After a tiring day, everybody looks forward to a peaceful sleep. Unfortunately, sleep doesn’t come easy to some people. Having difficulty falling asleep has become common around the world. According to studies, one-third of adults experience chronic insomnia, which is a sleep disorder. Both short-term and long-term sleeping issues are increasing in the United States, as many people have reported trouble falling asleep. Several reasons can cause sleeping disorders, and it could be as simple as drinking coffee late at night or a serious condition like anxiety. People try different methods to manage sleeping issues, but it is better to avoid sleeping pills. Natural techniques are more beneficial than medications, as they don’t have any side effects.
Sleep and Anxiety
Stress is the major cause of sleeping disorders. Since anxiety prepares the body for the “fight or flight” reaction, it can lead to fear, racing thoughts, and increased heart rate. All the symptoms can make it difficult to fall asleep or stay asleep, as well as unrested sleep. Anxiety can contribute to acute insomnia, which lasts for a short time. It can be caused by triggers, such as an argument or other stress-inducing events. On the other hand, constant anxiety can result in chronic insomnia, which can last for a month or two. Sleep and anxiety are closely linked together. While insomnia is considered a common symptom of anxiety, poor sleeping habits can produce anxiety, too. Lack of sleep, also known as sleep deprivation, can increase stress and anxiety.
Relaxation Exercises to Fall Asleep
A calm mind is essential for falling asleep, which is why stress-relieving exercises can be beneficial. Relaxation exercises can reduce blood pressure, regulate breathing, and maintain a normal heart rate. Experts believe that controlling these factors can make people fall asleep. Here are four exercises that can solve your sleeping problems:
It involves a combination of inhaling, holding, and exhaling your breath. 4-7-8 is a breathing exercise famous for releasing stress, so it can be beneficial for sleeping disorders. While sitting with your back straight, close your mouth and place the tip of your tongue at the back of your upper front teeth. Inhale in from your nose for 4 seconds, and hold your breath for 7 seconds. Next, exhale through your mouth for 8 seconds. Your tongue should remain in the same spot throughout the exercise, even during exhalation. Unlike inhaling, your exhaling shouldn’t be soundless. It should sound like you’re blowing out a candle, natural and audible.
At times, people unintentionally hyperventilate and need to reset to a normal breathing rhythm. Buteyko breathing slows the breathing and focuses on inhalation from the nose. Like other yogi breathing exercises, it maintains an aligned connection between the mind and the body through normal breathing. Buteyko breathing contains seven exercises, as people have different comfort levels. The basic variation involves sitting in a comfortable position, closing your mouth, and breathing through your nose. When you notice the more congested nostril, gently place your thumb and forefinger on the nostril. Inhale from the unblocked nostril, and focus on slowing your breathing. Once you’re breathing softly, concentrate on the reaction of your body and mouth. When you feel the need to take a breath, exhale once and pinch your nose gently on the second exhale. You will notice your respiration rate decreasing and your mind calming down.
Progressive Muscle Relaxation
Along with your mind, anxiety can cause tension in your muscles too. It is unnoticeable most of the time, but releasing muscle tension can be extremely relaxing. Progressive muscle relaxation exercise involves tensing and relaxing the muscles in your body. Generally, you begin with your toes and reach all the way up to your neck or head. However, it can be done the other way around, as well. You will tense your muscles while inhaling for about 5 seconds and then suddenly relax them for 30 seconds while exhaling. Take a short break of 20-30 seconds before moving on to the next muscle group.
Visualization involves creating an imagery in your mind and focusing on your well-being. It includes imagining a peaceful, beautiful, and calming place while using all your senses. Close your eyes, loosen any tight clothing, and focus on positive thoughts. Another visualization technique includes breathing and visualizing any discomfort leaving your body with the exhale. Practice a breathing exercise and focus on a part of your body. If you feel any tension, try to release it as you breathe out. Gradually, shift to the other parts of your body and repeat the steps one by one. Visualization can be helpful for releasing stress, making you fall asleep quickly.
Do Relaxation Exercises Work?
Relaxation exercises have numerous benefits for your body, such as lowering heart rate, reducing blood pressure, and increasing blood flow. They mainly work on releasing any tension, anxiety, and stress inside your body. A medical news site, Health Canal, believes that relaxation exercises are excellent for sleeping problems. Therefore, practicing relaxation exercises will only lead to advantages and calmness.