Relaxation Procedures for Insomnia

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When you have a 2-3 minutes of free time during day or evening, and especially as you lie down to fall asleep, practice the following:   Simply close your eyes and take an especially deep breath, filling your lungs to capacity and then totally relax your chest and diaphragm and breath out naturally.   Breathing in deeply will help you focus and concentrate on your breathing, which is the goal of this exercise.  A single deep breath or two will help draw your attention to breathing because it feels somewhat different than your normal breathing.  You should continue breathing naturally, comfortably, but concentrating on how your breathing feels, notice how the your can feel and hear the air move in and out of your lungs.   If you lose concentration or start thinking about something else, try to catch yourself doing this and take another deep breath or two to help draw your attention back to breathing.  Imagine tension and muscle stress in your body being “breathed out” as you exhale.  In fact, when you will know you are getting skilled at this technique when your exhaling becomes so relaxed that when you exhale completely, you will feel that it would be pleasant if you could just lie there in peaceful comfort and not have to breathe in again.  Of course, you will want continue naturally breathing in.

Take yoga class or try some online yoga training via commercial programs, YouTube instructional videos, etc.  Yoga practice has been demonstrated to help with insomnia.  As you learn yoga, you will transfer some of the relaxation, meditative and breathing skills to your pre-sleep preparation behavior, after you immediately lie down to fall asleep.  I might add that these skills are also taught to people who are trying to reduce stress and counteract anxiety in their daily life.  

Copyright 2019  David M. Stein, Ph.D.  Readers are welcome to link to this article.   Copying this article without the written permission of the author is not permitted.  Copying the article and presenting it on another website without appropriately crediting the present author and linking to this website is considered plagiarism.  This action will be reported to state or provincial licensing boards as an ethics violation.