Insomnia is often caused by a worried, stressed, or anxious mind and can often be treated by learning how to release physical tensions, reduce agitation, and relax better. Relaxation techniques to treat insomnia are often performed before going to bed, which can prevent you from “actively trying” to relax, which may worsen your insomnia.
Use these meditation techniques to limit your level of agitation before bedtime.
Progressive Muscle Relaxation
It allows you to bring relaxation throughout your entire body by repeatedly tensing and relaxing your muscles.
1. Choose a place where you can lie down or sit and get into a convenient body posture. Get a couple of pillows, place one under your head and place another under your knees to help lower part of your body to relax. With palms up, try to place your arms slightly apart.
2. Take a few deep, slow breaths through your nose and by exhaling with a long sigh you can slowly release tension.
3. Begin to bring your awareness on your ankles and feet. Tighten those muscles briefly (about 5 seconds) and then completely relax them. Then allow your attention to move away from them.
4. Slowly and quietly move your attention to other parts of your body: for example, hips, thighs, pelvic area, calves, and lower back; your middle back, abdomen, upper back, hands, arms, and shoulders; your scalp, jaw, tongue, forehead, and neck.
5. If certain thoughts tend to distract you, take a deep breath, observe, let them subside and continue your attention to your body and breathing. Trying to suppress your thoughts may actually make them stronger.
Deep Breathing Technique
It is also often called diaphragmatic breathing, it slows respiration, leading to better overall relaxation and can give better quality sleep. Its basic principle is to emulate how we breathe when we’re asleep (slow breathing that predominantly uses diaphragm, located between the chest and the abdomen), instead of the normal type that we do when we’re awake (using chest muscles).
1. Choose a quiet place where you can comfortably lie down on your back with both feet slightly apart. Gently rest one hand on your chest and the other hand on your abdomen, just near your navel.
2. Inhale deeply through your nose and slowly exhale through your mouth until your lungs almost empty. Concentrate on your breathing and observe how your hands are moving. Make sure the hand that is placed on your chest does not move and the one on your abdomen follows your breaths.
3. Gently inhale, make sure your abdomen is relaxed and allow it to rise and fall with your breath. Imagine warmth moving into your lungs and other parts of your body. Stop for a moment, count to four, gently exhale, let your diaphragm relax and make your abdomen fall slowly. Pause again for awhile.
4. Repeat this process for about 5 or 10 times, until you feel fully relaxed.
Some meditation techniques can eliminate stress and make you feel relaxed just before bedtime. Each meditation guru may have different techniques, but key steps usually include the following:
1. Find a comfortable and quiet place to sit, wear loose clothing.
2. Close your eyes lightly, allow both hands to relax and rest on your lap.
3. Take a couple of deep breaths and exhale slowly.
4. Choose a simple and short word like easy, peace, calm, sleepy or relax, a religious phrase or word, or a common mantra like om. As you breathe, repeat the word aloud or in your mind.
5. Breathe regularly with relaxed muscles. You should also count your breaths and start over every fifth breath.
Also called guided imagery technique, it can help you to mentally remove yourself from emotional pressures. These are common steps:
1. Lie or sit somewhere comfortable and then close your eyes.
2. Imagine your favorite place that can make you feel peaceful, such as the woods or the beach, a place where you had a restful holiday.
3. Breathe deeply and slowly until you feel fully relaxed.
4. Focus on all of your five senses, imagine what you smell, feel, hear, taste and see in that place. Continue to imagine yourself in that place for 5 to 10 minutes until it is firm on your mind.
5. Slowly return your attention to your present self.
Although it is more commonly used to treat migraine and headaches, it can also help you to get rid of insomnia.
It is a form of treatment that allows you to have control on certain physiological functions for example, heart rate, muscle tension, breathing, skin temperature, blood pressure, perspiration, and even brain waves. With better control on your internal functions, you can reduce stress and get better quality of sleep. In a biofeedback training, several sensors, which are connected to a machine can detect fluctuations in your pulse, blood pressure, muscle activity, brain-wave pattern, skin temperature, or other physiological functions. These changes are indicated by specific signals, such as noises, blinking lights, or video patterns, to accurately show what physiological changes that have occurred. Progressively, a biofeedback therapist can help you to modify your inner signal and control your body’s physiology. Advanced users no longer need for monitors or sensors, and they can use similar techniques at home.
The effectiveness of the five relaxation techniques presented here is related to whether you can have regular sessions. We tend to begin with enthusiasm, get moderate success, but then slowly return to their prior sleep habit because we start abandon the practice or method after a few weeks.