How can I combine muscle and breathing relaxation techniques to be able to get the optimal sleep for the night?
Last Updated: 02/06/2017 at 2:27am
Jamitia Wilson, MS, LAC
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Anyone who has practiced meditation using relaxation and focus on breathing techniques would know experientially how the technique produces a calming and trance like feeling that can make you fall deep asleep or you can equally well wake up and go your way feeling rested. The ideal time for meditation is between 10 to 20 minutes at a time when we do not feel sleepy. Ideally one should not use meditation as a way to fall asleep, because it makes you loose the benefit of the meditation. However if you practice meditation regularly, you can't help but use it to fall asleep. That's how I often use relaxation and breathing to fall asleep. After laying down in a comfortable position, I consciously let go of the tension in my body and sink myself in the bed like feeling a sack of potatoes dropping. I feel my weight sink into the bed and have a sensation of weightlessness. I don't particularly think about trying to sleep. I merely focus my attention on feeling the air flowing in and out of my nose, observing the sensation of breathing. Being totally engaged in the sensation of the air flowing, I feel that my breathing acquires a natural rhythm of its own. The focus on my breathing makes all my ideas and thoughts melt away and I can never tell when I have fallen asleep. It is magically effortless. There is a simple explanation of why this works so well. What keeps us from falling asleep are the thoughts in our head and the anxiety that says I need to sleep but I can't make myself do it, thus getting upset about not being able to sleep. So the active mind takes over and keeps one awake. Now whenever you focus attention exclusively on a body sensation like the flow of the air through the nostrils in the natural act of breathing , you break the attention link to your thought processes. In breaking the grip that your thoughts have on you, you start to feel your thoughts drifting by like traffic on the road by your house, they just go by without your hitching a ride on any of them. Thus breaking your attention away from your thoughts, enables you to fall asleep and to go quickly into dream cycles that give you a deep sensation of relaxation. Deep sleep is thus a wonderful therapy.
Try to listen to a guided mediation for relaxation , it helps you clear your mind and sleep better .
Do breathing exercises first, then take a break of 5 to 10 mins, then do muscular exercises. Before sleeping try to meditate while lying, meditate on a healthy state of your body being at an idyllic place. Might help.
Try to breathe with your abdomen rather than your chest. It takes getting used to, but it is very calming.
Learn Yoga- Breathing Technique. I am sure that will help you. Also a quick home remedy: apply any menthol based gel on the base of your feet and pull up socks and sleep. Warm feet brings quick sleep.
Take 5 deep breaths. Try not to focus on what happened throughout the day and just relax. You'll fall asleep quicker and it's the best way to combine muscle and breathing relaxation!
One method of progressive muscle relaxation is to start by tensing and relaxing the muscles in your toes and progressively working your way up to your neck and head. You can also start with your head and neck and work down to your toes. Tense your muscles for at least five seconds and then relax for 30 seconds, and repeat.
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