Relaxation techniques for sleep are essential for anyone who wants to perform at their full physical, mental and emotional capacity. While it is possible to get by with only a few hours of sleep, getting your full 8 to 9 hours is optimal. The following are some simple, powerful techniques for making sure you get your full 8 hours of rested sleep every night.
#1: A Natural, Healthy Diet
Meditation, visualization and other relaxation techniques can only do so much when it comes to preparing your body for sleep. Your body is an organic life form which obeys specific nutritional principles, and no amount of meditation can change that.
A body that is well nourished with foods high in vitamins, minerals, fiber and natural fats and carbs will have a much easier time digesting food, managing stress and relaxing. However, a body which is filled with preservative laced foods, refined sugars and saturated fats will have a harder time handling stress, relaxing at the end of the day and sleeping through the night.
A malnourished body is also more susceptible to late night cravings which could wake you from a sound sleep and cause you to fill your body with even more unnatural and unhealthy foods. So, if you want to get your full eight hours of rested sleep every night, incorporate more vegetables into your diet: kale, spinach, beets, carrots, broccoli, cauliflower and tomatoes.
Fruits such as apples, pears, avocadoes, bananas, blueberries, strawberries, blackberries and raspberries are also great for giving your body the nutrients it needs to manage stress well and to recharge itself during sleep.
#2: Managing Your Energy Wisely, Right from the Day’s Start
A lot of us assume that how well we sleep is determined by what we do just a few hours before bed, but that’s only a small part of the story. The way you start out the day also has a lot to do with how well you sleep at night.
For example, if you wake up and immediately do something which fills your mind with worry and other busy thoughts, that “cluttered” state of mind will become a habit and it will follow you throughout the entire day.
Introducing a lot of stress into your day early on can also make you dread getting up and thus leave your mind wide open to worrying thoughts as you’re trying to sleep. Try instead to wake yourself up with a good 15 minutes of focused exercise and another 5 minutes of guided meditation or relaxation before tackling your to-do list.
Next, take another few minutes to write out your daily action plan and to determine what you’re going to do first and what you’re going to do second, third, fourth and fifth etc. Knock out as many of the unpleasant tasks as you can early on, this way you won’t go through the entire day dreading what you still have to get done.
Once you have a good natural diet and a good solid energy management plan working for you, you’ll be able to get 100% benefit from the third of our relaxation techniques for sleep…
#3: A Simple Technique for Quieting Your Mind
As long as you’ve managed your time and energy right and properly nourished your body, relaxing just before bed should be as simple as relaxing your mind. The following is a mediation technique which Buddhist monks use to quiet their minds of the thoughts which cause anxiety and sleeplessness:
Take 15 minutes just before bed and get into a relaxed position, either sitting or lying down. The second any thought comes into your mind, acknowledge it with a simple statement like this:
“I’m thinking about my project that’s due tomorrow”
“Now I’m thinking about getting the oil changed in my car.”
“Now I’m thinking about walking the dog…”
Don’t try to bury the thought, analyze it or judge yourself for having it. No matter how disturbing or worrisome the thought might be, acknowledge it and wait for the next thought to come into your mind. Do this for 15 minutes a day over the next 7 days. As you do, you’ll notice that fewer thoughts enter your mind and that they’re easier to dismiss.
After 21 to 30 days using this technique, you should be able to completely quiet your mind for 15 minutes. At most, you’ll have two or three random thoughts during the 15 minutes, but you’ll be able to dismiss them quickly.
The most important thing to remember is that quieting your mind is a habit, just like learning to play an instrument. You won’t be able to quiet your mind right away, and your progress will seem very slow at first. But the more you do this, the better you’ll get at it and the easier it will be for you to quiet your mind and to get to sleep.
#4: Make the Bed Your Sanctuary
Our final relaxation tip for getting a sound sleep is to make your bed your “sleep sanctuary” by reserving it for sleep and sex only. Most people who have trouble sleeping watch TV in bed, read in bed, eat in bed, surf the web on their laptop in bed and all kinds of other things which keep their mind occupied
The more you do this, the harder it will be for your mind to equate your bed with the place of rest and sleep. So make your bed your “sleep sanctuary” and reserve it for sleeping and sex only.
If you make your bed your personal sanctuary and if you alter your diet to include your natural foods, manage your energy wisely right from the start of the day and learn to quiet your mind, you’ll realize the full benefit of using these relaxation techniques for sleep.