It’s the end of a busy day, your mind is racing from all the things you have done, and all that needs to be done in the morning. How are you going to get some quality sleep? How can you relax your mind for the next seven or eight hours? Here are some tips to getting better sleep.
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At the American Institute of Stress (AIS), they have a typical answer to explain how to relax. While everyone may have different ways of showing their stress, there is one “Super Stress Buster” that AIS recommends as a useful relaxation technique for everyone, even kids!
Would you like to guess what that is? BREATHING! Did you guess the right answer?
Practicing the technique of “simply breathing” is free and it can be practiced anywhere. The essence of relaxation is – “Focused Breathing”. Deep breathing increases the supply of oxygen to your brain and stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system. This, in turn, promotes a state of calmness in your body according to AIS.
One AIS Certified Technique, is Quieting Response
This utilizes “visualization” and “deep breathing”. They claim it only takes 6 seconds!
#1 “Smile Inwardly” using your eyes and your mouth.
#2 Release the tension in your shoulders.
#3 Inhale. Imagine holes in the soles of your feet. Take a deep breath in and relax as you imagine hot air flowing through the soles of your feet, up your feet and your legs. Imagine it traveling through your belly and your lungs, clear to the top of your body. Relax.
#4 Exhale. Reverse your visualization. “See” the hot air traveling down from the top of your head, through your body and exiting out the same holes in the soles of your feet.
#5 Repeat until you feel calm and relaxed.
Another AIS Technique for Kids is – Teddy Bear Breathing.
- Lie on your back.
- Place one hand on your chest.
- Place your favorite teddy bear on your belly button.
- Close your eyes and relax your entire body.
- Slowly breath in through your nose. The Teddy bear should slowly rise, and your chest should remain motionless. (Belly breathing)
- Hold your breath and count to 3.
- Slowly exhale.
- Repeat until you feel calm and relaxed.
Visualization, Relaxation, and Breathing Exercises
Visualization, relaxation, and breathing exercises are all ways to slow down your body and brain. They help you lay aside the busyness of the day and relax for a good night’s sleep.
The US Military Technique
According to Sharon Ackerman’s book titled “Relax and Win: Championship Performance”, to get a good night’s sleep you could follow the US Military Technique.
Those in the military need to sleep wherever they are, even amidst artillery fire.
I found these steps in the technique.
- FOCUS on relaxing your muscles. Begin at the head, close your eyes, and relax your brow. Actively try not to move, and just “let go” of those muscles. This is a good start… just keep your eyes closed.
- Next relax your mouth, cheeks, and jaw muscles. Let your entire head relax, all the while, keeping your eyes closed.
- Work the relaxation technique to your shoulders. Let your shoulders and arms rest by your side. Some people find it works best to concentrate on one side at a time.
- Exhale, relaxing your chest. You should be relaxed down to your belt.
- Now it is time to concentrate on the Breathing aspect of the US Military Technique.
With your upper body relaxed, now focus on your breathing. Take big, slow breaths, and slowly exhale. Feel your breath as it enters and leaves your nostrils.
Clear Your Mind
Rid your mind of all negative thoughts as you focus on breathing… in and out, in and out. Focus on something serene: Clouds or floating on the water. Whatever increases your relaxed state of mind.
Relax the Rest of Your Body
Relax your legs, feet, and toes, one side at a time. Allow them to fall into a comfortable position.
Focus on Something Simple
Now that you are relaxed and have a serene mindset, repeat a small, simple phrase over and over in your mind. Something like “time to sleep”, “time to sleep”, or “don’t think”, “don’t think”, repeat this over and over in your mind until your mind is as relaxed as the rest of your body.
Completely relax and focus your mind on one single thought to fall asleep quickly and get a better night’s sleep.
More Tips to Getting Better Sleep
The 4-7-8 Technique helps some people fall asleep quickly.
- Purse your lips as you exhale.
- Close your lips and silently inhale to the count of 4.
- Hold your breath for 7 seconds.
- Exhale to the count of 8.
Repeat until you are relaxed enough to sleep.
Try a Cup of Herbal Tea Before Bedtime
Sleepytime Herbal Tea with chamomile, spearmint, and lemon grass are a great way to unwind.
Sleepytime Herbal Tea Extra has Valerian root to give an extra boost for sound sleep.
Try to Stay Awake.
Some true insomniacs find trying to fall asleep only makes them more anxious. Research shows that if you tell yourself to stay awake, sometimes you fall asleep faster. If you are stressed out by lack of sleep, this method may be helpful.
Are there times when you can’t fall asleep? There are a variety of methods to help you fall asleep faster and get a better-quality sleep. Visualization and deep breathing, as the American Institute of Stress suggests, Teddy bear breathing, and the Military Technique. The 4-7-8 Technique is also an option. If all else fails, just tell yourself that you are not sleepy until you fall asleep.
Please Leave a Comment
What tips to getting better sleep do you have? Do you have a tip that never fails for you?
Disclaimer: If you have any concerns or questions about your health, you should always consult with a physician or other healthcare professional. No content on this site should be substituted for direct medical advice from your doctor or another qualified healthcare practitioner. The information contained here is for informational purposes only. It is from my research and personal experience.