“Don’t just lie there, relax!” Easier said than done, isn’t it? When you suffer from insomnia, you feel alone, like everybody else in the world is asleep and only you are battling to get your forty winks.
As sleep remedies go, Progressive Muscle Relaxation (PMR) is popular among insomniacs. It’s part diversionary tactic, part good sense and if you decide to try it, give it a go for at least a week.
How to practice PMR
First, get comfy in bed and take some slow, deep breaths. Then, focus your attention on your body, relaxing each part in turn and making sure you leave the rest of your body nice and relaxed. Start from the top and work your way down.
- Forehead – Squeeze the muscles and hold for 15 seconds. Notice them becoming tighter and more tense. Slowly release the tension as you count to 30. You’ll notice that your muscles feel different. Continue releasing the tension until your forehead feels fully relaxed and breathe evenly and slowly.
- Smile – Smile widely enough that it creates tension in your cheeks. Hold for 10 seconds then relax.
- Eyes – Squint and hold your eyes tightly shut for 5 seconds then relax.
You will continue working your way down your body across the following areas:
- Neck and shoulders
- Arms and hands
- Feet and toes
Another technique is to count upwards as you tense your muscles, hold, then count backwards as you release them. You can tense whole muscle groups at a time such as the whole arm, or you can tense your fingers, then your wrists, then forearms, upper arms and onto your shoulders.
Keep in mind that you are doing this to help you fall asleep. It will help to distract your mind from over-thinking too so it has plenty to offer as a sleep remedy.