For those suffering from insomnia, a racing mind or tense body can be the root of their sleep problems. However, there is a technique that can help quiet a restless mind and relax a stiff body – progressive muscle relaxation.
This approach involves gradually tensing and relaxing your muscles, starting with your feet and working your way up to the rest of your body. It’s an effective method for calming the mind and reducing physical tension, making it an excellent tool for those who struggle to fall asleep.
To practice progressive muscle relaxation, begin by lying on your back in bed in a comfortable position, with a pillow under your head or knees to relax your back. Rest your arms with palms up, slightly apart from your body. Take several slow, deep breaths through your nose, exhaling with a long sigh to release tension.
Start by focusing on your toes and feet, curling them and arching them before relaxing them completely. Gradually move up to the next part of your body – your calves – tensing them before releasing them completely. Continue this pattern until you reach the top of your head. Take time to focus on each area you tense and relax while breathing softly to release any remaining tension. If thoughts distract you during this process, gently ignore them and return to focusing on breathing slowly through your nose.
It’s important to note that while progressive muscle relaxation can be helpful for some people with insomnia, it should not replace direct medical advice from a doctor or other qualified clinician.