off so you can focus better.
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The first step is to stand with your feet slightly apart and bent at the knees. Close your eyes lightly and bend your head forward a little.
Slowly raise your hands up from the sides as you inhale. Let your shoulders stretch upwards and your hands point to the ceiling as you reach the end of the inhale. Exhale slowly as you let your arms move back down. As you exhale bend your knees a bit to let your body sink a little lower. Lift your body back up while inhaling. Keep your hands in sync with the inhaling and exhaling.
As you inhale, imagine the energy as it moves in to your body from the soles of or feet, up your spine, and out from the top of your head. Fill your body with energy as you fill your lungs with air. Allow your body to relax from head to toe as you exhale.
Repeat the steps continuously. At the end of the inhale, start exhaling and vice versa. Do not stop or pause. Allow the exercise to become one soft and smooth motion. Do this for five to fifteen minutes. When you’re done, simply stop your movement and keep your head relaxed and slight dropping forward while your knees are slightly bent.
Observe your body. Is it more relaxed than when you started? How about your feelings? Do you feel better mentally and emotionally?
Maintain that relaxed position for a few minutes before going to bed.
Learn more: 6 Effective Exercises To Stop Negative Thoughts
Yoga exercises for better sleep and relaxation
Yoga exercises are also perfect relaxation exercises for better sleep. Yoga involves various calm and smooth movements and breathing exercises that may help you achieve deep sleep. There are numerous poses in yoga which you can use for better sleep.
Sukhasana (The Easy Pose)
It is done by sitting in the Lotus Position. Straighten your back and place your hands on your knees with your index fingers touching the thumbs. For three minutes, you need to take 30 to 45 deep rhythmic breaths.
Then as you inhale, you can swing your arms around and up from your side until your hands meet at the top. As you exhale, bring your hands down to your front as if you are praying. As you do this focus on your intentions (“pleasant dreams” or “deep sleep”). Repeat the steps a few times. You can also do a forward bend (might be a little bit f´dofficult for beginners) – bend your body forward and rest your head and forearms on the bed. Stay in this position for a while as you do some deep breathing.
Sit back up then bring the soles of your feet together. Slowly bend forward and rest your forearms on the bed. Again, focus on your breath as you stay in the Butterfly Position for a while.
Move to the Child’s Pose by getting on all fours and then sitting on the heels of your feet as you stretch your arms forward or draw them back to the sides of your legs while your face is flat on the bed.
Finish this off with the Savasana or Corpse Pose. Lie on you back and let the muscles relax. Focus on your breath as you inhale and exhale. If one nostril is slightly blocked, roll to the side which has the clear nostril. Maintain that position until both nostrils are clear.
Progressive muscle relaxation exercise for better sleep
One of the most effective relaxation exercises for better sleep, the progressive muscle relaxation allows your body to actually feel how it is to be relaxed. This is done by progressively tensing and then relaxing muscles or muscle groups in your body.
Most relaxation exercises for better sleep deal with calming the mind. This one eliminates muscle tension by tightening and then releasing the muscles.
You can feel difference between tensed and relaxed.
If you feel discomfort or pain, ease up or pause immediately. You may be straining your muscles too much which may result to cramps or even an injury.
If you already feel tense, you should avoid this technique. Tightening your already tense muscle will not do you any good. If this is so, do passive progressive muscle relaxation instead.
To practice progressive muscle relaxation, first find a comfortable position. You may stand, sit or lie down. You can change positions anytime, if necessary.
Breathe deeply and hold your breath for a few seconds. Exhale slowly and release the tension with the air. Repeat until you are relaxed.
Next, focus on your leg muscles. Tighten those muscles and hold on to this tension. Squeeze them even more until you feel that you want to loosen the tension. Hold on a little bit more and then let go. Relax your muscles and feel the tension go. Can you see the difference between tension and relaxation?
Now turn your attention to your arms. Tighten the muscles of your shoulders, upper and lower arms, and hands. Squeeze your hands to make a fist. Squeeze the muscles tighter and tighter. Hold the tension. Release and let your shoulders relax and your arms fall to your side. Let your hands open and fingers fall naturally.
Focus on your breathing. Take slow and even breaths. Breathe in relaxation. Breathe out the tension.
Do the same tightening and loosening exercises in other parts of your body. Focus on your buttocks and then your back next. Be careful as the spine is a delicate thing. You can then do your chest and stomach muscles. Finally, focus on your facial muscles.
The key is to enjoy the relaxation part as you loosen your muscles. Let this relaxed feeling linger and maintain the calmness of your mind. Stay on this level for a while before you get ready to awaken your body. Start by wiggling your fingers and toes. Swing your arms gently, shrug your shoulders, move your feet, and stretch.
One of the most popular relaxation exercises for better sleep is meditation. Some people find it hard to meditate without a guide. For guided meditation, you can listen to audio recordings that help you through your journey to deep sleep. Guided meditations often make use of slow relaxing music or a soothing background such as the waves of the ocean. You will also hear a soft hypnotizing voice which will help you through the mediation technique. But most of the work will be up to you.
You need to find a comfortable position. Sit in a Lotus position or lie down on bed. Close your eyes gently. Clear your mind of any thoughts as you listen to your guide. You will be asked to breathe deeply and slowly. You will feel your tense muscles relax as your mind becomes free of any thoughts. Simply focus on your breath as you listen to your guide. As the guided meditation ends, your mind and body will be ready for that much-deserved sleep.
Try any of these relaxation exercises for better sleep to finally attain that deep sleep you’ve been wanting for so long now. But don’t limit yourself to just one or even to the ones on this list.
Learn more: 16 Ways To Get More Restful Sleep