6 relaxation techniques for sleep

6min reading
6 relaxation techniques for sleep

Relaxation techniques for sleep are a great way to let go of the day’s events and worries and fall asleep more easily. But with so many out there it can be hard to know where to begin. To help you out, we tried, tested, researched, talked with sleep experts- here’s our pick of the best relaxation techniques for sleep out there, from breathing exercises to cognitive exercises. We’ve even explained how to do them step by step- so you can get started on these relaxation techniques for sleep this evening.  

2 pre-bedtime relaxation techniques for sleep 

Relaxation technique #1: The notebook technique 

Do you ever get into bed and wish you could just ’turn your brain off’? Well, you’re not alone, parasitic thoughts are one of the major problems that crop up at bedtime making falling asleep harder. Not all that surprising considering a lot of us don’t take time out to relax during the day.
So, of course, once you get into bed, your brain keeps ticking away, planning the next day’s agenda, thinking back over the day’s events and so on.  These preoccupations can and will stop you getting to sleep. But don’t worry, we’re not going to let them! Let’s  lock these thoughts away- using the notebook technique. 

How it works:

Before going to bed, sit down at a table with a notebook (not a laptop, phone or tablet- a good old-fashioned paper notebook). Take 5 minutes to write a list of all the things you need to do the next day, as well as anything else you need to remember. Once you’re done, close the notebook, leave it on the table and go to bed, ready to sleep with a weight off your shoulders. 

Relaxation technique #2: The bedtime routine

 We all know how important bedtime routines are for kids (teeth-brushing, story-time etc). But did you know that they’re also important for adults? Yes making your own bedtime routine is a great relaxation technique for sleep!  All thanks to a phenomenon called mental conditioning. 

relaxation techniques for sleep

How it works:

We’re not your parents, and you’re a grown-up!  It’s up to you to decide what you want your sleep routine to be. That said, we do have a few recommendations: A meditation exercise, a herbal infusion (made from plants that favor sleep and relaxation), a warm shower or bath (not hot, as hot showers wake you up), a glass of milk, a square of chocolate…
And, in case you were wondering- scrolling through your Facebook feed is not a recommended addition. 

Once you’re in bed- 4 relaxation techniques for sleep  

Relaxation technique # 3: The mental picture book

This relaxation technique is simple, free, and anyone can do it, all you need is a little imagination! 

How it works: 

Imagine yourself in a nice place/ situation and concentrate on this image with your eyes closes. Move around the scene, taking in all the details and let yourself enjoy this warm and comforting environment to the max. A deserted beach, a happy memory with family or friends, maybe you’re winning the world series: If it makes you feel good- it works! 

Relaxation technique #4: Weight visualization

When we fall asleep, our muscles relax naturally. This is useful and necessary, and you can boost the process with a visualization exercise. 

How it works:

Once you’re in bed and ready to sleep, make sure that all your limbs, head and neck are resting comfortably. Then mentally scan over each part of your body, one after the other, imagining a sensation of heaviness. 
Start with your legs (left then right), your arms (left then right), your head (your whole head, and then pay particular attention to your neck and jaw), your torso, and then finish the exercise by imagining heaviness in your entire body. Don’t fight it and continue to let yourself go before finally falling asleep. This technique is also known as the Body Scan and is one of Dreem’s relaxation functionalities

You can then continue with one of the 2 following relaxation techniques for sleep.

Relaxation technique #5: Equal Breathing

In order to fall asleep, we naturally slow down our breathing. Encouraging this slowing down by breathing exercises will help you fall asleep. Equal Breathing (sometimes known as sama vritti) is easy-to-learn, simple and effective. 

How it works: 

  1. Take a deep breath in expanding your belly (this is known as diaphragmatic breathing). Slowly count to 4. 
  2. After 4 counts, when your lungs feel full at the ’top’ of your inhalation, take a moment to feel full.
  3. Then slowly exhale for 4 counts. 
  4. Take a moment here to feel empty, before repeating the process. 

Remember this is a relaxation technique and not an endurance challenge! Don’t hold your breath for too long at the top and bottom of each count. Little by little, you’ll be able to stop holding your breath in between inhaling and exhaling,  your breathing falls into rhythm, slows down and you drift off to sleep.

Relaxation technique #6: 4-7-8 breathing 

This technique will help you slow down your breathing and help distract your mind from racing thoughts by focusing it on counting instead. Before starting the exercises, exhale to get rid of all the air in your lungs. 

How it works: 

  1. Breathe in through your nose for 4 seconds.
  2. Hold your breath for 7 seconds.
  3. Breathe out through your mouth for 8 seconds (make some noise too- trust us on this one). 

After you’ve repeated this exercise 4 times you should start to feel calmer and more prepared for sleep. 4-7-8 breathing can be a little tricky to get the hang of at first. 

What technique are you going to try? 

Slowing down your breathing, relaxing your muscles, getting rid of racing thoughts and finally letting go… It can sound like a lot, but you already know how to do it, every time you fall asleep you naturally go through these stages.

These relaxation techniques are here to help you get there quicker, making them useful for those nights when falling asleep is just a little bit harder. 
We recommend varying these techniques depending on what you prefer or what you feel like. If even with the help of these techniques, you find it hard to fall asleep you may be suffering from insomnia. But there are plenty of effective ways to address this and other problems related to sleeplessness
So, which technique will become your bedtime go-to favorite? Try them out and let us know how you get on! 

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