Did you know that on average we spend 26 years of their life sleeping? However, this does not necessarily mean that we get enough good quality sleep. In this article, we want to share with you a few simple relaxation techniques that can help you get better sleep.
Why Sleep Matters
According to different sleep theories sleep plays a role in learning, memory and brain plasticity. It also allows the body to restore itself and to utilize effectively energy resources.
So, if you want to thrive, you need more and better sleep. Otherwise, you are more likely to constantly burn out. And even if you do manage to accomplish what we want, that will be quite a flawed definition of success.
How To Get More And Better Sleep
#1. Progressive Muscle Relaxation
Progressive muscle relaxation is a perfect way to relieve any tension. Set aside 15 min and choose a comfortable sitting or lying position.
The exercise requires holding and releasing different muscle groups. These include your forehead, eyes, mouth, neck and shoulders, chest, arms and hands, stomach, buttocks, legs and feet. Hold each muscle tension for 5 seconds and pause for 10 seconds before you move to the next. While you pause, remember to breathe deeply.
#2. Yoga Breathing Exercises
Deep breathing exercises can also be very helpful when you find it hard to calm down your mind. You can find various breathing exercises for anxiety. However, if you are just starting, we recommend that you try the 4-7-8 breathing exercise of Dr. Andrew Weil. First, breathe in for 4 seconds. Second, hold your breath for 7 seconds. Third, breathe out for 8 seconds. Make 4 cycles of this breathing and you will start feeling much more relaxed.
#3. Guided Imagery
Guided imagery is one of our favourite relaxation techniques because you can easily do it anywhere anytime. Close your eyes and focus your attention on a relaxing story/image. For instance, a lot of people find it relaxing to imagine a calming beach. Whenever you get distracted, simply move your thoughts back and keep practising.
#4. The Power Of Sound
Similar to breathing exercises, humming can help you relax your face, neck and shoulder muscles. You can also create the habit of listening to peaceful soothing instrumental music before you go to bed.
#5. The Right Bedtime Beverages And Treats
If you want to get more and better sleep, avoid caffeine after lunchtime. Yet, stay hydrated by drinking a cup of herbal tea (mint, chamomile or lavender).
In terms of snacks, we recommend that you eat foods that contain magnesium, tryptophan and calcium (i.e. berries, bananas, yoghurt).
#6. Put A Pijama On, Turn Off Mobile Devices And Prepare Your Bedroom
According to Arianna Huffington, author of The Sleep Revolution, there are specific acts that prompt sleep signals to our brains. Changing into a pyjama is one of them. Besides, it is important to keep our bedrooms quiet, dark and cool, as well as to only use the bed for sex and sleep.
Last, but not least, remember that no relaxation techniques will help you get proper sleep if you then stare at a blue light-radiating device. So, make sure you disconnect from your mobile devices at least 30 min before bedtime.