When you become trapped in this cycle, it’s important to break it.
The importance of relaxation
Like anything though, regular practice will improve your skills and make it more effective when you need to use it.
Aims of insomnia treatment
The main aim is to re-establish a good pattern of being awake and alert during the day and sleepiness at night.
How can you do this
- You should try to stay moderately active during the day and get plenty of exposure to natural light.
- Avoid napping during the day and establish a wind down routine towards bedtime. You can find more tips on this in this post.
- Keep your sleep time as regular as possible, regardless of whether you had a poor nights sleep the night before.
- Try to still do all you usual day time activities and don’t restrict them if you’ve had a bad night’s sleep the night before.
- Develop a stronger association between bed and sleep. If you’re lying in bed awake for 20 minutes, get up and move to another room. Relax or read until you feel sleep then try going back to bed.
There are a number of techniques you can use to help with relaxation that promotes sleep. Common ones are breathing techniques and progressive muscle relaxation.
- Sit or lie down in a comfortable position. Close your eyes.
- Breathe in and out slowly for about five minutes. As you inhale, breathe down into your belly and feel it expanding. Focus on your breath.
- It can be helpful to also use affirmations. Normally affirmations and things are a bit woo for me but it is known that repetition of thoughts and phrases can help reinforce a message in your brain. Try a phrase such as, “Breathing in I am calm, breathing out I am coping.”
Progressive muscle relaxation:
- Sit or lie down in a comfortable position.
- Take a few gentle breaths, in and out.
- Start by tensing groups of muscles one at a time as you breathe. Hold the tension as you inhale, then release it as you exhale. Take a few breaths as you notice how relaxed each muscle group feels.
- It’s usually best (and easier) to start with the muscles in your head, neck and face. Move down to your shoulders, hands and arms, back, stomach, buttocks, thighs, calves and feet.
- Repeat the exercise for any areas that still feel tense.