Our lives are all full of stress and so much to do. Slowing down long enough to get a good night’s rest can be overwhelming and difficult. Relaxation exercises are a great way to calm your nerves, slow your mind, and prepare your body for a deep and restful sleep. In this blog we are going to share with you some different types of bedtime relaxation exercises you can do in order to get to sleep easier. Keep reading to learn more.
Breathing Exercises For Sleep
If you have ever done any meditation or yoga, then you know how much controlling your breath can change everything. Especially if you have anxiety, learning to slow and deepen the breaths that you take can be very helpful.
Although we may not realize it at first, with stress we often keep our breathing short and shallow. Yet when we sleep our breathing naturally becomes deep. By using breathing exercises we can relax the body and mind by evening our breathing and getting ready for sleep.
Struggling with headaches? Learn more about how sleep and headaches affect each other in our post: Headaches & Sleep
Breathing Exercise Example:
This is the 4-7-8 breathing technique. First allow for your lips to part and exhale making a “whoosh” sound. Then close your lips and inhale deeply through your nose for a count of 4. Hold that breath for a count of 7. Then exhale through the mouth to a count of 8. Repeat several times until it feels natural.
Visualization Exercises For Sleep
You may not even realize that you are already familiar with a kind of visualization exercise for sleep, but you are. Ever heard of counting sheep? The concept of counting an endless pack of sheep jumping over a fence is the most common and well known sleep visualization around.
Sheep are soft and gentle, visualizing the sheep one by one jumping over a fence and counting them is enough to maintain focus on this task instead of a number of daily life situations that may cause stress of anxiety.
This monotonous task is enough to keep your mind from running wild, while also not overly stimulating to where you cannot gently fall asleep. Which is what visualizations is all about.
Learn more about how to set up a relaxing nightly routine in our post: Stress Free Nightly Routine
Visualization Exercise Example:
Imagine a peaceful an relaxing place outdoors. Perhaps it is somewhere you have been before, or it is purely created from your imagination. Then imagine you are laying in this place and think of all the different details. What does it smells like, can you hear a creek nearby? Feel the breeze on your cheeks. Get as creative and detailed as possible.
Meditation Before Bed
Often times meditation can look very similar to the exercises we mentioned previously. This is because there are many different ways to meditate. A lot of different variations of meditation use visualization and breathing techniques in order to focus or relax.
Not all meditation is made to help you fall asleep though. Some meditations are used to focus the mind or work towards a life goal. Some are used purely to bring strength in focus or even enlightenment. So be sure as you look up meditation practices, or guided meditations be sure the goal of the meditation is to relax the body and mind in preparation for sleep.
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Meditation For Sleep Example:
First get in a position that is relaxed and comfortable for you. This could be a seated position or even laying down in bed on your back with your palms facing up. Take a slow deep breath in, deeper than you have taken all day.
Fill yourself up with air and then slowly release the breath, as you do this allow your eyes to close. Keep breathing like this and allow your mind to let go off all your daily stresses.
Take note of the state of your body from the top of your body to the tips of your toes. What areas are stressed or tense, then breath into that tension and let that tension go. Set an intention on what kind of sleep you want to achieve. Whether you want restful sleep, peaceful sleep, or deep. Continue to do this until you allow yourself to fall asleep.
Podcasts For Sleep & Relaxation Practices
The wonderful new world of Podcasts is growing and changing. There are now many fabulous free podcasts for just about everything. We have a whole list of podcasts that are perfect to fall asleep to. Some of them even feature relaxation techniques in them.
Whether you are looking for a podcast that walks you through a meditation/relaxation exercise. Or you are just want a relaxing podcast that gives you voices and music to listen to in the background as you fall asleep. There is a little something for everyone in the world of podcasts.
Click To Learn More About Our Favorite Top Podcasts For Sleep
Example of Podcasts With Sleep Exercises:
Nothing Much Happens, a sleep podcast that tells delightful and peaceful stories spoken in a soft and relaxing voice. Stories in which, well nothing much happens. Plot is not the point of these stories. In reality it is a kind of visualization exercise that is written out for you.
Allowing your mind to peacefully follow the path of the story being told. Each episode starts with a little bit of breathing and relaxation before the story begins. It is a great option for anyone looking to give their mind a little something to enjoy as they fall asleep.
Click HERE to listen to Nothing Much Happens. Or listen wherever you get your podcasts.
Stretching Before Bed
This relaxation exercise is a treat for the body and helps prevents aches and pains. Throughout the day, our bodies work hard for us so we can do everything that needs to get done. Whether that is hauling luggage, doing manual labor, standing on your feet all day, or sitting for hours on end in an office chair. All of these things will cause different tensions, aches and pains.
Stretching before you go to sleep will help relax your muscles, stretch out tension in the body and make you feel limber and ready for sleep. If you go to sleep with a body full of tight tense muscles, you will likely wake up in more pain than when you went to sleep.
Yoga is a great way to stretch as night and in the morning! Learn more in our post Stress Free Morning Routine
Examples of Good Stretches To Do Before Bed:
There are so many different stretches you can do from head to toe. We suggest doing a once over on your whole body and then allowing extra focus on your most stressed areas. A common area for tension is in the neck and shoulders. For this stand up straight and tall and allow your head to fall to the side. Breath into the stretch for a few moments and then do the other side.
Anxiety and Sleep
Trying to sleep with anxiety is no easy task. Even when you do manage to get to sleep, often you may find yourself waking up in the middle of the night unable to calm yourself back to sleep.
One thing we wanted to note here is that these exercises will not only help you to go to bed at night. They can also be used to lull yourself back to sleep if you find yourself waking up throughout the evening as well.
You May Also Like: How To Sleep Better With Anxiety
Relaxation Exercises Before Bed – Final Thoughts:
While typically relaxing is seen as easy. However, getting your mind, body, and soul to let go of stress and tension sometimes takes practice. Which is what these relaxation exercises are made to do. Practicing these exercises will make it easier for you to let go of anxiety and worries, as well as physical pain and stress in order to allow yourself to have a deep and restful sleep. All so you can wake up feeling refreshed and ready to take on the world.
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