Can’t sleep? Yoga can help…

I’ve lost count of the times I’ve been up in the night, desperately tired, to eventually creep back to bed and find I can’t sleep. It’s so frustrating! My mind is wide away even though I need and want to sleep.

This is where yoga can help. There’s a technique called ‘progressive relaxation’ which aims to tense then release every part of your body. The idea is a completely relaxed body leads to a relaxed mind which then makes it much easier to sleep.

you should hopefully feel pretty relaxed by now.

Why not have a go? If you’re lying awake in bed, this technique is a great way to release any tension you have. It might be you have tight muscles, especially if you’ve been sitting in a funny position feeding, or rocking your baby back to sleep. 

It might seem repetitive when you read through it below, but when you actually do it, I hope you’ll feel it’s reassuringly thorough, rather than repetitive.

Here’s one method:

  1. Lie on your back with your legs straight and arms down by your hips. Take a few deep breaths
  2. Starting with your left foot, scrunch your toes up as tight as you can and hold for 5 seconds, then relax your foot
  3. Now move up to your left calf and tense for 5 seconds, then relax your calf
  4. Tense your left shin muscle for 5 seconds, then relax your shin
  5. Tense the top of your left thigh for 5 seconds, then relax your thigh
  6. Tense the back of your left thigh for 5 seconds, then relax the back of your thigh
  7. Tense your left bottom cheek for 5 seconds, then relax your bottom
  8. Tense the whole of your left leg for 5 seconds, then relax the whole of your leg
  9. Repeat steps 2 to 8 with your right leg
  10. Tense your stomach muscles for 5 seconds, then relax your stomach
  11. Moving to your left hand, make a tight fist with your hand and hold for 5 seconds, then relax your hand
  12. Tense your left forearm muscle for 5 seconds, then relax your forearm
  13. Tense the inside of your left forearm for 5 seconds, then relax the inside of your forearm
  14. Tense your left bicep for 5 seconds, then relax your bicep
  15. Tense your left tricep for 5 seconds, then relax your tricep
  16. Tense the whole of your left arm for 5 seconds, then relax the whole of your arm
  17. Repeat steps 11 to 16 with your right hand and arm
  18. Lift your left shoulder and bring it as close to your ear as possible for 5 seconds, then relax your shoulder
  19. Lift your right shoulder and bring it as close to your ear as possible for 5 seconds, then relax your shoulder
  20. Tuck your chin in to your neck, stretching out the back of your neck, for 5 seconds, then relax your neck.
  21. Scrunch up your face, furrow your eyebrows, wrinkle your nose and purse your lips – hold your face like this for 5 seconds then completely relax.

Now you’ve tensed every bit of your body and released it, you should hopefully feel pretty relaxed by now.

I’m hoping this technique will help you the next time you’re wide awake in the middle of the night. Do let me know and please share any trick that’s worked for you?

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