How To Practice Muscle Relaxation For A Better Sleep? Guide And Tools To Use

How To Practice Muscle Relaxation For A Better Sleep? Guide And Tools To Use

Relaxing is essential for your peace of mind. In addition, relaxation techniques help to keep your stress levels at bay. It enables you to cope with health problems such as chronic pain and anxiety. 

There are many tools like muscle massagers to relax your muscles at home without any hassle.

At times we humans get so involved in our busy, stressful schedules that we forget to take care of our minds and body. Simply stepping away from your hectic life, even if it's just for 10 minutes, can decrease the stress levels in your body.

Less stress translates into a more efficiently working body. In addition, studies have shown that different relaxation techniques can help decrease the risk of several health issues.

Benefits Of Muscle Relaxation

Relaxing your body has its fair share of health benefits. Using simple muscle relaxation techniques can help your muscles to relax. Here are some other benefits:

  • Improved sleep
  • Stable blood pressure
  • Better digestion 
  • Higher productivity
  • Reduce muscle tension
  • Improvement in mood
  • Confidence boost
  • Normal blood sugar level
  • Increased blood flow
  • Reducing chronic pain 
  • Slower heart rate

Many health benefits come with muscle relaxation. Additionally, along with these benefits having a positive mindset is also essential.

Muscle Relaxation Techniques for Better Sleep

Not being able to fall asleep is a prevalent problem now. Many adults these days experience a sleep disorder known as insomnia. Insomnia is having difficulties falling asleep or staying asleep. 

However, if you're having issues sleeping, that doesn't necessarily mean that you have a chronic sleep disorder. Stress and anxiety go hand in hand, and they are usually the root cause of sleep issues.

Our body responds to stress by activating its stress response system, a plethora of hormones that wake us up and make us more alert.

Additionally, it also brings different physiological changes in our body, such as digestion slows down, blood pressure increases, breathing increases, muscles get tense, and heart rate rises. 

The activation of our body’s natural stress response makes it harder to fall asleep to counteract that relaxation techniques are used to calm down the mind and body.

Below are some methods that will help you sleep better:

Breathing Exercises 

These exercises help keep your body calm and relaxed. Breathing in and out is the easiest way to engage in your body’s relaxation response. Furthermore, taking deep breaths can help you fall asleep.

There are different types of breathing exercises practiced by people for better sleep. Diaphragmatic and 4-7-8 are the two most popular ones. 

Diaphragmatic Breathing

This breathing exercise strengthens the diaphragm. It also reduces stress and relaxes the body. Moreover, this breathing exercise has other benefits: slowing your breathing rate, decreasing oxygen demand, and using less energy to breathe. 

Here’s how to practice this breathing exercise.

  • Lay on your back with knees bent and some support for your head. Keep a pillow under your head to prevent straining your neck. 
  • Place one hand on your upper chest area and the other on top of your belly or right under your rib cage. You can notice your diaphragm move as you breathe.
  • Breathe through your nose slowly, so your belly moves out against your hand. In comparison, your other hand should remain still on your chest area.
  • Continue to keep your chest still, tighten your stomach muscles and exhale through pursed lips.

Practice this exercise three to four times a day and do it five to ten times. Once you practice the exercise a couple of times a day, you will get the hang of it.

Moreover, engaging with your diaphragm is hard at first, but the benefits of this exercise make it worthwhile.

4-7-8 Breathing Exercise

This exercise is for people who are comfortable enough to hold their breath. It is a slightly more advanced breathing technique. It controls the speed of your breathing. Here’s how to do it:

  • Open your mouth and let all the air exhale out of your mouth.
  • Breath through the nose for the next 4 seconds
  • Hold your breath for 7 seconds
  • Lastly, exhale through your mouth for 8 seconds, allowing you to make a whooshing sound as if you’re blowing a candle.

Practice both these exercises a few times a week because practice makes perfect. These breathing exercises will help you to de-stress and sleep better. Once you are familiar with the pace, start by increasing your time practicing this breathing technique.

Progressive Muscle Relaxation

This is when you tense a group of muscles when you breathe in and relax them as you breathe out. This exercise tenses and relaxes different muscles one by one. 

Furthermore, it can help you differentiate between muscle tension and relaxation. In this exercise, you are tensing and relaxing 16 different muscle groups, and this is how to do it:

  • Tense the muscles as you breathe in for around 5-10 seconds.
  • Next, breathe out and relax the muscles in that specific group.
  • Relax for 15-20 seconds before moving onto the next group of muscles. 

Make sure to repeat this process throughout all 16 different muscle groups. It is essential to practice this exercise. Remember to focus on all muscle groups so your body slowly drifts off to sleep.

Percussive Massage

Our bodies need sleep to keep us both mentally and physically healthy. Therefore, the quality of sleep is just as important as sleeping itself is. Massage techniques have been around for many years and are proven to work.

However, now there's a new product in the market that you can now use: muscle massagers.

Massage guns or muscle massagers are tools used for muscle relaxation. They are primarily used by weightlifters and anyone interested in working out.

Now, even though the above relaxation techniques are efficient and work wonders, muscle massaging is an easier way for muscle relaxation.

Most muscle massage guns use percussive therapy, which uses vibration to help your muscles recover faster. In turn, having relaxed muscles can actually help you sleep much better. They also promote blood flow in your body.

A muscle massager such as an Exogun can help you to sleep better. It is a well-known reputable brand that offers unique qualities in massage guns that allows your muscles to relax and decreases the muscle tension in your body. 

Additionally, there are many different types of muscle massager available for other parts of the body. Here are some other types of muscle massagers available in the market:

  • Electric Foot Massagers
  • Massage Pillow
  • Electric Back Massager
  • Massage Ball
  • Electric Hand Held Muscle Massager
  • Hand Massager
  • Mechanical Muscle Massager
  • Wire Scalp Massager 
  • Massage Chairs

Also read: What‌ ‌Are‌ ‌the‌ ‌Best‌ ‌Rated‌ ‌Massage‌ ‌Guns‌ ‌In‌ ‌2021‌ ‌ According‌ ‌to‌ ‌Customers?‌

Self Hypnosis

This technique puts your body in a hypnotic state. It is said that this technique is similar to progressive muscle relaxation. Being in a hypnotic state means being fully relaxed and open to external suggestions. 

It might be more helpful to find out what your suggestion will be before starting with the exercise. For example, a suggestion like "relax" can be used.

You can also record yourself with the suggestion you have chosen and play that same recording every time you perform self-hypnosis.

Moreover, you can pre-record your suggestions for falling asleep. Here's how to begin with the self-hypnosis:

  • Find a comfortable position.
  • Enter a hypnotic state of mind with the help of a progressive muscle relaxation technique. Focus on the tense muscles and relax them in different parts of the body. 
  • Once you have entered the hypnotic state and are fully relaxed, slowly start repeating your suggestion or preferred phrase. 

Mastering the art of self-hypnosis is challenging but not impossible. Once you have learned self-hypnosis, you can add more suggestions. For example, you can imagine yourself in different places and scenarios. 

Visualization Exercise

In this exercise, you form mental images in your head, and through that, you take a visual journey to a calm, peaceful place. Including senses in your visualization can help you imagine better.

For example, you can include senses such as smell, touch, and sound. This, in turn, can reduce stress and help you to fall asleep better. 

Body Scan

Body scans are a meditation technique where you focus your attention on different parts of the body. Follow the steps below for a relaxing body scan.

  • Take a few deep breaths before starting. Then, you can try out the two breathing exercises we mentioned above, the diaphragmatic or the 4-7-8 breathing technique. This will ensure that your body is relaxed. 
  • Make sure you’re not holding any tension in the toes or the feet area. Relax those muscles.
  • If you feel any pain or discomfort, acknowledge it and let go of any stories you may have. Then, visualize all the pent-up tension you have, leaving your body with every breath.
  • You can now focus your attention on calf muscles and repeat the part where you're noticing sensations, let go of any thoughts you might have, and then visualize the tension leaving your body through your breath.
  • Focus your attention on different parts of the body—one at a time. For example, go from your feet to your forehead until you have covered your entire body.

Autogenic Training

This training is very similar to the body scan. The only difference is that your body responds to verbal commands. The idea is that you can calm any part of your body at any time you want. Here are the steps:

  • Start with some breathing exercises as they help you to get relaxed. 
  • Start by bringing your attention to your arms first. Then, verbally say, "my arms are very heavy and slowly say, "I am completely calm".
  • Bring your focus back to your arms and repeat the sentence six more times. 
  • Repeat the same process for each part of your body, from your feet to your head. Verbally repeat each phrase with warmth.

Saying each phrase may distract you from the relaxing technique itself. You can, however, record yourself going through the process, so in the future, you can listen to your recordings to practice the muscle relaxation technique better.

Furthermore, there are some more relaxing techniques such as:

  • Meditation 
  • Aromatherapy 
  • Hydrotherapy 
  • Yoga
  • Biofeedback 
  • Music Therapy 
  • Art Therapy

All in all, these techniques combined de-stresses the muscles in your body and offer the relaxation you deserve. 

Relaxation Techniques Require Practice

Just like learning anything new in life, relaxation techniques also take practice and time. However, as you practice, you will be more aware of the sensations of muscle tension and stress you have in your body. This way, you will be able to pinpoint how the stress response feels like.

Therefore, the next time you feel stressed, you know what to do. 

Learning these techniques can be considered a life skill, given how stressful our lives can get. With time you will be able to improve your ability to relax.

Furthermore, there are many different techniques listed in this article. If one approach doesn't work, try another one, and keep it going until you find the ideal method!

But be patient as you wouldn't want the irony of your relaxation exercises causing stress.

The Takeaway 

Various muscle relaxation techniques help improve the overall health of a person. When your body feels relaxed, it's easier for it to dive into a deep sleep. 

Sleep is an integral part of life. Without sleep, you may be at risk of health problems such as high blood pressure, heart failure, stroke, and heart attack. Additionally, it keeps you sane and focused on day-to-day activities without feeling unproductive and drowsy the following day.

Not getting enough sleep can drain your mental abilities. Luckily the guide for muscle relaxation and muscle massager above will surely help you have a better sleeping schedule.