Most Effective Relaxation Techniques for Better Sleep

Hey, it’s Devin Burke, your coaching guide to a peaceful night’s rest. And today I’m going to be sharing with you the most effective relaxation techniques for better sleep. Now, this is a really amazing topic because sleep and relaxation definitely go hand in hand, and there are some amazing techniques to help you relax your body and mind so that it can do what your body is designed to do, which is sleep. So let’s get and talk about a few of these.

So the specific techniques that we’re going to address today, number one is meditation. Number two is progressive muscular relaxation, also known as PMR. We’re going to talk about breathwork and we’re going to talk about binaural beats or sound, specifically certain sound waves that can help induce a relaxation state. Now, very important before we get into these techniques, and I share with you a little bit more about each of these and how you can use them to relax so that you can sleep, it’s important to understand that we’re not doing these techniques to sleep.

There’s a very important distinction here that can be a little bit tricky for people. If you’re doing these techniques so that you can sleep, you can get caught in this area where if for whatever reason you’re doing one of these and you don’t fall into sleep, it creates more anxiety or pressure around it. So come at this with when you’re trying these techniques, do them just to relax and to create the opportunity for sleep to happen. Don’t do them with the expectation that by doing them, you’re going to sleep. Now, very important distinction here. Okay, so let’s go ahead and talk about meditation, because meditation is one of the most effective relaxation techniques for better sleep. And there are a lot of different styles of meditation. There are a lot of different types of meditation. And a few that I want to talk to you about specifically in regards to sleep is mindfulness meditation, a body-scan technique, and a mantra meditation.

So mindfulness meditation is so powerful and so effective, and there are actually a lot of studies linking mindfulness practice, mindfulness meditation with improved sleep and improved insomnia. And so mindfulness simply is the art of bringing your attention to present awareness. There are a lot of different styles of mindfulness meditation. The most basic and easy style or technique, if you will, is just becoming mindful of your breath, the inhale and the exhale. And you can do this through just bringing your awareness, your attention to the inhale and to the exhale. You can do it through inhaling and counting. And we’re not going to get into a specific meditation in this training, but I will share with you in a moment a couple resources for you to learn from some of the teachers that I’ve learned from that have helped me practice mindfulness, which is not only improve my sleep, but has improved my life tremendously.

The body-scan technique is another amazing technique to help relax the mind and body. And essentially, this technique is essentially bringing awareness to different parts of your body. And you can start from the top of your head and work your way all the way down to your feet. Or sometimes people start at the feet and they work their way all the way up to the body. An example of this would be bringing your attention to your feet and feeling your toes, and feeling the sensation in your toes, and feeling the pressure, or the heat, or the wetness. So again, I’m not going to go into an actual progressive muscle relaxation or body-scan meditation in this training, but I will have those in the future on this channel. So stay tuned. So essentially, I just want to explain the different types of meditation that are very effective for inducing relaxation, and then sleep.

Mantra meditation, this is another really effective technique for relaxing the body. And simply, a mantra meditation is very simple. It’s really just focusing on a word or a phrase, or they call it a mantra. And this became very popular with transcendental meditation where you go and they train you over the course of a weekend. They give you a mantra, and that’s your sacred mantra. And essentially, what you’re doing is you’re just repeating this mantra. And in the classic sense, it would be Sanskrit word or phrase, but it can be anything. It can be, “Release, release, release.” Whenever your mind wanders to whatever our minds wander to, either the past or the future, we can just bring it back to the mantra or the word that we choose. And this can be a very effective technique for, again, relaxing the mind, which then allows the body to relax.

So, some resources for you to practice meditation. The one that I absolutely love and use every day, highly recommend, is called Waking Up, the Waking Up app by a gentleman named Sam Harris. It is an incredible app for learning mindfulness meditation, and really a lot of different techniques not only just to improve your sleep but improve your life, but really to help you wake up to the truth of who you are. And so, I will put a link in the description for you to download a free 30-day trial, and it’s just absolutely extraordinary. I highly recommend this app.

Another one that people like, and I often recommend to people that are just getting into meditation or kind of a little bit of a lighter meditation style, Headspace. This is a great app. It’s been around for a long time. They do a great job. They make it fun, they make it understandable, and I believe they also offer a free trial to try them out. And I would say, if you’re not consistently meditating, try each one of these apps for a month. See which one you’ll like better, and then invest in using them as a resource to really help you keep consistent. Because with meditation, it really is powerful when it’s done consistently. So really important to state that.

So the next technique that is extremely effective for relaxing the body to allow the body to do what it’s designed to do, which is sleep, is progressive muscle relaxation. Now, I do have a guided PMR meditation on my channel, and there are several of them on YouTube as well. But essentially what this technique is, is tensing and tightening certain muscles consciously. So you start at your feet and you kind of crunch up and you contract your feet, and then you relax your feet, and you contract them and you relax them. And then you move up your body almost like a body-scan technique.

And you’ll notice that as you do this, you’ll find that you are actually already holding tension in certain areas of your body. And by bringing conscious awareness to those areas and consciously tensing and then consciously allowing those muscles to relax, it just releases and relaxes your whole body. It’s a really amazing technique, very effective for improving sleep and just inducing relaxation. So again, progressive muscle relaxation is based on a very simple practice of tensing and tightening muscles in a sequence over the duration of several minutes.

So breathwork, another incredible technique available to us all at any time to induce relaxation to be able to drift off to sleep. Now, breathwork is one of my favorite techniques for relaxation because we always have our breath. We can do it at any time, and it’s very powerful for shifting us out of a sympathetic fight or flight into a relaxation, rest and digest state. So here is the basic practice of learning breathwork is learning how to breathe back into your diaphragm. Now, many of us throughout our life have learned to become chest breathers. And if you look at a baby in a crib, a baby breathes from its belly. And babies are relaxed, they’re just joyful. And at some point in our life, usually with a big trauma or a little trauma, a big T, little T, we start to become chest breathers and we learn to breathe from our chest shallow. And this actually keeps us in a stressed state. This keeps the stress switch on.

And so, when we can learn to breathe back down into our diaphragm consciously and expand oxygen all the way into the lower lobes of lungs, it is very effective for relaxation. So this is sort of the beginner technique as if you are disconnected from your diaphragm, you want to begin to practice diaphragmatic breath, you can put your hand on your stomach, inhale through your nose all the way down, deep into the diaphragm, and you just keep doing that to retrain your body to remember how to breathe correctly again. Then, you can go into a technique like a 4-7-8 breath technique.

And this is an amazing technique. You inhale for four, you hold for seven, and then you exhale for eight. You do 10 rounds of this, and by the end of that, you are feeling relaxed. This is an amazing technique. You breathe in through your nose, you hold, you exhale through your mouth. And you do, again, a couple rounds of this before bed, and it just really does create the opportunity for your body to slip into a peaceful sleep. And really, is very effective at any point in the day if you just need to reset.

Binaural beats, the last technique that I want to share with you for effective relaxation for sleep. This is a very cool technology. Essentially what it does is it entrains your brain into different brainwave patterns or states that allow your mind to relax, which then your body follows. At any point in the day during waking hours, we’re in different brainwave states, theta, alpha, beta. And also when we’re sleeping, we’re in these different brainwave states. And so, delta sleep or deep sleep is the delta brainwave pattern. It’s associated with dreamless sleep.

And we can actually listen to certain frequencies that can entrain our brains to put us in a kind of a delta sleep state. Theta patterns are associated with dreaming and meditation and creativity. And again, there’s certain frequencies we can listen to that put us in this theta state. Our alpha state, it’s more for relaxation. And again, when we’re sleeping, we’re going in and out of these brainwave patterns, and it’s really interesting to experiment with this. You can also use these binaural beats to focus during the day, or you can use it so you can bring the energy up or you can bring the energy down depending on the frequency.

And there’s a great resource for you all for this, called the app. And they do a really nice job of providing a bunch of different binaural beats either to bring you up so that you can focus during the day or to bring you back down, in this case, to relax, preparing for sleep. So choose a technique, practice it consistently for a week, and then see how your sleep improves. And again, remember, you’re not doing these relaxation techniques to sleep. You’re doing them to put yourself in a relaxed state so that you can create the opportunity for sleep to happen. Very important distinction. If you’re new to this channel, please subscribe, like this video and leave your comments and questions below. I’ll be happy to answer any of them. And I will see you in the next training. Take care.