Those who are tense on a physical or mental level often find it difficult to sleep. The reason for this is the inner restlessness that makes those affected feel alert and caressed. If you also feel familiar with this phenomenon, you can learn relaxation exercises that lead to more inner peace and serenity. We will give you an overview of which breathing techniques and relaxation exercises can help with stress.
Relaxation Exercise for the Muscles: Progressive Muscle Relaxation (PMR)
In the PMR, the muscle groups in the body are first tense in a certain order and then released. This creates a very deep relaxation that can help you fall asleep.
The PMR is a relaxation exercise that should be properly learned for the best results. Support is provided by a CD or you can attend a special course in a training center directly. In both cases, you will be guided through the tension and relaxation phases: usually, the muscle groups are tense for about five to seven seconds and then relaxed for about 20 to 30 seconds before the next group’s turn.
If you want to perform progressive muscle relaxation at home, you should pay attention to the following points:
- Look for a quiet room, for example the bedroom.
- Take around 30 minutes for the PMR.
- Close your eyes during the exercises – this increases the effect.
- If possible, relax after a while.
Especially at the beginning it is important to practice the PMR every day to get used to the exercises and to learn to “relax”.
My tip: Take this relaxation exercise daily at 8pm. At this time, dinner is over in most families and you can start the PMR in a relaxed evening.
Relaxation exercises against stress and breathing techniques to fall asleep: yoga and meditation
Yoga is an Indian apprenticeship that has become indispensable in gyms or training centers around the world. The yoga practice combines physical exercise sequences (so-called asanas) with breathing techniques and relaxation exercises.
Yoga is more than just a sport: for experienced yogis, it is much more of an attitude towards life that does not end when the yoga mat is left. The goal is to find more peace and serenity in everyday life. This attitude leads to less stress and more relaxation, which ultimately has a positive effect on sleep.
Yoga should not be practiced at the beginning. There are many experienced teachers who offer courses in special studios or community colleges. Here you will learn how to keep your body in the right exercises – so minimize the risk of injury that should not be underestimated in yoga.
You can also try meditation and pure relaxation exercises at home. The following breathing exercise, inspired by yoga practice, can help you fall asleep:
- Put your tongue to the palate, just behind your teeth.
- Take a deep breath through your nose and count to four.
- Hold your breath and count to seven.
- Now you can breathe out through your mouth and count to eight.
Practice this relaxation exercise four times in the morning – to start the day off well – and four times in the evening for better sleep.
Learning to relax with qigong and tai-chi
Qigong: This is a Far Eastern movement theory that is part of traditional Chinese medicine. According to her, the entire human body is traversed by energy lines (called meridians), which can be blocked by stress or illness. With the help of Qigong, the energy flow should be revived. The practice consists of meditation, concentration and relaxation exercises as well as movement sequences, which were influenced by the Chinese martial arts. Qigong is thus complex and should therefore be learned from the ground up. In addition to community colleges, there are also special studios that offer qigong.
Tai Chi: The Chinese movement art is based primarily on slow movements that merge smoothly into each other. Therefore Tai-Chi is also called movement meditation. Like qigong, tai chi can be learned well in special courses and, after some practice, can be practiced alone at home or outdoors. With regular practice, the physical and mental relaxation should improve, which in turn has a positive effect on sleep.
Relaxation exercises under stress: Conclusion
The listed relaxation exercises can be wonderfully learned at any age. This also applies to very body-related relaxation exercises such as Tai-Chi: They can be practiced at different levels of difficulty, adapted to the physical condition. Speaking of practice: This is probably the catch of the exercises, because all must be carried out regularly in order to achieve success.